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Environmental Studies course catalog


MATTHEW FOCKLER, Assistant Professor (Geography & Environmental Studies)
B.A., M.S., Uiversity of Nevada; Ph.D., Montana State

JASON KOONTZ, Associate Professor (Biology), Co-Chair
B.S., Iowa State; M.S., Miami University (Ohio); Ph.D., Washington State

RAFAEL MEDINA, Assistant Professor (Biology & Environmental Studies)
B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

MICHAEL REISNER, Assistant Professor, (Environmental Studies), Co-Chair, Director of Upper Mississippi Studies Center
B.S., Montana State; J.D., Ph.D., Oregon State

OLIVIA WILLIAMS, Assistant Professor (Environmental Studies)
B.S., Ph.D. Florida State University


The world faces pressing environmental, social, and economic sustainability challenges. Augustana College’s Environmental Studies Program equips students with the tools they need to understand and solve these challenges.

  • We believe that sustainability demands improving human well-being for present and future generations while ensuring the resilience of the Earth’s ecosystems
  • We believe that sustainable stewardship of social-ecological systems requires that such systems continue to provide the ecosystem services necessary to ensure human and community well-being of present and future generations.
  • We believe that solving complex sustainability challenges requires using an interdisciplinary framework to evaluate interactions between the human and environmental dimensions of social-ecological systems.
  • We believe that students should be capable of addressing complex, context-dependent problems that involve contested values, complex systems, and high uncertainty
  • We believe that students should solve problems practically, contextually, and cooperatively in ways that serve society’s common interests
  • We believe that the knowledge, skills, and values consistent with this vision are best taught by bringing students, to the degree possible in each course, into the real world of complex environmental problem solving.

Consistent with this vision, our program emphasizes the process of synthesis, integration, and analysis across disciplines to create new knowledge in the form of practical, effective solutions to sustainability challenges.

Graduates of the program will be able to make a substantial contribution towards solving complex, pressing problems within the context of helping a community address a sustainability challenge. Students will be capable of using an interdisciplinary, problem-based, solution-oriented perspective that integrates a diverse array of disciplinary knowledge, perspectives, methods, and skills Students will be able to collaborate with academic colleagues, disciplinary professionals, and a diverse array of stakeholders to formulate alternative solutions to such problems.  Students will construct knowledge and collectively apply this constructed knowledge, perspectives, methods, and skills within the context of real world sustainability problem solving.

MAJOR IN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES. 35 credits, distributed among Core Courses (20 credits) and Supporting Courses (15 credits).

MINOR IN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES. 26 credits, distributed among Core Courses (11 credits; ENVR 100, 200, 201, 202, and 380) and Supporting Courses (15 credits).

Core courses (20 credits)

ENVR 100 — 3 credits

ENVR 200, ENVR 201, and ENVR 202 — 5 credits

ENVR 380 — 3 credits

ENVR 300, ENVR 401, and ENVR 402 — 5 credits

ENVR 451, ENVR 452 — 4 credits

Supporting Courses (15 credits)

6 credits: BIOL-200 (PN) General Zoology or BIOL-220 General Botany (3 credits); and BIOL-180 (PN) Fundamentals of Ecology or BIOL-380 General Ecology (3 credits)

3 credits: GEOG-101 (PN) Global Weather and Climate Systems or GEOG-102 (PN) Landforms and Landscapes or GEOG-103 (PN) Water and Land Resources or GEOG-104 (PN) Natural Hazards & Soc or GEOL-101 (PN) Physical Geology or GEOL-105 (PN) Physical Geology in Rocky Mountains or GEOL-115 (PN) Environmental Geology or GEOL-116 (PN) Energy Resources and the Environment or CHEM 121 (PN), General Chemistry I

3 credits: GEOG-121 (PS,G) Geography of the Global Economy or GEOG 210 (PS,G) Cultural Geography or GEOG 325 (PS) Urban Design and Sustainable Cities or ANTH-100 (PS,G) Intro to Anthropology or SOC-100 (PS,D) Introduction to Sociology or RELG-325 (PH) Environmental Ethics or POLS-336 (PS) Politics of Environmental Policy

3 credits: ENGL-315 Environmental Literature or GEOG-305 Water Resources Management or GEOG-306 Soil Science or GEOG-307 Environmental Conservation and Development or GEOG-308 Land Resources Management or GEOG-373 Geographic Info Systems & Remote Sensing or GEOG-374 Intro to GIS with Soc Sci & Bus Appl or GEOG-473 Urban and Regional Planning or GEOG-475 Advanced GIS or ECON-221 Environmental Economics & Policy

As an alternative to completing the Supporting Courses, students may design their own Program of Study that must consist of at least 15 credits.  The Program of Study must be approved by the Environmental Studies Advisory Committee prior to the student’s completion of ENVR 200.

Integrative Studies

Augustana students

SWLI kicks off second year of lead project

Representatives from Augustana College, Scott County and Genesis Health System gathered Thursday to congratulate more than 100 Augustana students on their work to address lead contamination in Scott County, and kick off the second year of the project.

Rebecca Kelly

Summer in the Cities: Interns on the job

From accountants to artists, Augustana students found professional internships in the Quad Cities this summer.

Morris '16 on River Action

Laura Morris '16 will give a presentation on the work of River Action in Scott County.  She is River Action's natural resources and education program manager.

Environmental Film Fest

The 13th annual Environmental Film Fest will show a selection of short films and three full-length features, including "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" with former Vice President Al Gore.