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 2018

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.

Eco Art

ARTS 233 - Tamir Tamir, Rotem Z.

This course treads on the uncharted territory that lies between contemporary art practices and environmental activism, thus redefining cultural norms about the objectives and potential instrumental values of contemporary art. Eco artists replace conventional art store supplies with living plants and microbes, mud and feathers, electronic transmissions and digital imagery, temperature and wind. Through artworks and artists working within the vast scope of environmental concerns. students learn about energy, waste, climate change, technology, sustainability, etc., as well as about creative ecological processes and the relationships between materials, tools, and ecosystems.

Ecology

BIOL 245 - Hurd, Lawrence E. (Larry)

An introduction to the study of interactions between organisms and their environments. Topics are arranged hierarchically: a) evolution and elementary population genetics; b) population dynamics and regulation; c) interspecific competition, predation, parasitism and symbiosis; d) community structure, energy and material flux in ecosystems. Laboratory is field oriented and investigative. Laboratory course.

Environmental Service Learning

ENV 111 - Hodge, Kimberly S. (Kim)

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.

Key Thinkers on the Environment

ENV 288 - Rupke, Nicolaas A.

"Key thinkers on the environment" are central to this course, ranging from ancient greats such as Aristotle to modern writers such as David Suzuki and E.O. Wilson about the ecosystem crises of the Anthropocene. We highlight certain 19th-century icons of environmentalist awareness and nature preservation, such as Alexander von Humboldt in Europe and Humboldtians in America, including Frederic Edwin Church and Henry David Thoreau.

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 2018, ENV 395A-01: Environmental Values and Environmental Policy (3). What values shape environmental decisions? In economic terms, we seek to allocate resources so as to maximize social utility. However, our policy decisions regarding the environment also pursue certain ecological goals, such as the preservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of healthy and functioning ecosystems. In addition, environmental policy is constrained by ethical concerns such as the pursuit of environmental justice and our responsibilities to future generations. This course addresses such questions as: To what degree are these three kinds of policy goals in tension with one another? How can we clarify our thinking about these policy goals so as to harmonize them where possible and reasonably negotiate the tradeoffs when they come into conflict? 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.

Directed Individual Studies

ENV 401 - 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.

Honors Thesis in Environmental Studies

ENV 493 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

Honors Thesis.

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.

Key Thinkers on the Environment

HIST 288 - Rupke, Nicolaas A.

"Key thinkers on the environment" are central to this course, ranging from ancient greats such as Aristotle to modern writers such as David Suzuki and E.O. Wilson about the ecosystem crises of the Anthropocene. We highlight certain 19th-century icons of environmentalist awareness and nature preservation, such as Alexander von Humboldt in Europe and Humboldtians in America, including Frederic Edwin Church and Henry David Thoreau.

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 2018

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.

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.

Topics in Classical Civilization

CLAS 295 - Hagen, Adrienne M.

Selected subject areas in classical civilization. The topic selected varies from year to year. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2018, CLAS 295-01: Nature and the Environment in Antiquity (3). How did people in the ancient world conceive of nature from a philosophical, religious, and scientific standpoint? What attitudes did they hold towards animals and other forms of life? How did they shape the world around them through practices such as agriculture, mining, water management, and deforestation? Did they share our modern concerns about the use and conservation of natural spaces? Students in this course investigate these questions using literature, art, and artifacts from the ancient Mediterranean world (primarily Greece and Rome) as well as works by contemporary scholars. Readings are in English, with the opportunity to read portions of some texts in Greek or Latin, if desired, by students with prior knowledge of these languages. (HU) Hagen.

Lakota Land Culture, Economics and History

ECON 286 - Guse, Aaron J. (Joseph) / Markowitz, Harvey J.

This class focuses on the cultural, economic, and historical dimensions of the Lakotas' (Titonwan tawapi ) ties to their lands as expressed in their pre- and post-reservation lifeways. It includes a 10 day field trip to western South Dakota to visit and meet with people in the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations and the Black Hills.

