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.

Fall 2017

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.

Sustainability Accounting

ACCT 303 - Hess, Megan F.

This course examines best practices and key debates in sustainability accounting and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. Sustainable business practices meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future. Increasingly, accountants are playing an important role in measuring, reporting, and auditing corporate impacts on society and the environment so that corporations can be held accountable and more sustainable business practices can be implemented.

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.

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

ECON 255 - Goodenberger, James S.

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.

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 395A - 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 2017, ENV 395A-01: Environmentalism in the Anthropocene (3). No prerequsites. Students may not also register for PHIL 395A-01. Many people believe we have entered a new geological epoch: The Anthropocene, or Age of Human Domination. Some of the central questions explored in this seminar include: What does it mean to be an environmentalist in the Anthropocene? Are the traditional goals of wilderness preservation and conservation of biodiversity still appropriate? Should conservation biology shift its goals in the direction of conserving valuable ecosystem goods and services? Should our attitudes towards introduced and/or invasive species be transformed?  Should we assist the migration of species that are unable to respond on their own to the habitat shifts that will result from global warming? Has the planet become, in effect, one large human garden to be managed as best we can?  (HU) Cooper

Pre-Capstone Research Seminar

ENV 396 - Kahn, James R. (Jim) / 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.

Hydrology

GEOL 240 - STAFF / Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

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.

Geomorphology

GEOL 247 - Harbor, David J.

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.

Philosophy of Biology

PHIL 282 - Cooper, Gregory J. (Greg)

An examination of philosophical issues raised by biology, with an emphasis on current evolutionary theory. Topics include the structure of the theory of evolution by natural selection, an examination of the concepts of fitness and adaptation, the role of teleological explanation in biology, reductionism, the nature of biological species, individuality, levels of selection, and sociobiology.

Introduction to American Indian Religions

REL 285 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

This class introduces students to some of the dominant themes, values, beliefs, and practices found among the religions of North America's Indian peoples. The first part of the course explores the importance of sacred power, landscape, and community in traditional Indian spiritualities and rituals. It then examines some of the changes that have occurred in these traditions as a result of western expansion and dominance from the 18th through early 20th centuries. Lastly, the course considers some of the issues and problems confronting contemporary American Indian religions.

Introduction to American Indian Religions

SOAN 285 - Markowitz, Harvey J.

This class introduces students to some of the dominant themes, values, beliefs, and practices found among the religions of North America's Indian peoples. The first part of the course explores the importance of sacred power, landscape, and community in traditional Indian spiritualities and rituals. It then examines some of the changes that have occurred in these traditions as a result of western expansion and dominance from the 18th through early 20th centuries. Lastly, the course considers some of the issues and problems confronting contemporary American Indian religions.

Spring 2017

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.

Environmental Biology: Endangered Plants of the Appalachians

BIOL 101 - Winder, Charles T.

Using case studies in plant endangerment as a focal point for understanding ecological and evolutionary processes and the impact of human activities on biodiversity, students gain fundamental insight into their relationship with the living world and the importance of preserving biological diversity through a combination of targeted readings, intensive discussions, and basic research in the field, Field activities take place in regional hotspots of plant endemism and give students experience in applied conservation research. Field sites and subject species vary from year to year.

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.

Supervised Study Abroad: The Environment and Economic Development in Amazonas

ECON 259 - Kahn, James R. (Jim)

Spring Term Abroad course. Amazonas is a huge Brazilian state of 1.5 million sq. kilometers which retains 94 percent of its original forest cover. This course examines the importance of the forest for economic development in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy, and how policies can be develop to promote both environmental protection and an increase in the quality life in both the urban and rural areas of Amazonas. The learning objectives of this course integrate those of the economics and environmental studies majors. Students are asked to use economic tools in an interdisciplinary context to understand the relationships among economic behavior, ecosystems and policy choices. Writing assignments focus on these relationships and look towards the development of executive summary writing skills.

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."

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. Lab fee required.

Spring 2017, GEOL 105-01: Earth Lab: Dinosaurs (4). Prerequisite: First-Year or sophomore standing only. Additional course fee required, for which the student is responsible after Friday of the 7th week of winter term. 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 .

Earth Lab

GEOL 105 - Axler, Jennifer A. (Jen)

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. Lab fee required.

Spring 2017, GEOL 105-02: Earth Lab: Energy, Resources, and the Environment (4). Prerequisite: First-Year, sophomore, or junior standing only. Additional course fee required, for which the student is responsible after Friday of the 7th week of winter term. Energy from natural resources is used in many aspects of daily life, powering homes, schools, farms, businesses, and vehicles. In this modern industrial society, affordable energy is integral to sustaining our economic, social, and political standings. Most of our energy comes from the use of fossil fuels which come with a significant environmental impact. This course surveys the production and efficiency of a wide range of energy resources (including oil, gas, coal, solar, and wind), and studies the environmental impacts of obtaining energy and natural resources via each of these systems. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each energy resource and how we might improve our current energy system. (SL) Axler.

Winter 2017

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.

Conservation Genetics

BIOL 322 - Cabe, Paul R.

A study of the central issues of population genetics and their application to species preservation and conservation. Topics include genetic surveys of rare or threatened species; population structure and dispersal; inferring population histories from genetic data; phylogenetics of threatened species' groups; hybridization between species; the use of genetic data in captive breeding programs and the prosecution of endangered species legislation; and the use of biotechnologies, such as cloning.

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 - 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 - Hodge, 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.

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.

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.

Directed Individual Studies

ENV 402 - Humston, Robert

Students undertake significant original research or creative activity in the area of environmental studies, under the direction of a faculty member. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

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 - Smith, Stephen G.

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.

GIS and Remote Sensing

GEOL 260 - Harbor, David J.

A laboratory course introducing the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing in geological/environmental analyses and decision making. Students use state-of-the-art software with a wide variety of spatial geologic, environmental, economic and topographic data derived from satellites; remote databases and published maps to evaluate geologic conditions; local landscape processes; environmental conditions; and hypothetical land-use cases.

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.