People and the Environment
May Term 2011
[9 am -12:10 pm MTWRF, PE 240]

Course Format

The interdisciplinary survey of environmental issues will be provided in interdisciplinary large group sessions. Reading will be intensive and extensive, especially during the first week; plan on a minimum of 2-3 hours per day. 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.

Small-group sessions 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 independently several times per week as determined by the Teaching Team (see box below).

Text as Context

Read the assigned portions of the text prior to coming to class! There will be regular quizzes on key principles in the text each week during a large group meeting. Try to look for basic principles that can shore up your understanding of relevant issues. DON'T GET BOGGED DOWN IN DETAILS! We will spend some time in the large group section highlighting material from the reading and will welcome any specific questions you might have.

Grading & Exams

There will be regular quizzes and large group writing assignments comprising 20% of the overall course grade, 10% of grade will be based on service learning, and 20% based on the final. Quiz questions will be based largely on the vocabulary and review questions at the ends of the chapters in the Miller text as well as from the conceptual questions in the tutorial quizzes on the text's website. In-class writing assignments will be based largely on Critical Thinking problems posed at the end of each chapter and will integrate material from the lectures. The remaining 50% of your grade will be based on small-group assignments and participation in discussions and other 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.

Back to Course Home Syllabus & Reading Assignments
(Read chapters prior to large group session!!)
Teaching Team
Day Date Reading Focus Coordinator
Weds May 11 Chapters 1, 14

Course Introduction


Environmental Problems, Causes & Sustainability
Vertical Integration

Full-Cost Pricing


Small Group Orientation 11am - 12:10 pm
Thurs May 12


Small Group

Fri May 13   [Hobson Forest Field Trip]  
Mon May 16

Chapters 2-4

Science, Ecological Principles, and Biodiversity

Tues May 17   [Field Trip: Transfer Station, wastewater Treatment Facility and ReStore]
Weds May 18 Chapters 5-10 Sustaining Biodiversity and Natural Resources
Thurs May 19


Small Group

Fri May 20  

Bike Trip to Harmony CoOp., Wild Hare, Goodwill, Pawn USA and Twice But Nice (maybe Farmers' Market)

Mon May 23 Chapters 11-13

Sustaining Environmental Quality

Tues May 24   BioHaus Field Trip  
Weds May 25   Small Group  
Thurs May 26  

Jeopardy Review 9:00-11 am

Small Group 11 to 12:10
Fri May 27  

Final Exam 9 - 11 am [Study Questions]

Small Group 11 - 12:10


Teaching Team and Contact Information
Instructor Department Send e-mail to Phone Office Small Group
Valerie Wallingford BUAD vwallingford 2560 HMU  
Virgil Bakken MASC vbakken 3370 BG 204  
David Bahr Physics dbahr 2916 S313B  
Eric Medberry ENVR emedberry 3770 PE 229