Course Offerings

While we make every effort to have this be a complete list, last-minute changes may render this listing incomplete. Please visit the Courses for Major or Minor page for a complete listing.

Spring 2016

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Ecological Modeling and Conservation Strategies

BIOL 325 - Humston, Robert

This course is an intensive introduction to foundational methods in ecological modeling and their application, with emphasis on the dynamics of exploited or threatened populations and developing strategies for effective conservation. Topics include managing harvested populations, population viability analysis, individual based models, and simulation modeling for systems analyses. Laboratory course.

Plant Functional Ecology

BIOL 332 - Hamilton, Eugene W., III (Bill)

The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Information regarding the specific course topic and field trip schedule is made available in the fall. Through novel research projects in a variety of field settings (e.g., on-campus, Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem), this field-based laboratory course covers topics which investigate the vital roles that plants play in shaping Earth's ecosystems. Topics focus on the responses of native plants to environmental stresses, such as global climate change (elevated temperature and carbon dioxide and drought), herbivory, and invasive species. Field and laboratory exercises focus on testing hypotheses through experiments using a variety of species from intact plant communities. A review of the pertinent literature is used to develop and conduct a term research project. Laboratory course.

Land in Lakota Culture, Economics, and History

ECON 186 - Guse, Aaron J. (Joseph) / Markowitz, Harvey J.

A review of the history of Lakota land from 1851 to present and its importance to Lakota cultural identity, political sovereignty, and economic development. We examine specific federal policies including the treaties of 1851 and 1868, the extermination of the buffalo herds, the confiscation of the Black Hills, the creation of the reservation system, and the Dawes Act among others. Students spend nine days off-campus to participate in workshops at the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies and to visit sites in and around the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Rosebud reservation, and the Black Hills.

Eco-Writing

ENGL 207 - Green, Leah N.

An expeditionary course in environmental creative writing. Readings include canonical writers such as Frost, Emerson, Auden, Rumi, and Muir, as well as contemporary writers such as W.S. Merwin, Mary Oliver, Janice Ray, Gary Snyder, Annie Dillard, Tich Nhat Hanh, Wendell Berry, and Robert Hass. We take weekly "expeditions" including creative writing hikes, a landscape painting exhibit, and a Buddhist monastery. "Expeditionary courses" sometimes involve moderate to challenging hiking. We research the science and social science of the ecosystems explored, as well as the language of those ecosystems. The course has two primary aspects: (1) reading and literary analysis of eco-literature (fiction, non-fiction, and poetry) and (2) developing skill and craft in creating eco-writing through the act of writing in these genres and through participation in weekly "writing workshop."

Ecology of Place

ENV 250 - Hurd, Lawrence E. (Larry) / Cooper, Gregory J. (Greg)

Think globally, study locally. This course explores globally significant environmental issues such as biodiversity conservation, sustainable delivery of ecosystem goods and services, and environmental justice, as they are manifested on a local/regional scale. We examine interactions among ethical, ecological, and economic concerns that shape these issues. Students are fully engaged in the development of policy recommendations that could guide relevant decision makers. The course incorporates readings, field trips, films, and discussions with invited experts.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105 - Knapp, Elizabeth P. / Mitchell, Euan C.

The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.

Spring 2016, GEOL 105-01: First-Year Seminar: Earth Lab: Introduction to the Geology of Hawaii (4). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing. Instructor consent required. An introductory study of earth science and the geology of the Hawaiian Islands.  Its purpose is to provide an unparalleled opportunity to observe a wide variety of geologic processes in action.  This course entails close interaction with the faculty and intensive study amongst the students during the term. (SL) Knapp.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105 - Leonard-Pingel, Jill S.

The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.

Spring 2016, GEOL 105-02: Earth Lab: Dinosaurs (4) . Prerequisite: First-Year or sophomore standing only. A multidisciplinary investigation into the morphology, classification, and ecology of the dinosaurs and their close relatives; the environmental, climatic, and geographic conditions on earth during the time of the dinosaurs and how geologists make those paleo-environmental interpretations; and the biological principles involved in understanding the origin, evolution, and extinction of the dinosaurs. In addition, students discuss how scientific investigations proceed, how science is conveyed to a larger audience, and why dinosaurs in the media are often portrayed with so many scientific errors. (SL) Leonard-Pingel .

Land in Lakota Culture, Economics, and History

SOAN 186 - Guse, Aaron J. (Joseph) / Markowitz, Harvey J.

