2022-2023 Catalog 
    Nov 29, 2023  
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Studies (BS)

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Vision Statement

The Environmental Studies faculty of the Natural and Behavioral Sciences Division believe that experience-based learning, whether in the field or in the laboratory, is essential for optimal learning and for career preparation. The faculty asserts that scientific literacy, defined as proficiency in critical thinking, logical reasoning, and communication pertaining to the sciences, is an essential ability that we must foster in our graduates so that they can respond to environmental challenges. Our General Studies degree provides an interdisciplinary grounding in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, with an emphasis on experiential learning. This broad background preparation, combined with the training in critical analysis that permeates our curriculum, prepares our Environmental Studies graduates to address local, regional, and global environmental issues.

Mission Statement
To inspire all students to have respect and meaningful careers as caretakers of our living Earth. Students develop a broad knowledge of the natural and social sciences, with a focus on an aspect of environmental studies that is of personal interest. Students learn to identify environmental issues, collect and interpret data, explore creative solutions, and communicate their findings. Students work with an interdisciplinary team of faculty with expertise in biology, chemistry, forestry, the social sciences, and the humanities. Small class sizes within the Environmental Studies program foster a close working relationship between faculty and students in an informal and nurturing atmosphere.

Program Description/Goals

The Environmental Studies program is interdisciplinary combining traditional classroom learning with hands-on outdoor experience. Leveraging the power of our campus location in the Acadian Forest Region, students critically examine environmental issues affecting rural areas and wildlands and their connectivity to global socio-ecological systems. Students gain an understanding of the general principles of ecological systems, including components, processes, interrelationships and the interactions between natural and human cultural systems within the global environment. Students complete a rigorous curriculum emphasizing foundational coursework in biology, chemistry, physical science, ecology and human environment interactions. With a faculty advisor, each student designs and executes an in-depth laboratory or field research study in their final year that they present in a public lecture at the end of the semester. This opportunity to practice independent research is invaluable to help our students become empowered to have respectful and meaningful careers as caretakers of our living Earth.

This program also prepares students to be environmentally literate individuals, committed to pursuing a sustainable natural world for the benefit of humanity and the environment. Faculty infuse interdisciplinary liberal arts courses with exposure to environmental problems in our community. This service learning aspect of our curriculum fosters an understanding of how we impact the natural world, as well as an appreciation of our connection to nature.

All students in the Environmental Studies Program  participate in a field experience program as part of their coursework which consists of experiential learning activities that students participate in through short field trips in the local area, as well as through multi-day expeditions to destinations across the U.S.  Some courses have a $150 fee, which helps to cover necessary costs including equipment travel, entrance fees, and camping. It is important that students take courses during the designated year and semester to ensure that they have the background preparation needed to benefit fully from the field-based activities.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies will:

  1. Recognize the causes of, impacts of, and solutions to environmental issues at the nexus of human-environment relationships, natural processes, and science
  2. Interpret the structure and function of organisms, their environment, and interactions through the foundational principles of biology, chemistry, natural and social sciences
  3. Critically evaluate the causes and consequences of human relationships with their environment from contemporary natural science and cultural perspectives
  4. Design, execute, evaluate and communicate the findings of field and laboratory experiments addressing questions regarding the structure and function of environmental systems,
    conservation, management, and global change
  5. Use of written, oral, and multimedia communication to disseminate evidence-based findings to diverse audiences
  6. Accept the responsibility to enlighten and translate knowledge to all people. to both enrich and empower them to overcome global change threats
  7. To embrace scholarly knowledge and develop technical skills to competitively pursue a meaningful career in environmental science, wildlife biology, arctic biology, biotechnology, or a related field

Program Requirements

The Environmental Studies curriculum is an interdisciplinary collaboration of departments and faculty that consists of core courses and electives. To meet the needs of students with diverse backgrounds and interests, students have the opportunity to design a portion of their program around individual interests in the natural or social science aspects of environmental studies. Specific graduation requirements are as follows:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 120 acceptable semester hours of credit.
  2. Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on all university level work.
  3. Completion of at least 45 semester hours of upper level credit (course numbers 300 and above) in each of which a minimum grade of “C” has been earned.
  4. Completion of the General Education Requirements (see Index under “General Education Requirements  ”).
  5. Completion of the Environmental Studies required courses and the Specialized Area of Study.

Total: 14 credits

Self-design Concentration

  • Minumum of 18 credits
    • Each student will select an area of interest around which a specialization known as the Specialized Area of Study will be developed with the approval of their faculty academic advisor and recorded on the student’s transcript.
    • The Specialized Area of Study consists of a minimum of 18 credits.
    • Students can self-design their own program, or select from a sample pathway: Field Ecology, Wildlife Biology. Environmental Biotechnology, Environmental Public Health, and Arctic Studies.
    • Students will confer with their faculty academic advisor to select their specialized area of study to ensure the availability of courses and sequencing.

  • Accelerated Graduate Pathway in Law option at MaineLaw

Techniques for Assessment

Students are assessed in all classes using various means including written assignments, quizzes and exams, field and laboratory practical exams, comprehensive final exams in some classes, and course projects. All students must demonstrate proficiency in written and oral communication skills by satisfactory performance on the written report and public oral presentation for the capstone Senior Project. All students will complete two comprehensive exams to assess knowledge and appreciation of critical content related to organism diversity and ecology. Graduating students complete an exit survey during their last semester to reflect on their BS in Environmental Studies program education and provide feedback about their experience. Graduates are required to complete an alumni survey to provide feedback about the quality and effectiveness of their education.

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