Given the wide variety of potential environmental careers and opportunities for our majors, the department strives to offer a meaningful foundation of study within a core set of courses and upper-division electives that seek to fulfill the following learning goals:
- To provide a problem based curriculum that stresses an interdisciplinary approach - such that students learn to employ perspectives and methods of analysis from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities in the study of complex real world environmental issues.
- To provide students with critical thinking skills, drawing from both quantitative and qualitative forms of analysis, that allow them to understand, analyze and articulate conclusions about real environmental problems.
- To make linkages between theory and practice: such that students understand the interconnections between abstract theorizations of environmental dynamics - whether ecological, political, economic, or ideological - and how these are reflected 'on the ground' in case studies and field sites.
- To provide meaningful hands-on field experiences that allow student to learn by doing as they conduct field experiments, collect data, and meet with the social actors engaged in environmental management and policy making decisions.
- To develop leadership skills and learn how to work collaboratively with both faculty and student peers in the design and implementation of research projects and the presentation of final results.
- To learn how to communicate effectively in a variety of forms and formats as students present research findings in writing (e.g., research papers, policy briefs, lab reports, personal journals, etc.) and oral presentation (independent and group) and o (via independent or group presentations, poster
- To provide opportunities for faculty-student research in which students experience the research process including the presentation and potential co-authored publications of new knowledge in peer reviewed academic outlets.
Learning Goals for Non-Majors
Learning goals for non-majors reflect our departmental commitment to cultivating an understanding and appreciation of the complex and often counter-intuitive nature of current environmental problems. To this end, the department offers a number of courses for non-ES majors that fulfill the natural science without a lab learning goal in the Gettysburg Curriculum. Depending on the particular class, these service courses are designed to provide students with the following:
- An understanding of the perspectives, assumptions and methods of study drawn from the natural sciences (for our courses dealing primarily with natural science topics)
- Skills in critical thinking and problem solving using logic and quantitative reasoning
- An introduction to and employment of an interdisciplinary learning approach -- including the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities - as applied to the study of environmental problems.
- An understanding of the linkages between the natural sciences, technologies and their implications in modern society.
- Continued development of written and oral communication skills.
- An appreciation for the complexity and methods employed in the field of environmental science.