A review of the history of Lakota land from 1851 to present and its importance to Lakota cultural identity, political sovereignty, and economic development. We examine specific federal policies including the treaties of 1851 and 1868, the extermination of the buffalo herds, the confiscation of the Black Hills, the creation of the reservation system, and the Dawes Act among others. Students spend nine days off-campus to participate in workshops at the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies and to visit sites in and around the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Rosebud reservation, and the Black Hills.

Winter 2016

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Topics in Biology

BIOL 195 - Pask, Gregory M. (Greg)

Topics vary with instructor and term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2016, BIOL 195-01: Breaking Bugs: Managing Insect Pests (4). All over the world, pest insects pose a huge threat to quality of life due to their impact on agriculture and human health. The constant struggle against pests has led historically to some desperate control strategies, such as mass spraying of DDT. Advances in our understanding of insects have led to novel and more responsible control techniques, but the troubled past of pest management has led to public distrust. As we explore the science, history, economics, and ethics of integrated pest management, students evaluate the issue from the perspectives of farmers, consumers, and global health. (SL) Pask .

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

ECON 255 - Casey, James F. (Jim)

The course serves as an introduction to environmental and natural resource economics. Economic principles are used to evaluate public and private decision making involving the management and use of environmental and natural resources. Aspects pertaining to fisheries, forests, species diversity, agriculture, and various policies to reduce air, water and toxic pollution will be discussed. Lectures, reading assignments, discussions and exams will emphasize the use of microeconomic analysis for managing and dealing with environmental and natural resource problems and issues.

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

ECON 255 - Casey, James F. (Jim)

The course serves as an introduction to environmental and natural resource economics. Economic principles are used to evaluate public and private decision making involving the management and use of environmental and natural resources. Aspects pertaining to fisheries, forests, species diversity, agriculture, and various policies to reduce air, water and toxic pollution will be discussed. Lectures, reading assignments, discussions and exams will emphasize the use of microeconomic analysis for managing and dealing with environmental and natural resource problems and issues.

Introduction to Environmental Studies

ENV 110 - Kahn, James R. (Jim)

An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies with an emphasis on how societies organize themselves through their social, political and economic institutions to respond to environmental problems. The course begins with a discussion of the development of environmental thought, focusing on the relationship between humans and the environment. Participants then discuss alternative criteria for environmental decision making, including sustainability, equity, ecological integrity, economic efficiency, and environmental justice. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary environmental issues, including global warming, invasive species, energy and the environment, tropical deforestation, and the relationship between the environment and economic development in developing countries.

Introduction to Environmental Studies

ENV 110 - Green, Leah N.

An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies with an emphasis on how societies organize themselves through their social, political and economic institutions to respond to environmental problems. The course begins with a discussion of the development of environmental thought, focusing on the relationship between humans and the environment. Participants then discuss alternative criteria for environmental decision making, including sustainability, equity, ecological integrity, economic efficiency, and environmental justice. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary environmental issues, including global warming, invasive species, energy and the environment, tropical deforestation, and the relationship between the environment and economic development in developing countries.

Introduction to Environmental Studies

ENV 110 - Moore, Elizabeth A.

An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies with an emphasis on how societies organize themselves through their social, political and economic institutions to respond to environmental problems. The course begins with a discussion of the development of environmental thought, focusing on the relationship between humans and the environment. Participants then discuss alternative criteria for environmental decision making, including sustainability, equity, ecological integrity, economic efficiency, and environmental justice. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary environmental issues, including global warming, invasive species, energy and the environment, tropical deforestation, and the relationship between the environment and economic development in developing countries.

Introduction to Environmental Studies

ENV 110 - Moore, Elizabeth A.

An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies with an emphasis on how societies organize themselves through their social, political and economic institutions to respond to environmental problems. The course begins with a discussion of the development of environmental thought, focusing on the relationship between humans and the environment. Participants then discuss alternative criteria for environmental decision making, including sustainability, equity, ecological integrity, economic efficiency, and environmental justice. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary environmental issues, including global warming, invasive species, energy and the environment, tropical deforestation, and the relationship between the environment and economic development in developing countries.

Environmental Service Learning

ENV 111 - Green, Leah N.

Practical application of student knowledge of environmental issues based on supervised volunteer work in the greater Rockbridge community. Students will participate in a service-learning environment. Topics will include environmental education, campus sustainability, conservation and sustainable agriculture in the surrounding region. The course culminates with a paper integrating students' knowledge with practical application throughout the term.

