Academic Catalog


Environmental Studies (ENVS)

ENVS 100 - Integrated Environmental Studies (4 Credit Hours)

In this course the student will consider environmental problems through the lenses of many different academic disciplines. The purpose of this approach is two-fold: 1) to enhance the student’s understanding of environmental issues as multi-dimensional dilemmas, and 2) to encourage the student to seek synergistic solutions. The course focuses on three major realms of environmental studies. In the first, students will consider the human relationship with the non-human world, including problems of ethics, social and psychological connections with nature, ecological services, biodiversity, aesthetics and utility. The second section addresses agriculture and aquaculture in the context of ecological limits, economics and policy. The third section explores the global aspects of energy use and climate change, with special emphasis on technology, disparity and human rights. The laboratory component of the course will expose the student to local and regional environmental problems and solutions. Field trips, guest speakers, analysis and discussion will emphasize the necessity of multidisciplinary integration in the design of sustainable environmental systems. Students will apply concepts of quantitative, qualitative and representative analysis to evaluate environmental questions and will learn to convey these concepts in writing. Course fulfills Interdivisional (I) GE requirement.

ENVS 102 - Science and the Environment (4 Credit Hours)

This course provides an introduction to the biogeochemical aspects of environmental problems. Students will gain an understanding of the structure and function of ecological communities, as well as the non-living factors that regulate ecological change. Global chemical cycles are presented as a unifying theme for human interactions with nature and are the basis for discussion of environmental problems associated with agriculture, water use, global climate change, energy source, atmospheric change, land and resource use, and waste disposal. The laboratory component of the course exposes students to methods of measuring and monitoring environmental quality. Labs include experiential introductions to ecological relationships, toxicology, water and soil analysis, and geographic information systems. Students will apply concepts of experimental design, statistical sampling, and data analysis to evaluate environmental questions. A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Environmental Science exam may substitute for this course as a prerequisite for some ENVS natural Science courses; see ENVS Director for details. Course fulfills the Quantitative Reasoning (Q) and Science (Y) GE requirements.

ENVS 115 - Energy and Environment (4 Credit Hours)

Energy, Environment and Climate is an introductory course that provides a comprehensive overview of the current energy systems that are in use today; including fossil, nuclear and renewable. The course introduces the basic scientific and physical concepts associated with the origins, the use and the environmental/climate impact of these energy systems. Emphasis is placed on real world examples through the introduction of several related case studies including oil exploration and hydrofracking. Course may fulfill introductory science for ENVS Natural Science requirement, and fulfills Quantitative Reasoning (Q) GE requirement.

ENVS 190 - Special Topics Environmental Studies (4 Credit Hours)

ENVS 199 - Topics in Environmental Science (1-4 Credit Hours)

A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.

ENVS 200 - Environmental Analysis (4 Credit Hours)

In this course students will learn and practice different methods of addressing environmental questions and expressing environmental perspectives. Central themes are writing and quantitative analysis: for each of the topics and methods used, students will gain experience with a variety of professional writing styles and analytical approaches. Environmental issues will be investigated through both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and statistical analysis, along with a variety of writing styles. Students will also examine the human connection with the nonhuman world through the use of media and spatial representation. Through successful completion of this course, students will have applied a variety of methods to the analysis of environmental issues. Course fulfills Quantitative (Q) and Writing (W) GE requirements.

Prerequisite(s): ENVS 100.

ENVS 202 - Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability (4 Credit Hours)

Economic growth is traditionally perceived as the solution to the socio-economic ills of poverty, unemployment and more generally underdevelopment. However, economic growth is also accompanied by increased pressure on and, over time, deterioration of the natural environment. The objective of this course is to explore the relationship between economic growth and the natural environment. While the concept of economic growth occupies a central place in economic policy-making, we will discuss whether economic growth is compatible with the sustainable development worldview adopted by the UN and many other global and local economic actors. Sustainable development emphasizes the need to embark upon a development path that not only takes into account the environmental, social and economic needs of the present generation, but also those of future ones. Course fulfills the ENVS Social Science requirement.

