Envs 4950 Integrative Seminar in Environmental Studies, O'Donnell, Spring 2014

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last update: January 16, 2014


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

MWF 10:25-11:20am, Hutcheson Hall 107

Class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays. Except for the first class meeting (Fri, Jan 17), we will not meet on Fridays, though the course is officially scheduled on MWF.  This is to allow you extra time for your 20-30 hour service commitment this semester. 


This course is a "capstone" experience for Environmental Studies minors who are preparing to graduate. The purpose is to help you synthesize what you've learned in the courses you've taken for the environmental studies minor, and to help 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, you will work with me to arrange a service activity, project, or placement related to your particular area of interest within the broad field of environmental studies.  You will also then select additional readings that relate to your service placement.


II.  Instructor Information

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

Spring 2014 Office Hours: MTW 12:30-2:30pm


III.  Requirements

1. Syllabus and course materials: You 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:  You will read three books in common with other students, plus other readings selected in consultation with me. You will occasionally write responses to the readings, either as assigned ahead of time, or in class on the day readings are due. 

4. Written final project: You will produce approximately 10 pages of formal writing--form, audience, and purpose to be related to service activity or project and to be determined by you, in consultation with me. 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.


IV.  Final Grade Breakdown

- 20-30 hours of service work: 25%

- Written final project: 25%

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

- Presentation to classmates, based on final project: 10%

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


V.  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.