Master in Environmental Management (MEM)

Using the ecological diversity, natural resource wealth and emerging sustainable community movements of the Colorado Rockies as its central classroom, Western’s MEM offers interdisciplinary training for building environmental and community resilience in three tracks: Integrative and Public Land ManagementSustainable and Resilient Communities, and Global Sustainability. We are different from your typical master's program, offering a masters project and portfolio tailored to your environmental career vision, a distance exception for bringing in professional and global perspectives, and a commitment to experiential education through our unique block schedule allowing you to focus on one or two courses at a time.


 

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  1. Get more information about the program.
  2. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
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Profiles

Marissa, out in the backcountry in winter, smiles at the camera
"I have been fortunate to gain the experience to lead different field crews, work in many different ecosystems and interact with a lot of different endangered species."
Atop a mountain, Andres stand in Western gear with his skis strapped to his backpack.
“The program’s uniqueness, affordability and the area’s recreational opportunities drew me to Gunnison.  I would do it all over again if I could.”
Francis smiles
“It is a skills-based master’s, which pushes you to learn theory and put those lessons into action.”
The MEM program has allowed me to see the world through a lens of resilience, while providing me the skills to tackle the world’s toughest environmental challenges. I would not be where I was today - working in advocacy and policy - without the adaptive management and systems thinking approaches the program instilled.
In a wave of ‘new environmentalism’ the MEM experience challenged me to transform data into environmental action and has advanced me to research opportunities in sustainable transport with the US EPA
The hands-on project experience of the SRC equipped me with a skill-set for competitive placement during my career search.
Stewardship Manager for the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust; Biogeochemistry technician, Colorado State Forest Service; Volunteer Farmer for WWOOF​Article published by Sky Hi Daily News 
Explore the ways in which the rural south's reclamation of the "Carver Way of Life" may lead to significant increase in the overall health and wealth of the region. Her work has been written about in Yes Magazine.
“I recommend this program for anyone who wants to grow professionally and that wants more than to go through the motions of grad school, but wants to be well-equipped life after school. You have to have the right skill set, the right mentality, an ‘I can do it’ spirit to be able to be competitive out there. That’s what the program gives you.” Read More 
Samm Rowland
“I value being a part of a community that emphasizes creative, out-of-the-box approaches to environmental problems without seeing limits to what we can accomplish.” 
Mary Young
“It has helped me bridge the gap between the science of environmental management and social approaches.”
Stephanie Aubert
"As a student in the MEM program, I am gaining a holistic perspective of Environmental Management and adopting skills that are changing the way I look at the world. I am enjoying all of the opportunities that allow me to put my new knowledge into practice."
John Gioia
“The MEM provides an engaging academic experience and challenges students to make connections between coursework and applied environmental problem solving.  I am looking forward to connecting our classroom experiences focused on climate change adaptation and social-ecological systems to my master's project.”
Erin Griffin
"I am so impressed with how the MEM program is able bridge the gap between our prior experiences and the direction we want our careers to take as environmental managers."

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 ENVS 601 - INTRO TO ENVIRONMTL MGMT (5 credits)

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.

 ENVS 605 - SCIENC OF ENVIRONMENTAL MGMT (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, databasing, statistical analysis, interpretation of results, written and oral communication, and peer review. Prerequisites: ENVS 601.

 ENVS 608 - ENVIRONMENTL POLITICS 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 - INTEGR SKILLS IN ENVIRNMT MGMT (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 611 - INTEGR SKLS IN ENV MGMT DISCUS (0 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 - QUANT SKILLS IN ENVIRMTAL MGMT (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, databasing, geographic information systems, and graphic presentation of results. Course empowers students to organize, analyze, and graphically present environmental data. Prerequisite: ENVS 601.

 ENVS 615 - SCI OF CLMTE MITAGTN ADAPTAT (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. Prerequisite: ENVS 605.

 ENVS 616 - ENVIR ORG DEVELP AND MANAGMENT (3 credits)

An introduction to developing organizations at the nexus of economic, social, and natural systems, and to the key skills necessary to succeed in this complex and highly competitive environment. Course discusses competitively advantageous strategies and practices organizations adopt to grow revenues, cut costs, improve market share, enhance brands, and redesign products and processes toward positive environmental and social impacts. Course examples will include sustainable innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship from around the world. Students learn to identify the best opportunities, generate innovative non-profit and for-profit business models, frame and reframe problems, produce creative solutions, and generate 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 617 - GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY (3 credits)

An exploration of how international governments, NGOs, and other entities join to move the world toward a more sustainable future. Addresses contemporary topics such as industrial ecology, international natural resource management, sustainable development, and other relevant areas of study. Students develop skills in accessing, assessing, and applying social, economic and environmental data and practices to global issues. Prerequisites: ENVS 605; ENVS 608; and ENVS 611.

 ENVS 618 - PUBLIC LANDS MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An exploration of the current and traditional approaches to public land and resourcemanagement. A regional focus on the Western U.S. is integrated with comparativeexamples from other regions and countries to enhance and broaden student perspectives. Course examines the history and future management implications of public lands agencies and policies, such as the National Parks, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, NEPA and multi-use mandates. Special focus will be given to the management skills necessary in leading public lands agencies on the regional level. Prerequisites: ENVS 605; ENVS 608; ENVS 611.

 ENVS 620 - ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP (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 or ENVS 617.

 ENVS 620 - STUDYIN: MKT SOC CAUSES (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 or ENVS 617.

 ENVS 620 - STUDYIN:BLDG PLANNING COMM (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 or ENVS 617.

 ENVS 620 - STUDYIN:SUSTAIN LEAD CONSULT (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 or ENVS 617.

