MEM Sustainable & Resilient Communities Track

SRC Photo 6

The Sustainable and Resilient Communities track prepares students for careers in: 

  • Environmental nonprofit development
  • Sustainability consulting and coordinating (businesses, towns, universities)
  • Sustainable and resilient community advocacy
  • Environmental organization management

The Sustainable and Resilient Communities track focuses on the emerging interdisciplinary study of “sustainability.” This field examines and experiments with best practices in balancing ecological, economic, and social values for developing communities and socio-economic systems.  The discipline raises tough questions about how to enhance the ability of future generations to continue a way of life in a place, without unjustly contradicting the ability of other cultures and species to do the same, locally and globally. The ecological concept of resilience, the ability of a system to absorb disturbance and maintain function, has complicated and strengthened sustainability studies. 

Students examine how human and ecological communities adapt, and perhaps thrive, in the face of the possible disturbances of climate change, economic boom and bust cycles, unsustainable energy or food systems, and water scarcity. This track provides the graduate-level content and theoretical understanding of sustainability studies, applying systems thinking and resilience theories to the field in a way that is unique to Western’s liberal arts traditions and the learning laboratories of the Rockies. Moreover, this track delivers entrepreneurial management and organizational skills that 21st Century environmental managers need in order to build resilient communities, businesses or organizations from diverse stakeholder groups.  The Sustainable and Resilient Communities is a 46-credit track, sharing the 20-credit Core with the Integrative Land Management track.   Sustainable and Resilient Communities students are also required to take four courses (12 credits) within their track. All students, across both tracks, must complete a Master’s Project and Portfolio in the second year.

M.E.M. track in Sustainable and Resilient Communities:

  1. Complete 20-credit Core
  2. ENVS 616 Environmental Organization Development and Management (3 credit)
  3. Choose three (9 credits total) ENVS 620 Studies in Sustainable and Resilient Communities (3 credit) courses. Options include such course titles as (samples evolve, depending on job, faculty and student interests):
    • Triple-Bottom-Line Management Strategies
    • Community-Based Climate Management
    • Sustainable Food Systems
    • Sustainable Energy Futures
    • Resilience - Frameworks, Theories, and Movements
    • Sustainable Economic Development
    • Global Case Studies in Sustainability
  4. Complete Master’s Project and Portfolio (14 credits)

Courses

 ENVS 601 - INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (5 credits)

Introduction to environmental management.  An introduction to the MEM program, to bioregional and resilient approaches to environmental management, and to the environmental stakeholders, problems, solutions, and learning laboratories of the Gunnison Valley. Requires two-week residency in Gunnison during culmination of course. Prerequisites: Admission to the MEM Program. 

 ENVS 605 - SCIENCE OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

Provides a rigorous and hands-on overview of the principles and methods of environmental science. Students gain practical experience with a range of laboratory, field, and analytical approaches, with a focus on current environmental research in the Gunnison Basin. Topics include water quality, riparian condition, rangeland monitoring, forest health, threatened and endangered species, air quality, conservation, and ecological restoration. Students develop skills in scientific literature searches, writing monitoring protocols, ensuring quality data collection, statistical analysis, interpretation of results, written and oral communication, and peer review. Prerequisites: ENVS 601.

 ENVS 608 - ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS AND POLICY (3 credits)

Analysis of the key interactions between environmental policy and management, focusing on environmental decision-making within an array of policy contexts. Emphasis is on important federal policies such as the Clean Water Act and NEPA, with additional attention to relevant state and local policies. Prerequisites: ENVS 601. 

 ENVS 611 - INTEGRATIVE SKILLS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

Course focuses on developing and managing environmental projects and organizations.  Students develop a thorough understanding of integrative assessment, adaptive  management, and triple bottom line strategies. Students apply these approaches to the  development of professional skills such as organizational development, conflict management, and environmental communication. Prerequisites: ENVS 601. 

 ENVS 612 - QUANTITATIVE SKILLS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An overview of a range of quantitative analytical methods and statistical approaches essential to environmental management careers in both Integrative Land Management and Sustainable and Resilient Communities. Topics covered include descriptive and inferential statistics, geographic information systems, cost-benefit analysis, and graphic presentation of results. Course empowers students to organize, analyze, and graphically present environmental data. Prerequisites: ENVS 601 and an undergraduate-level course in statistics.

 ENVS 615 - SCIENCE OF CLIMATE MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION (3 credits)

An investigation of the science of climate change, with an emphasis on mitigation and adaptation strategies for careers in environmental management. Students will develop an understanding of the principles of atmospheric and earth sciences that form the scientific basis of climate change and survey the large body of evidence of anthropogenic warming. Topics include greenhouse gas emissions, climate forcings and feedbacks, observed and projected climate changes, effects on ecological and human systems, and the opportunities and challenges of a diverse suite of strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation at the local, regional, and planetary scale. Prerequisites: ENVS 605; two undergraduate courses in natural or environmental sciences, one of which must be upper-level with lab/field component. 

 ENVS 616 - ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT AND MGMT (3 credits)

Environmental Organization Development and Management - 

An introduction to developing and managing environmental organizations, including  managing change within and beyond organizations to maximize the effectiveness of  environmental solutions. Course discusses competitively advantageous strategies and practices organizations adopt to write successful grants, grow revenues, cut costs, and  redesign projects and processes. Management examples will include sustainable  innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship in private, government, and nonprofit  sectors from around the world. Students learn leadership skills that foster a culture of  innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship within an organization, utilizing principles  from a variety of thinking methods including systems, design, and group thinking.  Prerequisites: ENVS 605; ENVS 608; ENVS 611; ENVS 612. 

 ENVS 620 - STUDIES IN SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES (3 credits)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to cultivating sustainable and resilient communities. Topics include subjects such as Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Sustainable Food Systems, Sustainable Energy Futures, Sustainable Economic Development, Movements in Community Resilience, and Frameworks in Sustainability. This course is repeatable, since students are required to take this course three times, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 616. 

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Coldharbour Chair in Environment & Sustainability
Ph.D., Iowa State University, B.A., Hope College
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 109
Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability, and Sustainable & Resilient Communities MEM Coordinator
BS, University of Colorado Denver, MBA, University of Houston, PhD, University of Colorado Denver
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 104
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.A., James Madison University, M.S. University of Colorado Boulder, Ph.D. (ABD) Environmental Studies University of Colorado Boulder
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Professor and Director of the Master of Environmental Management Program; Professor of Env Sustainability & Philosophy; Director, Headwaters Project
B.A., Western State College of Colorado; , M.A., St. John's College; , Ph.D., Washington State University.
Phone: (970) 943-3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 107