Students in Environmental Studies can specialize further in the Area Of Concentration, building upon the core requirements in five tracks.
Students in Environmental Studies can specialize further in the Area Of Concentration, building upon the core requirements (see requirements). Five Tracks or specialized focuses in Environmental Studies are listed. The remaining requirements for the AOC are determined in consultation with a faculty sponsor in one of the following potential tracks. Students should familiarize themselves with the expectations of faculty in their track of interest as requirements differ among tracks and faculty sponsors.
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.
Students pursuing the track in Ecological Anthropology must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students (see requirements) AND should be prepared to pursue a slash AOC in Anthropology. Interested students must discuss their plan of study with their potential faculty advisor no later than the end of their second year to see if he or she is available to sponsor an ES thesis. They should have completed a course with one of the Ecological Anthropology Faculty advisors by that point, for which they should have received a strong satisfactory evaluation.
Faculty resources in this sub-field include specialties in,Pre-Columbian and historic Latin America, 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:
Anthony Andrews (Anthropology)
Dr. Andrews, a specialist in the prehispanic and historic archaeology of the Maya area, regularly teaches introductory courses in archaeology and biological anthropology, as well as more specialized courses in Ecological Anthropology (with Prof. Dean), Method and Theory in Archaeology, Ancient Mesoamerica, History and Culture of Mesoamerica, Andean Prehistory, and Early Cultures of the Old World, all of which have ecological components.
Erin Dean (Anthropology)
Dr. Dean, an Africanist and specialist in environmental anthropology, conducts research on community-based conservation in Tanzania and Zanzibar, and is widely interested in the relationships between human communities and the environment in the US and abroad. She teaches a wide range of courses that focus on or deal with environmental issues, including Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography: Theory and Practice, Ecological Anthropology (with Prof. Andrews), Development in an Anthropological Context, Contemporary Anthropology of Africa, East African Anthropology, Conservation and Indigenous Knowledge, and the Anthropology of Food.
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 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.
Sandra Gilchrist (Biology)
Sandra Gilchrist (Professor of Biology): Dr. Gilchrist, a specialist in crustacean population biology, has published widely on marine ecology, coral genetics, and marine education. She has served as an environmental consultant on watershed management, seagrass restoration, and wetlands, adding these experiences to her classes. Dr. Gilchrist brings an integrative approach to the study of ecology and has sponsored student theses on a topics ranging from the impact of boating on seagrass communities in Florida to coral-reef management strategies. Students working with Dr. Gilchrist are expected to supplement the core ES curriculum with selected work in biology, chemistry, and field work.
Heidi Harley (Psychology)
Heidi Harley (Professor of Psychology): Dr. Harley, a specialist in mammal cognition, works on the relationship between animal and human cognition and the environment. Dr. Harley’s current research focuses on the bottlenose dolphin, and she has supervised senior theses on topics ranging from the connections between art, nature, and sensory perception to the impact of noise and recreational fishing on dolphin communication and behavior. Students working with Dr. Harley are expected to supplement the core ES curriculum with both a methods or lab course in psychology and at least four other classes or activities worked out in consultation with her.
Emily Heffernan (Biology)
Emily Heffernan (Assistant Professor of Biology & Environmental Studies): Dr. Heffernan’s primary research interests are on animal populations that are small or declining and she focuses on butterflies, many of which are state or federally-endangered. Dr. Heffernan uses a combination of field and laboratory based methods to evaluate the current status of small populations and couples this with museum-based research to evaluate historical population trends. In her molecular lab, she uses techniques to evaluate small tissue samples of butterflies to determine remaining levels of genetic diversity, gene flow, and inbreeding. Genomic scans from next-generation sequencing has recently been useful at identifying novel molecular markers for her work. Dr. Heffernan teaches Ecology and Introduction to Environmental Science. In future semesters she will teach courses related to Conservation Biology, Entomology, Environmental Communication, and Ecological Management. Dr. Heffernan stresses the importance of quantitative data analysis, critical thinking, and working successfully in a group in all her courses.
Gerardo Toro-Farmer (Coastal and Marine Science)
Gerardo Toro-Farmer is an oceanographer interested in the application of geographic information system (GIS) techniques, remote sensing and in-situ optical tools to understand how marine, near-shore and coastal environments are changing due to natural and human processes and perturbations. His main research activities focus on benthic and pelagic productivity, diversity, spatial distribution and habitat connectivity. In his research he uses optical properties, from in-situ instrumentation and satellites, as fundamental tools to understand environmentally mediated biological processes at different spatial and temporal scales. Specifically, he examines how changes in the oceanic light environment (marine bio-optics) affect spatial-temporal variability of productivity, abundance and diversity in coral reefs and other coastal ecosystems.
