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People and the Environment

Bemidji State University

Spring Semester 2011 [Tuesday, 4-5:15 PM, HS 100]
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Course Format

The interdisciplinary survey of environmental issues will be provided in large group meetings. The approach will be problem solving oriented in that environmental problems will be identified and related causes, implications, and principles will be evaluated. Some of the problems will be addressed as case studies from various disciplinary perspectives and others will be presented as panel discussions, role-playing exercises, and student interaction. In all cases, integrative thinking will be emphasized through interactions between students and members of the interdisciplinary teaching team.

The small-group sections will emphasize a more disciplinary perspective. The small-group setting will be more conducive to discussion, interaction, and collaboration in accord with the goals of the liberal education experience. Critical thinking and values clarification will also be enhanced by the blend of the interdisciplinary lecture and small-group meeting. Small groups will meet for 75 minutes per week as noted in the Teaching Team box below.

Grading & Exams

There will be a midterm (20%) and a final exam (20%) based on the readings and large-group lectures. Exams will be prepared by the teaching team and will consist of both multiple choice and short essay questions. Note that the syllabus specifies a reading assignment for each week. These readings are expected to be completed in advance of that week's large group session. A regular feature of large group meetings will be writing assignments and group activities. 10% of grade will be assigned to large group activities and participation. The remaining 50% of your grade will be based on small-group assignments and participation in discussions and other small-group activities. Assignments of additional work and grading of student performance in small-groups will be the responsibility of the instructor of the departmental section in which students are enrolled. Regular attendance in both large-group and small-group is expected.

Teaching Team and Contact Information
Instructor Perspective Send e-mail to Phone Office Small Group
Eric Medberry Env. Studies Eric Medberry 755-3770 PE229 Tues 5:30-6:45 S208
Scott Borchers Philosophy sborchers 755-2860 HS309 Thurs 4:00-5:15 HS247

Jason Sellers

History jsellers 755-3351 HS305 Thurs 4:00-5:15 HS228
Back to Course Home Syllabus & Reading Assignments
(Read chapters prior to large group session!!)
Teaching Team
Week Date Reading Focus Coordinator
1 Jan 11 Intro.



2 Jan 18 Chapters 2 & 14

Physical Systems, Worldviews

3 Jan 25 Chapter 3 Evolutiion and Extinction  
4 Feb 1 Chapter 4


5 Feb 8 Chapter 5


6 Feb 15 Chapters 6 & 7


7 Feb 22 Review

8 Mar 1  

Midterm Exam

9 Mar 15 Chapter 8

Food & Soil

10 Mar 22 Chapter 9


11 Mar 29 Chapter 10


12 Apr 5 Chapter 11

Risk and Toxicology

13 Apr 12 Chapter 12

Climate Change

14 Apr 19 Chapter 13 Superfund & Waste Issues  
15 Apr 28 (None) Wrap-Up Team

Final Exam -- Weds. May 4th, 1 - 3 pm