Nature and Place

ENV 207 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

This course explores a variety of ideas about and experiences of nature and place Through a consideration of work drawn from diverse disciplines including philosophy, religious studies, literature, art, and anthropology. Questions to be Considered may include: what is the nature of place in our societies, and is there a place for nature in our cultures? How have human beings made places for themselves to dwell in or out of nature? What might make a place a sacred place? Are there any sacred places? (

Special Topics in Environmental Studies

ENV 295 - Freitas, Carlos E.

This courses examines special topics in environmental studies, such as ecotourism, the environment and development, local environmental issues, values and the environment, global fisheries, global climate change, tropical deforestation and similar topics of importance, which could change from year to year. This is a research-intensive course where the student would be expected to write a significant paper, either individually or as part of a group, of sufficient quality to be made useful to the scholarly and policy communities. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies

ENV 397 - Humston, Robert / Kahn, James R. (Jim)

An interdisciplinary capstone course intended for students in the environmental studies program. Students analyze a particular environmental issue and attempt to integrate scientific inquiry, political and economic analysis and ethical implications. The particular issue changes each year.

Global Climate Change

GEOL 141 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

A study of Earth's complex climate system and the impact of human activities on future climates. Through readings, discussions, data analyses and modeling exercises, the past and future changes in temperature, ocean circulation, rainfall, storminess, biogeochemistry, glacial ice extent and sea level are explored.

Water Resources

GEOL 150 - Jungers, Matthew C.

An examination of the quality and quantity of water resources as a limiting factor for life on earth. Issues include resource depletion, pollution, historical use and over-use, remediation, habitat maintenance, and water supply mechanisms. Resource constraints are analyzed from a scientific perspective in order to understand water resource problems and envision solutions.

Hydrology

GEOL 240 - Jungers, Matthew C.

Systems and processes of water movement on and below the Earth's surface. Encompasses the theoretical and applied aspects of soil moisture, runoff, flooding, groundwater movement, and water-well use. Numerical evaluation of flow properties from field and lab data describing water movement in soils, aquifers, and streams. Laboratory course.

Ethics and the Environment

PHIL 150 - Cooper, Gregory J. (Greg)

This course is a philosophical exploration of one's responsibilities to the natural world. It has three main objectives: first, to provide an understanding of different dominant ethical theories and their application to animals, plants, and ecosystems; second, to provide an understanding of major environmental issues in current political debates, such as climate change, species preservation, and sustainable development; and third, to facilitate the development of a student's own ethic towards the environment.

Ethics and the Environment

PHIL 150 - Cooper, Gregory J. (Greg)

This course is a philosophical exploration of one's responsibilities to the natural world. It has three main objectives: first, to provide an understanding of different dominant ethical theories and their application to animals, plants, and ecosystems; second, to provide an understanding of major environmental issues in current political debates, such as climate change, species preservation, and sustainable development; and third, to facilitate the development of a student's own ethic towards the environment.

Environmental Policy and Law

POL 233 - Harris, Rebecca C.

A study of major environmental laws and the history of their enactment and implementation. Discusses different theoretical approaches from law, ethics, politics, and economics. Reviews significant case law and the legal context. Emphasis is on domestic policy with some attention to international law and treaties.

Nature and Place

REL 207 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Through a consideration of work drawn from diverse disciplines including philosophy, religious studies, literature, art, and anthropology, this course explores a variety of ideas about and experiences of nature and place.

American Indian Religions, Landscapes, and Identities

REL 224 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

Drawing on a combination of scholarly essays, native accounts, videos, guest lectures, and student presentations, this seminar examines the religious assumptions and practices that bind American Indian communities to their traditional homelands. The seminar elucidates and illustrates those principles concerning human environmental interactions common to most Indian tribes; focuses on the traditional beliefs and practices of a particular Indian community that reflected and reinforced the community understanding of the relationship to be maintained with the land and its creatures; and examines the moral and legal disputes that have arisen out of the very different presuppositions which Indians and non- Indians hold regarding the environment.

American Indian Religions, Landscapes, and Identities

SOAN 224 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

Drawing on a combination of scholarly essays, native accounts, videos, guest lectures, and student presentations, this seminar examines the religious assumptions and practices that bind American Indian communities to their traditional homelands. The seminar elucidates and illustrates those principles concerning human environmental interactions common to most Indian tribes; focuses on the traditional beliefs and practices of a particular Indian community that reflected and reinforced the community's understanding of the relationship to be maintained with the land and its creatures; and examines the moral and legal disputes that have arisen out of the very different presuppositions which Indians and non-Indians hold regarding the environment.

