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.

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.

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.

Fall 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 195A - Hamilton, Eugene W., III (Bill)

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

Fall 2016, BIOL 195A-01: The Ecology of National Parks (3). An introduction to the ecology of the Earth's national parks starting with the first national park, Yellowstone National Park (YNP). Students learn the ecology of the temperate ecosystem that is YNP from soils to top predators. The course covers modern molecular techniques in biology and classical ecological approaches for quantifying the connections that exist within intact and broken ecosystems. Using YNP as a model, students investigate five other national parks across the Earth and conduct assessments of their biological integrity. (SC) Hamilton.

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.

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 - 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 - 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 2016, ENV 395A-01: Advanced Seminar: Environmentalism in the Anthropocene (3). 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.

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.

Fall 2016, ENV 402-01: Directed Individual Study: Environmental Significance of the Anthropocene Concept (2). Prerequisite: Instructor consent. This directed study course focuses on 1. the criteria for judging whether we have entered a new geological epoch (the Anthropocene), 2. the arguments for and against the claim that these criteria have been satisfied, and 3. the significance of this debate for the development of environmental policy. Cooper.

Directed Individual Studies

ENV 402 - Cooper, Gregory J. (Greg)

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.

Advanced Seminar

PHIL 395A - Cooper, Gregory J. (Greg)

An intensive and critical study of selected issues or major figures in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2016, PHIL 395A-01: Advanced Seminar: Environmentalism for the Anthropocene (3). 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 .

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 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)

Additional fee. 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.

Additional fee. 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. Additional fee. 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) . Additional fee. 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.

Additional fee. 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.