Environmental Studies Curriculum

The Environmental Studies area of concentration emphasizes demonstrated competence in these areas: ecological theory, descriptive observation; quantitative measurement and statistical analysis; computer literacy, communications skills, service to the community; and local sense of place.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AREA OF CONCENTRATION CURRICULUM

The Environmental Studies Program (ESP) offers students a challenging and broad core curriculum in environmental studies as well as deep training in one of five tracks —Policy, Anthropology, Urban Studies, Science, and a student-designed track – with demonstrated competence in these areas: ecological systems, societal systems, ethical approaches; descriptive observation, quantitative measurement and statistical analysis; computer literacy, communications skills, service to the community; and local sense of place. (See requirements checklist here.)

Environmental Studies Program suggested timeline

  • Take Introduction to Environmental Studies (offered Fall semester)
  • Email ES Office Manager (esp@ncf.edu) to be added to the ESP email list
  • Investigate the Environmental Studies (ES) Area of Concentration (AOC) Checklist
  • Take some courses listed on the AOC Checklist and consider broad thesis interests and joint AOC options
  • Find Thesis Sponsor
  • Submit AOC Checklist, unofficial transcript and provisional AOC form to the Environmental Studies Steering Committee (ESSC) via the ES Office Manager (esp@ncf.edu)
  • Submit AOC Checklist, unofficial transcript, Thesis Prospectus and ESP Grant Proposal (thesis oriented) to the ESSC before the end of Fall semester of graduation year via the ES Office Manager (esp@ncf.edu)
  • Take Environmental Studies Capstone Seminar

Environmental Studies required documents include:

Students graduating from the Environmental Studies Program are required to complete the core curriculum listed on the ES AOC Checklist as well as the five track courses they choose in consultation with their likely thesis advisor. While taking classes within their chosen track, students should work to develop a relationship with faculty in one of the tracks and discuss the possibility of that person sponsoring their thesis work as an ES student by the end of their second year. Additionally, a Methods and a Statistics course are strongly recommended. Finally, ESP students are required to satisfactorily complete a senior thesis or project related to the environment and prepare a research grant proposal approved by their senior thesis sponsor and the Environmental Studies Steering Committee. They must satisfactorily complete a baccalaureate exam with an Environmental Studies faculty member/member of the Environmental Studies Steering Committee serving as a member of the baccalaureate committee. Submit required documents to ES Office Manager through email to ESP@ncf.edu

The ESP supports a variety of student and community environmental internships. All of them feature hands-on, interdisciplinary and regional work. Opportunities for ES students to gain experience at other programs across the United States and Internationally through off-campus/study abroad offer a wide range of field and classroom experience. Of particular interest to ES students, the EcoLeague is a consortium of liberal arts colleges dedicated to ecologically focused education, and to modeling sustainability through their operations and facilities. Member colleges span the United States and offer students exchange opportunities to learn in diverse ecosystems and communities with faculty who have a wide range of disciplinary and regional expertise.

Areas of Concentration Tracks

Ecological Anthropology addresses the ways in which the world’s cultures have adapted to and organized their environments across time and space. From the forest clearance practices of the pre-colonial Maya to the carbon footprint of local Sarasotans, students in this track learn to trace out the thick inter-dependencies among social practices, cultural values, and the bio-physical world. Within this track, the sub-field of environmental justice has drawn considerable interest among students who have in recent years turned their attention to the racial, class, gender, and international dimensions of both past and present environmental practices. Previous students in this track have conducted tutorials, ISPs, and senior theses on a lively range of environmental subjects including ethnobotany in pre-historic Florida, indigenous resistance to oil drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon, pesticide exposure among Hispanic farm workers in central Florida, and the institutional experiences of environmental refugees fleeing the disasters of the recent Haitian earthquake.

Faculty

Faculty resources in this sub-field include specialties in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa, indigenous North America, historic Southwestern Florida, and the Middle East. Faculty have recently taught courses or sponsored tutorials on such topics of interest to ES students as Conservation and Indigenous Knowledge, Ecological Anthropology, the Colonial Encounter, Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization, and Political Ecology.  Faculty advisors include but are not limited to:

Environmental Science approaches environmental problem-solving from a multidisciplinary perspective that is grounded in the physical and natural sciences, including biology, chemistry, physics, math, and psychology. Students who choose to follow the Environmental Science track at New College are expected to develop scientific proficiency in more than one discipline and to apply that knowledge towards a type of environmental problem-solving that interests them. In the past, NCF students have conducted ISPs, group tutorials, and theses on a wide variety of projects including environmental education, environmental toxicology, wetlands ecology, marine studies, and art, nature, and human cognition. Students following an Environmental Science track must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students AND a minimum of five additional courses or activities that are determined in consultation with one the faculty advisers listed below. Students are encouraged to meet with potential advisors by the end of their second year to discuss course/activity expectations beyond the core curriculum at that time.

