Courses in Natural Resources (Division 711)

301. Ecological Issues. (lecture only: 3; lecture and discussion: 4). (NS).

This is a 3 or 4 credit non-laboratory course offered for undergraduates throughout the University. It has no prerequisites, nor is it required for admission into more advanced courses. It is designed to appeal to students with widely varying interests. The intent is to provide the student with a general background for improved understanding of the complex nature of natural resource problems and the difficulty of arriving at totally acceptable solutions through the decision-making processes characteristic of a democracy. Emphasis is placed on the necessity for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to matters concerning the allocation of natural resources and the quality of our environment. Attention will be given not only to ecological aspects, but to economic, legal, political, sociological, and psychological ramifications of the problems as well. Meeting the course objectives requires that students integrate the following components: (1) material presented in lectures, (2) reading assignments, (3) term paper or project, and (4) three exams. There will be three lectures weekly for each student. Recitation sections are scheduled once a week for every student taking the course for 4 credits. There will be a number of guest lecturers with expertise in a variety of disciplines who will share their special knowledge and insights to assist the student in developing an appreciation for the diversity and complexity of environmental concerns and help point to solutions for contemporary problems. Lectures in the early part of the term will deal with ecology. Once the basic ecological framework has been established, case studies illustrating the multifaceted nature of environmental problems will be examined. The readings are primarily from the text, although handouts will be distributed from time to time. The recitation sections will be used for discussion of issues raised in the lectures and to supplement the lectures with debates, film and slide presentations, group projects, book reports, etc. Each student will write a term paper of about ten pages or become involved with a term project dealing with a topic of the individual student's choice relating to the environment. This flexibility allows a student to dig deeply into some course topic of interest. (Nowak)


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