Special Topics in Economics

ECON 295 - Casey, James F. (Jim)

Course emphasis and prerequisites change from term to term and are announced prior to preregistration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different. A maximum of nine credits chosen from all special topics in economics courses may be used, with permission of the department head, toward requirements for the economics major.

Spring 2018, ECON 295-01: Introduction to Sustainable Development (3). Prerequisites: ECON 100 or 101. Open to first-years and sophomores only. In September 2015, many countries adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2015-2030 to replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expired in 2015. These SDGs set targets for the three pillars of sustainable development -- reducing poverty, protecting the environment, and increasing equality of opportunity for those who may have had less-than-equal opportunity in the past. This course provides an introduction to the concept, theories, and potential outcomes of sustainable development. Additionally, we take a case-study approach and look at policies and programs that have aimed to address each of the SDGs. Students are introduced to sustainability through policies addressing oceans, biodiversity, climate, energy, education, social investment, and health. Casey.

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 - Harbor, David J.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. 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 2018, GEOL 105-01: FS: Earth Lab: Sand (4). First-Year seminar. A Jockey John Robinson Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year standing. Sand is everywhere. It is between our toes at the beach, sweeping beneath us in rivers, and blown against us in stinging desert storms. And yet, this ubiquitous, ordinary substance tells incredible stories of plate tectonic upheavals, vast seas covering now-dry continents, and journeys through rivers, into inland deserts, and along ocean shores. This field-based seminar explores the origin and nature of sand, its journeys, and how geologists use observations in modern environments along with detailed microscopic and field descriptions of rocks to define the conditions of landscapes long past. Participation requires camping on eastern barrier islands, travel to the Colorado Plateau of Utah, and a healthy imagination. Most expenses are covered by the Jockey John Robinson Fund. (SL) Harbor.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. 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 2018, GEOL 105-02: Earth Lab: Is the Earth Worth Saving (4). Can we 'save the earth'? What does that really mean? This course explores both the humbling existence of humans in deep time (4.6 billion years), and the potentially profound impacts of humans on the earth environment. Students consider whether it is the earth or only ourselves that we wish to 'save'. We study how rocks reveal a deep and rich history of changing climate and environment with time, and then compare this record with what we know about human-influenced climate and environmental change in the last few hundred years. We reflect on what, if anything, we should do with this information. We evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to 'protect' the environment, specifically with regards to marine-protected areas. Extensive field exploration of the geology of Rockbridge County and a week-long trip to Belize, to visit protected and unprotected coral reefs. (SL) Greer.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. 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 2018, GEOL 105-03: Earth Lab:  The Geology of Virginia (4). No prerequisites. Suitable for all students. From the billion-year-old rocks of the Blue Ridge to the sediments actively accumulating at the modern shore, the geology of Virginia preserves a rich and fascinating record of Earth history. Students explore the geology of Virginia, with emphasis on the physical processes responsible for rock formation and landscape evolution. Topics include: plate tectonics and mountain building, volcanism, metamorphism, erosion, sedimentation, and coastal processes. The course takes full advantage of our local setting and features many field trips, including at least one overnight trip to the coastal plain. (SL) Rahl .

Lakota Land Culture, Economics and History

SOAN 286 - Guse, Aaron J. (Joseph) / Markowitz, Harvey J.

This class focuses on the cultural, economic, and historical dimensions of the Lakotas' (Titonwan tawapi) ties to their lands as expressed in their pre- and post-reservation lifeways. It includes a 10 day field trip to western South Dakota to visit and meet with people in the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations and the Black Hills.

Winter 2018

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.

Experimental Botany: Global Climate Change

BIOL 330 - Hamilton, Eugene W., III (Bill)

Lectures focus on the major impacts of global climate change (elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and elevated temperatures) on plant function (photosynthesis and respiration) and plant communities. Additional topics include global carbon budgets, plant carbon sequestration, and agricultural impacts. Participants review the pertinent primary literature and conduct a term-long laboratory research project. Laboratory course.

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 - Humston, Robert / Rowe, Barbara L.

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 - 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.

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? (

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 401 - Hodge, Kimberly S. (Kim)

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.

Directed Individual Studies

ENV 401 - 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.

Water Resources

GEOL 150 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

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.

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.