Course Offerings - Catalog 2011-12

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Environmental Studies

Interdisciplinary Program

No major is offered in the program. The environmental studies minor offers an interdisciplinary exploration of the myriad ways by which the human species influences, and is influenced by, its non-human surroundings. It allows students to examine some of the most serious environmental questions facing human society. While searching for effective solutions, students gain an understanding of the scientific, societal, and ethical dimensions of the relationship between humans and their environment. This interdisciplinary minor therefore incorporates ideas and information from a wide variety of fields such as public policy, economics, anthropology, history, philosophy, religion, ecology, biology, and chemistry. The minor is particularly appropriate for students planning on attending graduate school in environmental studies as well as those who wish to incorporate an environmental dimension into a professional career such as law, public health, or business. It can be combined with any of Centre's major programs. With the exception of the senior project, any of the courses can be taken in any order, although enrollment in the introductory course ENS 210 is recommended as soon as possible, as that course will help the students decide which of the emphases to follow.


Endre Nyerges, (chair), David Anderson, Cynthia Isenhour, Matthew Klooster, Anne Lubbers, Dan Manheim, Preston Miles, Conrad Shiba

Requirements for the Minor

ENS 210;
BIO 370 (Principles of Ecology) or ENS 270 Ecology for the Non-Scientist;
HIS 361 (American Environmental History) or ECO 355 (Environmental Economics)

Three courses, at least one from each of the following two emphases:

Social/Political Analysis emphasis
ANT 321 (Anthropology of Development), ANT 350 (Ecological Anthropology), ECO 355 (Environmental Economics) if not used above, ECO 459 (Regulating the Environment), ENG 386 (Getting Back to Nature), ENS 220 (Introduction to Environmental Ethics); ENS 225 ENS 230 (Food and Campus Sustainability); ENS 253 The Art of Walking in Europe; GOV 433 American Environmental Policy, HIS 361 (American Environmental History) if not used above, ECO 365/ENS 252 (Sustainability), PHI 452 (Environmental Ethics), REL 453 (World Hunger and the Environment); REL 457 (Civil Society and Sustainable Development).

Scientific/Technological Analysis emphasis
ANT 360 (GIS and the Environment), BIO 245 (Freshwater Biology), BIO 375 (Conservation Biology), BNS 330 (Animal Behavior), CHE 251 (Chemistry of the Environment), CHE 454 (Green Chemistry), ENS 251 (Human Ecology in the Yucatan), NSC 140 (Environmental Geology).

One additional course, consisting of one of the following: an internship or independent study in an area of envrironmental studies (subject to approval by the Environmental Studies committee), or an unused elective from the approved courses listed above.

NOTE: Many of the courses listed above have prerequisites, and several courses are not offered regularly or are offered only once every two years. Students interested in the minor are encouraged to consult with a program committee member early on to plan their preparation for the minor and to discuss course offering schedules and options for an emphasis in the minor. Upon program committee approval, additional courses may be added to the list of courses fulfilling minor requirements.

Environmental Studies Courses

ENS 210 Introduction to Environmental Studies
A survey of human impacts on our environment, including the ecological bases for, and the ramifications of, these impacts. Includes a consideration of policies that would protect our environment for the long term while incorporating cultural, political and economic realities. A variety of views are discussed, and the policy implications of differing values are considered.

ENS 220 Introduction to Environmental Ethics
An examination of the ethics of our relationship to various components of the non-human world, including other animals and plants as well as ecosystems and the planet. Students debate questions such as whether or not non-human entities have moral status or rights, and what the implications are of such status for protection of other species, sustainability of our behaviors, and obligations to future generations. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or higher.

ENS 230 Food and Campus Sustainability
This course examines campus sustainability and food from multiple disciplinary perspectives. We will investigate the meanings and practice of sustainability on campuses, both at Centre and around the country. Our discussions will engage the institutional, ethical, and practical aspects of food production, distribution, and consumption. In particular, we will enrich class readings and discussion with field trips, guest speakers, and a feasibility study of a campus community garden.

ENS 251 Human Ecology in the Yucatan
What do humans need to live in a sustainable manner for generations to come? How do the actions of the human species limit this potential? This course will focus on the sustained needs for human population: food and fiber, shelter, water, and waste disposal. We will see how technology and the services of natural ecosystems collaborate to provide these services in the Yucatan and compare them to strategies used elsewhere.

ENS 252 Sustainability
A hands-on immersion into the practices of sustainable architecture, permanent agriculture, alternative energy, urban environmental strategies, dining low on the food chain, and designing ecological communities. Case studies include shade-grown organic coffee and off-the-grid lifestyles.

ENS 253 Art of Walking: Sidewalks
This course consists of a close reading of Kant’s Critique of Judgment and of numerous walks on the sidewalks and trails of central Kentucky towns. The first half of Kant’s Critique describes the faculty of judgment in its purest form, that is, as it is manifest in human claims about the beautiful in nature. The second half of the Critique considers human reflections on what appear to be purposes in nature. The “course walks” provide both a stark contrast to reading Kant and an ideal means for exploring the outside world, the primary theme of both parts of his treatise. More specifically, the sidewalks of area towns, because they facilitate the practice of walking in environments both built and natural, provide a special perspective and focus for this course.

ENS 270 Ecology for the Non-Scientist
An introduction to ecological principles designed for non-science majors.   Emphasis is on the general principles governing how populations, communities and ecosystems operate in nature, with the goal of better understanding human impacts on those systems and the ability to recover from those impacts. Topics include population growth, species interactions, community disturbance, succession, sustainability of ecosystems, biodiversity, invasive species, soils, climate. Prerequisite: BIO 110 or NSC 120, MAT 110.