Prerequisite(s): ECON 101 and 102.

Crosslisting: ECON 202.

ENVS 205 - Religion and Nature (4 Credit Hours)

An investigation of the religious value of nature in Christianity and Buddhism, particularly in America and Japan. We look at how people in these cultures have viewed the place of humanity within the world of nature, and the relationships among humanity, God and nature. Course fulfills the ENVS Humanities requirement.

Crosslisting: REL 205.

ENVS 215 - Renewable Energy Systems (4 Credit Hours)

Renewable Energy Systems provides students with a comprehensive overview of the different alternative energy systems that are in use today. The course will introduce the basic scientific and engineering concepts used in designing and analyzing different energy technologies. Some emphasis will be placed on real-world applications of such technologies through the introduction of several case studies related to the field. Course fulfills the ENVS Natural Science requirement.

Prerequisite(s): Any 100 or 200 level science course.

ENVS 220 - Approaches to Environmental Education (4 Credit Hours)

Environmental education is a broad term encompassing a large array of ideas concerned with the purpose of and approach to engagement with the physical environment that should ultimately lead to environmental stewardship. This course addresses the "what" and "how" of environmental education. Students will be exposed to the various definitions and purposes of environmental education as well as the multiple approaches used to achieve these purposes. Through readings and hands-on experiences we will explore multiple practices in the field. Finally, we will develop our own environmental education curriculum based on our experiences in the class. Course fulfills the ENVS Social Science requirement.

Crosslisting: EDUC 220.

ENVS 222 - Geographic Information Systems I (2 Credit Hours)

This course is an introduction to the concepts and uses of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with particular application to environmental issues. The course consists of laboratory exercises on GIS data structures and sources of data, on the use of specific GIS tools, and on practical applications of GIS to real-world tasks. The student will gain skills in spatial data analysis, map generation, and data presentation using ArcGIS software. After successful completion of this course, students who wish to develop advanced GIS skills may enroll in ENVS/GEOS 223.

Crosslisting: GEOS 222.

ENVS 223 - Geographic Information Systems II (2 Credit Hours)

This course is intended to give the student experience with advanced GIS applications. The focus will be on novel analyses of spatially explicit data pertaining to real-world environment issues. Completion of 222 & 223 satisfies ENVS Methods requirement.

Prerequisite(s): ENVS/GEOS 222.

Crosslisting: GEOS 223.

ENVS 225 - Environmental Psychology (4 Credit Hours)

An examination of the relationship between the environment and psychological processes. Topics examined in this course include how the character and the design of our environments can affect psychological well-being, and how certain ways in which we perceive and think can constrain our efforts to comprehend and confront environmental problems. Other topics explored are early environmental experiences and development, environmental stressors such as crowding and noise, territoriality and privacy, environmental aesthetics, cognitive maps and way-finding behavior, effects of institutional size on performance, and attitudes toward the natural environment. Course fulfills the ENVS Social Science requirement.

Prerequisite(s): PSYC 100.

Crosslisting: PSYC 225.

ENVS 230 - Ecology and Evolution (4 Credit Hours)

This course explores the fundamental concepts of ecology and evolution and integrates them in a study of the interactions between organisms and their environment and how those interactions shape the history of life on Earth. With a thorough understanding of population genetics and natural selection, this course addresses ecological questions at the level of the individual, population community and ecosystem. A common thread that binds the course is the role of deterministic and stochastic processes in shaping ecological systems and macroevolutionary patterns. Course fulfills the ENVS Natural Science requirement.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 210 and BIOL 220, or consent of instructor.

Crosslisting: BIOL 230.

