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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.

Grade Point Average Notation: All courses listed in the catalog as required courses for any major and/or minor, including those courses outside of the department or with a different subject coding, are considered part of the major and will count in the grade point average. Some departments may have additional grade requirements for the courses offered within their department. Recommended supporting courses that are optional and not required may also count in the major depending on the program. For more information see your department chair or the degree requirements for Bachelor of Arts and information on Majors/Minors.

Integrative Studies

Morgan Anderson

My Second Home on the River

Sophomore Morgan Anderson talks about why she decided to major in environmental studies and geography in an interview for WVIK Radio's "River Way Stories."

Sierra Kindley

My Augustana Story: Sierra Kindley

When Sierra Kindley '18 was looking at colleges, she thought she wanted to attend a bigger school.  After visiting Augustana, she realized what she found was unlike what she had seen anywhere else.

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.

Riverine Walks: Sylvan Island

Dr. Norm Moline, Augustana professor emeritus of geography, will offer a Riverine Walk: "Sylvan Island Area: History, Recreation, and Sustainability."

Riverine Walks: Sylvan Island

Dr. Norm Moline, Augustana professor emeritus of geography, will offer a Riverine Walk: "Sylvan Island Area: History, Recreation, and Sustainability."

Channel Cat Talks: Landscape Mosaic

Dr. Norm Moline, Augustana emeritus professor of geography, and Dr. Reuben Heine, Augustana associate professor of geography, will present the Channel Cat Talk "Landscape Mosaic."