Faculty

Faculty resources and interests at New College span a wide array of topics in the field of Environmental Science. Current faculty research includes studies of the impact of environmental stressors on human and animal cognition and behavior, the impact of industrial toxins on insect populations, genetic responses to diseases, microbial changes relating to pollutants, and a variety of other topics.

Urban Studies involves study of the ways we organize our lives together in places, and the ways that we produce, understand, represent, and engage the places and landscapes that constitute the common world of human lives. It should be understood broadly as the study of the patterns, qualities and consequences of human settlements, as built environments and as social, cultural, economic, and political structures—all with profound implications for the way humans organize their interactions with natural systems of the planet. Neighborhoods, towns, cities, suburbs and metropolitan regions are the immediate contexts in which we work toward a diverse and just society, and they are the practical sites where we are compelled to confront many of the most central social, political, economic, and environmental challenges of the day. Students who choose to follow the Urban Studies track at New College are expected to develop a strong background in the tools and perspectives of social science and the humanistic disciplines as they relate to an understanding of human communities, as well as a background in the natural sciences associated with the core requirements in Environmental Studies. They are expected to apply that training to a type of environmental problem-solving that interests them. In the past, NCF students have conducted ISPs, group tutorials, and theses on a wide variety of projects, including urban watershed management, comparative transit systems, and varieties of community-based environmental problem-solving.

Requirements

Students opting for an Urban Studies track must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students AND a minimum of five additional courses or activities that are determined in consultation with the faculty advisor listed below. Students are encouraged to meet with their potential advisor by the end of their second year to discuss course/activity expectations beyond the core curriculum at that time. Urban Studies students should expect to take additional classes, tutorials, and ISPs aimed at developing an interdisciplinary competence in the study of cities as well as a methods course in the social sciences relevant to the kind of thesis research they expect to do. Additional classes should include Urban Sociology, classes or tutorials related urban and architectural history, and other relevant courses in the social sciences (depending on exactly how the student decides to focus her/his program).

Faculty

NCF faculty members in the disciplines of sociology, history, political science, and anthropology teach on topics that will be of interest to students of Urban Studies. Such courses include sustainable urban planning, sustainable development, and the history of cities and suburbs from Medieval and pre-Columbian Mayan cities to the visions of contemporary planners, activists, and urban reformers.

The ES track in Environmental Literature, Religion, and Philosophy begins with the premise that our relationship to nature and the environment is mediated through the textual, visual, and aural languages that we have for representing that relationship. How we know nature and the material world, in other words, comes to us through the cultural vocabularies that we have developed across different times, spaces, and peoples. Students who choose to follow an ELRP track combine the core ES curriculum with advanced coursework in the fields of literature, religion, art, history, and/or philosophy.

Requirements

Students following a track in Environmental Literature, Religion, and Philosophy must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students AND a minimum of five additional courses or activities that are determined in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students are encouraged to meet with their potential advisor by the end of their second year to ascertain if their anticipated advisor is available to sponsor an Environmental Studies thesis and to consult about course/activity expectations beyond the core curriculum.

Faculty

Faculty resources and interests at New College span a number of topics that address how we have represented and imagined our relationship to the environment over the course of history. Recent courses offered by faculty have included Judaism and Ecology, Environmental Ethics, Nature and Poetry, and Environmental History. While no single instructor is responsible for the track in Environmental Literature, Religion, and Philosophy, students desiring to pursue this track are encouraged to talk with possible advisors by the end of their second year. The faculty listed below are explicitly interested in the study of the environment, although other faculty from the Humanities are also suitable as potential advisors.

Environmental Policy assumes that we can balance questions of social equity, economic health, and environmental sustainability through more informed policy making. By combining core training in ecology with advanced training in the disciplines of Political Science and Economics, students pursuing the Environmental Policy track develop the type of interdisciplinary literacy that they will need to participate in questions of environmental conservation, resource development, and stewardship at the local, state, federal, and international levels.

Requirements

Students who chose to pursue the Environmental Policy track must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students AND a minimum of five additional courses or activities that are determined in consultation with a faculty advisor in Political Science or Economics.

Faculty

Faculty resources and interests in Environmental Policy at NCF include but are not limited to work on marine fisheries management, third-world economic development, local and international responses to Red Tide, and the prospects and risks of oil development in the Gulf of Mexico. Recent courses offered by faculty have included the domestic and global politics of sustainable development, global fisheries management, and domestic environmental law. Students desiring to pursue an Environmental Policy track are encouraged to talk with possible advisors in Political Science or Economics by the end of their second year. Any faculty member in these two disciplines can sponsor students, although students should expect to have worked with one of the instructors below in advance of the second semester of their second year. Faculty will have different expectations and requirements of students with whom they choose to work.