ENVS 236 - Political Ecology (4 Credit Hours)

What really causes deforestation? How is a fish ‘cultural?’ Why do Americans spend so much time and money on their lawns? Should we be saving people or endangered species? Why are ecosystem services so hard to privatize? Is obesity truly just a question of consuming too many calories? These are all questions that political ecology can help us to answer. Political ecology is an interdisciplinary field that situates environmental change within broader networks of political, economic, and social relations. It differs from other environmental approaches in that it views power, material nature, everyday struggles and practices, social justice, and discourse to be critical components of human-environment interactions. In this course, we will: (a) study the theoretical foundations of political ecology, (b) evaluate some of the theses it puts forward, and (c) apply political ecology insights to contemporary environmental issues. Course fulfills the Writing (W) GE and ENVS Social Science requirement.

ENVS 240 - Environmental Politics and Decision Making (4 Credit Hours)

This course gives students a chance to explore the realm of proactive change in the environmental arena. It combines the theories of policy, the tools of problem solving, and the practice of dealing with environmental challenges in the real world of American government. The premise of the course is this: if you want to improve the state of the planet, you have to propose a solution. To make a solution happen, you should understand the process of getting an idea through the decision-making system. Effecting change requires a background in the system(s) that make things happen, whether you ultimately want to work within the system or outside it. This course is divided into two main components: an overview and implementation of problem solving techniques, and an in-depth examination of the U.S. Congress' role in environmental policy formation. The latter section culminates in a "Moot Congress" undertaken by students at the end of the semester. Not recommended for first year students. Course fulfills the Writing (W) GE requirement and the ENVS Social Science requirement.

Prerequisite(s): ENVS 100.

ENVS 256 - Farmscape: Visual Immersion in the Food System (4 Credit Hours)

Every human being has an intimate relationship with food, often with deep emotional facets. Yet we in the U.S. know very little about the food system that sustains us – it is a mysterious and often invisible set of processes, organizations, and people. This remarkably complex web of inputs, labor, machinery, laws, subsidies, mergers, and so many other components is one that we take largely for granted. This class seeks to align that reality with another: we are an intensely visual species. A critical part of our existence that we experience through all of our senses is one we fail to comprehend through our primary sense. And we have this occasion to use sight in a formalized way – photography – to tell new stories, and to bring an artistic sensibility to our understanding of food, and perhaps ourselves. Through imagery, writing, and the curatorial process of exhibiting our work in a public setting, we have a truly unique opportunity. Our immersion in these critical issues can bring full circle the understanding we gain through many eyes to enhance awareness in other people about the ways in which our food system connects us all together. Course fulfills the ENVS Humanities/Arts requirement.

ENVS 260 - Environmental Philosophy (4 Credit Hours)

This course investigates the question of our ethical relations and responsibility to objects and systems in the natural world, including animals, other living beings, non-living entities, ecosystems, and "nature" as a whole. It also asks about nature as such: what nature is, what the place in it is of humans, the role of human action in transforming nature, etc. The question of the relation of the natural to the social will receive special attention. Course fulfills the ENVS Humanities/Arts requirement.

Prerequisite(s): One previous course in Philosophy or Environmental Studies or consent of instructor.

Crosslisting: PHIL 260.

ENVS 262 - Environmental Dispute Resolution (4 Credit Hours)

An in-depth investigation of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as an improved means to affect change in environmental conflict. Both an intellectual and hands-on introduction to the theory and practice of ADR, relying on research into theoretical aspects of conflict, attendance at both conventional litigatory and ADR hearings, and actual participation in ADR exercises. Fulfills University's Oral Communication (R) general education requirement. Course fulfills the ENVS Social Science requirement.