Fall 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Aquatic Ecology

BIOL 217 - Humston, Robert

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the ecology of freshwater systems, with laboratory emphasis on streams and rivers in the local area. It includes a review of the physical and biological properties of freshwater ecosystems as well as current issues relating to their conservation. Laboratory activities focus around monitoring the impacts of current stream restoration efforts in local watersheds.

Introduction to Environmental Studies

ENV 110 - Humston, Robert

An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies with an emphasis on how societies organize themselves through their social, political and economic institutions to respond to environmental problems. The course begins with a discussion of the development of environmental thought, focusing on the relationship between humans and the environment. Participants then discuss alternative criteria for environmental decision making, including sustainability, equity, ecological integrity, economic efficiency, and environmental justice. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary environmental issues, including global warming, invasive species, energy and the environment, tropical deforestation, and the relationship between the environment and economic development in developing countries.

Introduction to Environmental Studies

ENV 110 - Cowgill, Kimberly S. (Kim)

An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies with an emphasis on how societies organize themselves through their social, political and economic institutions to respond to environmental problems. The course begins with a discussion of the development of environmental thought, focusing on the relationship between humans and the environment. Participants then discuss alternative criteria for environmental decision making, including sustainability, equity, ecological integrity, economic efficiency, and environmental justice. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary environmental issues, including global warming, invasive species, energy and the environment, tropical deforestation, and the relationship between the environment and economic development in developing countries.

Introduction to Environmental Studies

ENV 110 - Green, Leah N.

An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies with an emphasis on how societies organize themselves through their social, political and economic institutions to respond to environmental problems. The course begins with a discussion of the development of environmental thought, focusing on the relationship between humans and the environment. Participants then discuss alternative criteria for environmental decision making, including sustainability, equity, ecological integrity, economic efficiency, and environmental justice. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary environmental issues, including global warming, invasive species, energy and the environment, tropical deforestation, and the relationship between the environment and economic development in developing countries.

Introduction to Environmental Studies

ENV 110 - Green, Leah N.

An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies with an emphasis on how societies organize themselves through their social, political and economic institutions to respond to environmental problems. The course begins with a discussion of the development of environmental thought, focusing on the relationship between humans and the environment. Participants then discuss alternative criteria for environmental decision making, including sustainability, equity, ecological integrity, economic efficiency, and environmental justice. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary environmental issues, including global warming, invasive species, energy and the environment, tropical deforestation, and the relationship between the environment and economic development in developing countries.

Environmental Service Learning

ENV 111 - Green, Leah N.

Practical application of student knowledge of environmental issues based on supervised volunteer work in the greater Rockbridge community. Students will participate in a service-learning environment. Topics will include environmental education, campus sustainability, conservation and sustainable agriculture in the surrounding region. The course culminates with a paper integrating students' knowledge with practical application throughout the term.

Special Topics in Environmental Ethics

ENV 395 - Cooper, Gregory J. (Greg)

This course explores areas of topical concern within the field of environmental ethics. The issues explored may vary from year to year. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2015, ENV 395-01: The Environmental Philosophy of Aldo Leopold (3). No prerequisite. Student may not also register for PHIL 395. Aldo Leopold is arguably the seminal figure in the history of environmental ethics. This course is an in-depth examination of his thought. Using primary and secondary sources, we explore the development of his major contributions to environmental philosophy. Among the topics included are 1) his land ethic; 2) the nature of his environmental aesthetic; 3) his views on the value of wilderness; 4) his prescient focus on the role of apex predators; 5) his emphasis on the connection between biodiversity and ecosystem function; 6) his development of an ecology of place; and 7) his philosophy of outdoor recreation. (HU) Cooper.

Pre-Capstone Research Seminar

ENV 396 - Humston, Robert

In this seminar, students develop a proposal for the research that they will conduct in the subsequent Winter-term class, ENV 397. Both quantitative and qualitative research projects are encouraged and all research projects must have an interdisciplinary component. Students develop their research questions, prepare progress reports, annotated bibliographies, discussions of data, methods, and the significance of their proposed research. The final product is a complete research proposal which serves as a blueprint for the capstone research project. Students are also responsible for reviewing the work of classmates.

Geomorphology

GEOL 247 - Jungers, Matthew C.

Investigation of landforms from maps, aerial photographs, digital data, and the analysis of the surficial processes by which they are formed. Laboratory activities include identification and interpretation of topography, field measurements of landscape form and process, and a required weekend field trip. Laboratory course.