 ENVS 623 - NEPA (3 credits)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to environmental management. Topics will vary from semester to semester based on faculty interest and student need. This course is repeatable, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 616 or ENVS 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 623 - STUDYIN: CONFLICT RESOLUTION (3 credits)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to environmental management. Topics will vary from semester to semester based on faculty interest and student need. This course is repeatable, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 616 or ENVS 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 623 - STUDYIN: STRATEGIC ALLIANCES (3 credits)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to environmental management. Topics will vary from semester to semester based on faculty interest and student need. This course is repeatable, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 616 or ENVS 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 623 - STUDYIN:CONSERV CORRIDORS (3 credits)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to environmental management. Topics will vary from semester to semester based on faculty interest and student need. This course is repeatable, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 616 or ENVS 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 623 - STUDYIN:GEOSPATIAL ANALYSIS (3 credits)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to environmental management. Topics will vary from semester to semester based on faculty interest and student need. This course is repeatable, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 616 or ENVS 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 625 - ECO MONITORING AND ANALYSIS (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 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 625 - NEPA (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 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 625 - STUDYIN: PLANTS AND SOILS (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 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 625 - STUDYIN:SUST RANGELAND MGMT (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 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 625 - STUDYIN:WILDERNESS MANAGEMENT (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 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 625 - TBD (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 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 690 - MEM PROJECT DEVELOPMENT (5 credits)

An introduction to the Master’s Project. Course examines environmental project design strategies, successful environmental solutions, and organizations/community stakeholder groups seeking environmental management assistance from MEM students in the Master’s Project. Students design, plan, and coordinate second year Master’s Project with faculty mentors and community stakeholders. Requires two-weeks residency in Gunnison during culmination of course. Prerequisites: MEM Core

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Dr. Melanie  Armstrong  headshot
Assistant Professor & Public Lands Coordinator
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 109
Dr. D. Scott Borden headshot
Graduate Faculty, Master in Environmental Management programs (MEM) & MBA in Outdoor Industry; Coordinator of the Sustainable and Resilient Communities MEM Track; Resilience Studies Consortium Coordinator for Western State Colorado University
B.A. Western Colorado University, M.A. Prescott College, Ph.D. University of Exeter
Phone: (970) 943-2294
Office Location: Kelley Hall 108
Dr. Abel Chávez headshot
Dean of Graduate Studies; Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability
B.S., University of Colorado Denver, M.B.A., University of Houston, Ph.D., University of Colorado Denver
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 104
Dr. Kate Clark headshot
Director of Undergraduate Environment and Sustainability Program; Graduate Faculty in Master in Environmental Management programs, Environment and Sustainability and Sociology programs
B.A., James Madison University, M.S. University of Colorado Boulder, Ph.D. Environmental Studies University of Colorado Boulder
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 146
Jonathan Coop headshot
Assistant Professor
B.A., Biology, University of California–Santa Cruz, 1995, Ph.D., Botany, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2005
Phone: (970) 943-2565
Office Location: Kelly Hall 105
Luke  Danielson headshot
Clark Sustainable Development Chair in Environment and Sustainability
JD, University of California School of Law, B.A., Antioch College
Phone: (303) 912 0855
Office Location: Kelley 206
Dr. Jennie DeMarco headshot
Lecturer in Environment and Sustainability
B.S. Northern Arizona University , Ph.D University of Florida
Phone: 970-943-2013
Office Location: LIB 303
Dr. Dave Ellerbroek headshot
Graduate Faculty for Sustainability Transistions
BA Geophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO, MS Environmental Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden CO, Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO
Phone:
Office Location:
Suzanne Ewy, JD headshot
Coldharbour Chair in Environment & Sustainability, Executive Director, Coldharbour Institute
Seattle Law School, JD, Vermont Law School, MSL, Fort Lewis College, BS
Phone: 970.943.2023
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Dr. John C. Hausdoerffer headshot
Founding Dean, School of Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Western Colorado University; , M.A., St. John's College; , Ph.D., Washington State University.
Phone: (970) 943-3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
Karen Hausdoerffer, MFA headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Stanford University, MFA, University of Idaho
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114B
Dr. Corinne Knapp headshot
Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability, and Integrative and Public Land Management MEM Coordinator
B.A., University of Colorado, M.S., Colorado State University, Ph.D., University of Alaska
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 106
Salif P. Mahamane headshot
Assistant Professor of Psychology; Graduate Faculty, MEM
B.A., Baylor University, M.S., New Mexico Highlands University, Doctoral Candidate, Utah State University
Phone: 970-943-7037
Office Location: Kelley 240
Dr. Taryn Mead headshot
Graduate Faculty
BA's, Westen State Colorado University, PhD, University of Exeter, UK
Phone:
Office Location: Kelly 108
Dr. Brooke Moran headshot
MEM Graduate Faculty, Professor of Recreation and Outdoor Education
B.S. University of New Hampshire; , M.A. Harvard Graduate School of Education;, Ph.D. University of New Hampshire.
Phone: (970) 943-2118
Office Location: Wright Gym 223
Dr. Jeff Sellen headshot
Director of Environment & Sustainability, Assistant professor of Environment & Sustainability, Director of the Colorado Water Workshop
B.A., Wartburg College; , M.A., University of Nebraska-Omaha;, Ph.D., Washington State University.
Phone: (970) 943-3162
Office Location: Kelley Hall 104
Sally Thode headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.S. Colorado State University, M.S. Colorado State University
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Dr. Jessica Young headshot
Global Coordinator, Associate Professor of Environment and Sustainability
B.A., University of California San Diego, Ph.D. Purdue University
Phone: 970-943-2195
Office Location: Library 120