ENVS 263 - World Views: Spatial Imagination in East Asia (4 Credit Hours)

This course engages the question: ‘How are images used to imagine our place in the world?’ Students are invited to study fascinating practices of spatial image-making in East Asia from the inside out, by exploring these world-views from the perspective of their makers. You will be asked to pay special attention to how social and economic power structures inflect these representations: to envision and decode spatial imagery as a site of imagination, control and resistance. Artists and patrons in China, Japan, and Korea have for centuries produced elaborate maps and landscape imagery, photographs and film to imagine the world in a variety of ways. This course invites you to approach modern and contemporary representations of space in East Asia both in theoretically and historically informed ways. In the first part of the course, students build a frame of reference for their analysis of post-war case studies, by reading core texts in spatial theory, and exploring important visual representations of space from pre-modern East Asia. In the second part of the course, students apply these theoretical and historical approaches to select cases that exemplify more recent struggles over space and its imagination in East Asia. Course fulfills the ENVS Humanities/Arts requirement.

Crosslisting: AHVC 263.

ENVS 265 - Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, Environmental Rights (4 Credit Hours)

This course explores two ongoing global debates among academics, activists and policy-makers within the concept of human rights: (1) To what extent should human rights be limited to a narrow range of clearly defined individual rights, and to what extent should they be expanded to cover a larger range of individual and collective rights? (2) Are indigenous communities necessarily better environmental stewards, and so does the extension of rights to these communities lead to better environmental protection? Course fulfills the ENVS Social Science requirement.

ENVS 274 - Ecosystem Management (4 Credit Hours)

Many of Earth's ecosystems are stressed and degraded as a result of human activities. Ecosystem management is the process of evaluating the biotic and abiotic features of ecosystems and stressors and manipulating those features toward a defined goal, such as conservation or restoration. In this course, students will apply aspects of systems ecology to management scenarios in particularly stressed ecosystems. Students will gain an understanding of systems ecology and will learn how ecological communities function within ecosystems and landscapes. After establishing this foundation, students will lead the exploration of some of our planet's greatest ecological systems. Lab sessions will give the students an opportunity to construct a computer-based simulation of an ecosystem and to apply ecological modeling as a management tool in both lab and field settings. Course fulfills the ENVS Natural Science requirement.

Prerequisite(s): Any 100 or 200 level science course.

ENVS 284 - Environmental Planning and Design (4 Credit Hours)

This course examines a variety of local environmental planning processes and issues, focusing primarily on the communities surrounding Denison (Granville, Licking County), as well as the theories, concepts and tools of design, both at a community level and for individual buildings. Particular attention will be paid to controversial models of architecture and planning in order to understand some of the negative implications of conventional approaches. Field trips, group exercises, research and project competitions will form the basis for course evaluation. Course fulfills the ENVS Social Science requirement.

ENVS 290 - Special Topics in Environmental Studies (4 Credit Hours)

This course provides students with an opportunity to investigate particular environmental issues from diverse perspectives within the discipline. Students may enroll in this course more than once. Courses may fulfill different ENVS requirements depending on content; please consult course pre-registration materials for the particular semester when offered.

ENVS 291 - Nature and the Literary Imagination (4 Credit Hours)

A study of humanity's relationship with and shifting conceptions of the nonhuman world. Reading selections vary, but generally include past and contemporary writers who reflect different ethnic and regional outlooks and who work in various modes, including literature, memoir, natural history and science. Course fulfills the ENVS Humanities/Arts requirement.

Crosslisting: ENGL 291.

ENVS 301 - Environmental Practicum (4 Credit Hours)

This keystone course is primarily for ENVS majors; minors are welcome. This course provides the opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience working on real-world environmental problems. As a group, students work in an intensive format with a real "client" and real deadlines to research a problem, assess options, recommend solutions, and evaluate outcomes. Examples of projects include energy and water conservation, local land use planning, wetlands managements, reuse/recycling programs, agriculture preservation, and environmental education. Should be taken during the junior year. Core course in the major.

Prerequisite(s): ENVS 200; ENVS major or minor.

ENVS 310 - Wetland Ecology (4 Credit Hours)

This course is a comprehensive study of wetland ecology, management, and policy. The main emphasis is on biological, chemical, and physical aspects of major wetland ecosystems found in North America. The course also deals with valuation, classification, and delineation of wetlands. A significant portion of the course focuses on local and regional wetland ecosystems: their history, ecology, and current status. Labs will be field-based explorations of the biology, chemistry, and ecology of these regional wetlands. Course fulfills the Quantitative and Natural Science (QY) general education requirements and the ENVS Natural Science requirement.

