Envs 4950 Integrative Seminar in Environmental Studies, O'Donnell, Spring 2013

[ Policies ] [ Calendar ] [ Links ]

last update: January 12, 2013


Course Information and Description 
ENVS 4950 Integrative Seminar in Environmental Studies sec. 001

MWF 10:25-11:20am, Sam Wilson Hall 322

Class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Except for the first class meeting (Fri, Jan 18), we will not meet on Fridays, though the course is officially scheduled on MWF.


This course is a "capstone" experience for Environmental Studies minors who are preparing to graduate.  The purpose is to help students synthesize what they've learned in the courses they've taken for the environmental studies minor, and to define their own niche, or area of interest, within the broad field of environmental studies. 


Students in the class will read and discuss three books in common.  In addition, each student will work with the instructor to arrange a service activity, project, or placement related to the the student's particular interest within the broad field of environmental studies.  Each student will also then select additional readings that directly relate to their service placement.  Thus, each student will design a customized course syllabus, built around the service placement.  (See links under "Requirements," below, for more on the service activity and the customized syllabus.) 


Instructor Information

Dr. Kevin O'Donnell, http://faculty.etsu.edu/odonnell/, odonnell@etsu.edu 423 439-6679
Office: Burleson Hall 313

Spring 2013 Office Hours: MW 11:30am-1:30pm; TR 12:45-2:05pm



1.  Syllabus and course materials:  Students will submit a customized syllabus by the third week, to be posted on the web.

2.  20 to 30 hours service activity or project. 

3.  Readings, discussion, and written responses:  Students will read three books in common with other students, plus other readings selected in consultation with the instructor.  Written responses will be assigned, plus occasional in-class reading quizzes. 

4.  Writing project:  Students will produce approximately 10 pages of formal writing--form, audience, and purpose to be related to service activity or project and determined by the student in consultation with instructor.  Students will read drafts of each other's writing, and will present work to each other in a class forum at the end of the semester. 


Final Grade Breakdown

- 20-30 hours of service work: 25%

- Major writing project, related to service work: 25%

- Weekly assignments, including customized syllabus; reading responses; reading quizzes; etc: 30% 

- Presentation to classmates, based on major writing project: 10%

- Miscellaneous--participation in draft workshops; informal in-class writing, etc: 10%


Required Texts

- Freeman Dyson, ed. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010. Mariner Books, 2010. $14.95. ISBN: 0547327846

- Charles Mann. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Vintage 2012 (2011).  $16.95.   ISBN: 0307278247

- Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. M. Conway. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Bloomsbury, 2011. $18.00. ISBN: 1608193942

- Other readings chosen by each student, in consultation with instructor, for customized syllabus. 

- We will also occasionally read articles posted on the web.  (See calendar, above, for specific reading assignments.)