Recognizing that the global population has tilted from being a predominately rural to a predominately urban one, students of Urban Studies set their attention on the ways in which historic and modern peoples have organized their lived environments and left imprints on eco-systems near and far. Essentially, 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.
Urban Studies is also therefore not just the study of the cities and human settlement patterns in the abstract, but connects academic study directly to practical efforts toward transformative community change– in terms of the way our ideas, experiences and aspirations are represented in art and literature, our concerns and hopes are manifested in social critique and political action, and our vision of a sustainable future translated into specific interventions into the physical, social, economic, cultural and political environment of the city.
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.
Students opting for an Urban Studies track must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students (see requirements) 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).
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.
David Brain (Sociology)
Dr. Brain, an international specialist on community-based environmental problem solving, is the lead faculty member of Urban Studies at NCF. Dr. Brain is broadly interested in the interrelationships between sustainable urban development and democratic decision-making. Students who have worked with Dr. Brain in the past have conducted research on topics ranging from the environmental impact and development of comparative transit systems in Perth, Australia and Atlanta, Georgia to the institutional constraints and historical factors in energy systems and transitions in the United States.
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.
Students following a track in Environmental Literature, Religion, and Philosophy must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students (see requirements) 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 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.
Susan Marks (Religion)
Dr. Marks, a specialist in Judaic Studies, teaches on the development of Jewish and Early Christian ideas concerning nature, community, creation, and justice. Students interested in working on an ES degree with Dr. Marks should expect to take coursework in Religion prior to the end of their second year and to have taken at least one course offered by Dr. Marks. Typically, Dr. Marks expects students to take advanced coursework, ISPs, or tutorials in various aspects of religion, religious history and religious intersections with environmental concerns to complete their degree in Environmental Studies.
Robert Zamsky (Literature)
Dr. Zamsky, a specialist in modernist and post-modernist poetry, deals in the relationships among literature, aurality, and the natural environment. Students interested in working with Dr. Zamsky should expect to take course work in Literature prior to the end of their second year and to have worked with Dr. Zamsky in at least one class by that point. Typically, Dr. Zamsky expects students, at a minimum, to take advanced coursework, ISPs, or tutorials in literature and the environment to complete their degree in Environmental Studies.
Nicolas Delon (Philosophy)
Dr. Delon, a specialist in ethics, with a focus on animal and environmental ethics. His research interests also include moral psychology, experimental philosophy, social, political, and legal philosophy, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. He received his PhD from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in 2014. I was Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in Environmental Studies at NYU from 2014-2017 and a Law & Philosophy Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School in 2017-2018.
Aron Edidin (Philosophy)
Dr. Edidin, a specialist in analytic philosophy, teaches on topics of interests to ES students, including the philosophy of science and environmental ethics. Students interested in working with Dr. Edidin should expect to take course work in Philosophy prior to the end of their second year and to have worked with Dr. Edidin in at least one class by that point.
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.
Students who chose to pursue the Environmental Policy track must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students (see requirements) AND a minimum of five additional courses or activities that are determined in consultation with a faculty advisor in Political Science or Economics.
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.
Frank Alcock (Political Science)
Dr. Frank Alcock is a political scientist who teaches courses on world politics, international law, and sustainable development. His current research focuses on climate and energy politics, oceans governance, seafood markets and fisheries management. In addition to publications dealing with global fisheries’ problems, he has co-authored articles on science-policy relationships in environmental issue areas with an emphasis on marine policies. He also serves as the Director of a new Marine Policy Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory. Prior to obtaining his Ph.D. he spent five years as an international policy analyst/economist at the U.S. Department of Energy
Mark Paul (Economics)
Dr. Paul is a political economist working in the areas of inequality, environmental economics, and applied microeconomics. His research is focused on understanding the causes and consequences of inequality and assessing and designing remedies to address it. He is also involved in economic policy in the United States and is currently a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, The Atlantic, Vox, The American Prospect, The Nation, The Hill, and Jacobin, among other publications. Prior to coming to New College he was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University.
Tarron Khemraj (Economics)
Dr. Khemraj specializes in development economics, international economics, and econometrics and is widely interested in the relationship between environmental sustainability and emerging market and developing economies. Students interested in working with Dr. Khemraj are expected to complete the introduction to Microeconomics and Macroeconomics early in their career before taking Development Economics and International Economics. Students are encouraged to take Econometrics once they have completed Statistics and preferably Calculus 1. Dr. Khemraj emphasizes quantitative methods and economic models in his classes. Theory is reality. Reality must be studied with the aid of theories. Theories are updated as reality evolves.