Prerequisite(s): Biology core or consent.

Crosslisting: BIOL 310.

ENVS 328 - Politics of the Global Environment (4 Credit Hours)

This course is about the theoretical, political, and practical problems associated with environmental action. Course materials analyze various theoretical perspectives on the relationship between humans and nature, and they illustrate how different ethics lead to widely different prescriptions for personal and political action. Course materials also offer examples of how environmental problems have in fact been addressed or not by governmental, non-governmental, and international institutions. This is not a course on the physical processes of environmental problems, but rather it emphasizes the political, economic, and theoretical contexts within which efforts are made to act on environmental threats. No prior knowledge of environmental or political science is required. However, students should be prepared to read and interpret detailed social science texts, to formulate and articulate cogent arguments, and to conduct independent research. Course fulfills the ENVS Social Science requirement.

Crosslisting: POSC 328.

ENVS 334 - Sustainable Agriculture (4 Credit Hours)

This course will expose students to the purposes and methods associated with sustainable agriculture. We will do this through readings, discussion and actual experience on local and sustainable farms. Throughout the semester we will reflect on the social, economic and environmental aspects associated with sustainable agriculture as well as actual practices affiliated with the modern sustainable agriculture movement. Students must be prepared to commit to working on farms each week as part of the lab requirement of this course. Course fulfills the Writing (W) GE, and the ENVS Social Science requirement.

ENVS 361 - Directed Study (1-4 Credit Hours)

ENVS 362 - Directed Study (1-4 Credit Hours)

ENVS 363 - Independent Study (1-4 Credit Hours)

ENVS 364 - Independent Study (1-4 Credit Hours)

ENVS 391 - Nature's Nation (4 Credit Hours)

This course explores how a range of nineteenth-century American authors represented the natural world, examining how those representations of nature are informed by gender, class, and racial identities and how they become implicated in discourses of nationalism and imperialism. Course fulfills the ENVS Humanities/Arts requirement.

Crosslisting: ENGL 391.

ENVS 399 - Advanced Topics in Environmental Studies (1-4 Credit Hours)

A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.

ENVS 401 - Environmental Senior Project (4 Credit Hours)

This course is required for ENVS majors with senior standing unless they are pursuing senior research (ENVS 451/452 or equivalent). This course provides an integrating and culminating experience for students, individually or in small groups, to engage with an environmental issue, either by conducting research related to this issue or by taking action on it in a way that is informed by their academic understanding. The primary objective is for each student to integrate their study of environmental issues at Denison and to develop skills in critically analyzing environmental problems and promoting environmental change. A primary focus is on writing: crafting a project proposal, communicating objectives and cogent arguments, reviewing and incorporating relevant literature, analyzing results and synthesizing conclusions. Students will have the opportunity to hone a major written work through several stages and to provide and receive peer review on written work. Course fulfills the Writing (W) GE.

Prerequisite(s): ENVS core and ENVS 301, or consent of instructor.

ENVS 427 - Environmental Economics (4 Credit Hours)

This course provides an examination of various economic issues facing business and government regarding the use of natural resources and the management of environmental quality. Students will develop an understanding of both the economic nature of environmental problems and the economic tools necessary to explore and devise potential policy solutions for environmental problems. In addition, students will examine the institutional framework within which environmental problems exist in order to understand those factors which may mitigate against economic solutions. Course fulfills the ENVS Social Science requirement.

Prerequisite(s): ECON 302.

Crosslisting: ECON 427.

ENVS 451 - Senior Research (4 Credit Hours)

ENVS 452 - Senior Research (4 Credit Hours)

Senior. ENVS 452 is the continuation of ENVS 451; see information above.