Internships


For a complete and current list of internships, both paid and unpaid, for New College students please visit career services in the Center for Engagement and Opportunity or at: www.ncf.edu/career-services


Below is a sampling of ES Internships.

Mote’s College Internship Program is designed to inspire students with a lifelong appreciation and commitment to the conservation and sustainability of our oceans through a unique opportunity to explore the marine world and its inhabitants hands-on under the mentorship of recognized scientific research leaders in their respective fields of study. There are numerous internships available covering such areas of research as coastal ecology, coral reef, marine mammal and sea turtle, shark, ecotoxicology, and more. Click here for more information.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (MSBG) offers hands-on learning opportunities for students planning to work in taxonomy, ecology, horticulture, environmental education, and nonprofit management.

MSBG internships allow young people to explore the mission of MSBG by working side-by-side with its staff members, volunteers, and adjunct scientists. MSBG resources, including extensive living collections, greenhouses, herbarium, library, research equipment, and local field sites, are also available for student work. Student projects culminate with formal presentations to staff members, volunteers, and guests. From planting wildflowers to creating a tropical food garden, from developing signage to installing a canopy garden in a live oak, interns leave lasting gifts of their talents and creativity at the Gardens. Please visit their website for detailed information.

The Florida State Parks website has information on Florida’s 174 award-winning state parks, trails and historic sites. Individual state parks must be contacted directly for internship opportunity.

Myakka State Park: (941) 361-6512

Oscar Scherer State Park: (941) 486-2056

Cayo Costa State Park: (941) 964-0375

 

The mission of Green Corps Field School for Environmental Organizing is to train college graduates to run environmental campaigns. The one-year, full time and paid for program includes intensive classroom training, field experience running campaigns and career placement in positions with environmental groups.

www.greencorps.org

The Department of Environmental Protection welcomes interns and volunteers throughout the year. The positions listed do not offer salary, but the benefit of hands-on experience with this dynamic state agency will be invaluable to anyone pursuing a career in stewardship of the environment. Opportunities exist in a variety of departments; schedules are variable based on the needs of the program. Interns and volunteers are provided with a support structure that includes being paired with a “Mentor” who will provide leadership and guidance. Not all positions are offered every semester.

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southwest/intern/

Studying Abroad

The EcoLeague is a consortium of liberal arts colleges dedicated to ecologically focused education, and to modeling sustainability through their operations and facilities. Member colleges span the United States and offer students exchange opportunities to learn in diverse ecosystems and communities with faculty who have a wide range of disciplinary and regional expertise. These opportunities are essential for students who are preparing to live and work in a global and interconnected world.  While most consortia in the United States are grounded in geographic proximity, the EcoLeague consortium is grounded in a mission of bio-regional education for sustainability. Launched in 2003, the EcoLeague consortium is currently comprised of six colleges including: Pacific University in Anchorage, AK; College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME; Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA; New College of Florida in Sarasota, FL; Northland College in Ashland, WI; and Prescott College in Prescott, AZ. While modeling sustainability through programs and facilities may be commonplace in today’s world, many EcoLeague colleges chose this path years ago and became national leaders in environmental and sustainability issues. For example, Northland College chose to blend an environmental focus with a liberal arts mission in 1971. Examples of sustainability can be found throughout the member-college campuses.

The Organization of Biological Field Stations has nearly 200 field stations that offer college courses for credit in ecology, systematics, evolution, conservation, botany, zoology, entomology, mycology, herpetology, ornithology, mammalogy, wetlands ecology, oceanography, marine studies, tropical biology, environmental science and more. Check out their current and upcoming event list to see opportunities to study abroad.

Wild Rockies Field Institute provides students with field courses and experience, studying in a variety of different landscapes. Classes run from two to nine weeks and fulfill anywhere from 3 to 12 semester credits.  They all provide affordable alternatives to traditional classroom academics in some of the most beautiful and interesting landscapes in the world, and they will introduce you to people and places that will change your world forever. Ecology, environmental ethics, energy, and climate change are a few of the courses that they specialize in.

The School for Field Studies offers semester and summer long study abroad programs around the world. Various programs that they offer are Rainforest Studies (including Natural Resource Management), Marine Resource Studies (such as Marine Protected Areas: Management Techniques and Policies), Wildlife Management Studies and Public Health, Sustainable Development Studies, and Himalayan Forests, Watersheds, and Rural Livelihoods Studies.