The first course in our core sequence examines Pacific Northwest ecology, history, and economics through a systems lens. We explore key methodologies and theories of environmental disciplines as a foundation for collaborative work within interdisciplinary teams. In addition, we study indigenous ecological knowledge and natural resource management of Pacific Northwest tribes. Native American tribes have crafted this region’s landscape and seascape for millennia, initiated major environmental reforms during the past century, and continue to provide environmental leadership across the region. Finally, we examine the policy process, with particular attention to the way national and state environmental policies play out at local and regional levels.
Students will draw upon this material to assess the value of particular disciplines and ways of knowing for framing and solving environmental problems. Students will focus on a few major environmental challenges through readings, lectures, workshops, seminar discussions, and writing assignments. A central part of this quarter's work is an interdisciplinary group project, which assumes that many critical environmental issues cannot be solved by individuals working alone or even by teams from a single discipline. This project provides an opportunity for students to develop their research, writing, presentation, and collaborative problem-solving skills.
We plan to meet in-person to the extent possible given federal and state public health guidelines. To successfully participate in this program, students will need access to the internet and a computer with word-processing software. If we must meet remotely, students can expect our remote teaching to be around 75% of synchronous (scheduled) coursework per week, using Canvas and Zoom. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous (in person or remote) participation if conditions require.
We plan to take two half-day field trips in the Olympia area if conditions allow. We will have more information about dates and destinations in the orientation letter that we will send this summer.