Sustainable & Resilient Communities Track

Careers

Career paths our Graduates have taken

  • Agricultural Program Specialist
  • Biological Technician
  • Business Owner/Manager
  • Climate & Communities Coordinator
  • Conservation Planner
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Steward
  • Executive Director
  • Extension Agent
  • Farmer
  • Field Supervisor
  • Food Safety & Sustainability Assistant
  • Forestry Technician
  • Garden Educator
  • GIS Specialist

  • Grants Manager
  • Guide
  • K-12 Teacher/University Faculty
  • Land Specialist
  • Landman
  • Natural Resources Specialist
  • Outdoor Education Coordinator
  • Outreach Coordinator
  • Park Ranger
  • Ph.D. Student
  • Planner
  • Planning Technician
  • Project Manager
  • Range Technician

  • Ranger
  • Research Director
  • Restoration Coordinator
  • Scientist/Researcher
  • Soil Conservationist
  • Stewardship Director
  • Sustainability Planner
  • Timber Stand Technician
  • Vegetation Specialist
  • Water Quality Assistant
  • Watershed Technician
  • Weed Coordinator
  • Wilderness Ranger
  • Wildlife Technician

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Melanie  Armstrong, Ph.D.  headshot
Assistant Professor & Public Lands Coordinator
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 109
D. Scott Borden, Ph.D. headshot
Director, Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2294
Office Location: Kelley Hall 108
Abel Chávez, Ph.D. headshot
Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Environment & Sustainability
Phone: 970.943.2017
Office Location: Kelley 104, Quigley 114
Kate Clark, Ph.D. headshot
Director of Undergraduate Environment & Sustainability Program; Graduate Faculty in Master in Environmental Management programs, Environment & Sustainability and Sociology programs
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 146
Jonathan Coop, Ph.D. headshot
Associate Professor
Phone: 970.943.2565
Office Location: Kelley Hall 105
Luke  Danielson headshot
Clark Sustainable Development Chair in Environment and Sustainability
Phone: 303.912.0855
Office Location: Kelley 206
Jennie DeMarco, Ph.D. headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
Phone: 970.943.2013
Office Location: Leslie J. Savage Library 303
Dave Ellerbroek, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Faculty for Sustainability Transitions
Phone:
Office Location:
Suzanne Ewy, JD headshot
Coldharbour Chair in Environment & Sustainability, Executive Director, Coldharbour Institute
Phone: 970.943.2023
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Karen Hausdoerffer, MFA headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
Phone: 970.943.3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
John C. Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.  headshot
Dean, School of Environment & Sustainability
Phone: 970.943.3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
Salif P. Mahamane, M.S. headshot
Assistant Professor of Psychology; Graduate Faculty, MEM
Phone: 970.943.7037
Office Location: Kelley Hall 206
Taryn Mead, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Faculty for the School of Environment & Sustainability and Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.3954
Office Location: Kelley Hall 108
Brooke Moran, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Recreation & Outdoor Education for MEM Graduate Program, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2118
Office Location: Wright Gym 223
Jeff Sellen, Ph.D.  headshot
Professor of Environment & Sustainability, Director of Colorado Water Workshop
Phone: 970.943.3162
Office Location: Kelley Hall 107
Sally Thode headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Jessica Young, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Environment & Sustainability, Master in Environmental Management and Master of Science in Ecology
Phone: 970.765.8488
Office Location: Kelley Hall 143

Courses

For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

 ENVS 601 - INTRO TO ENVIRONMTL MGMT (5 cred.)

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 - Science of Environment Management (3 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 620 - STUDYIN: MKT SOC CAUSES (3 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 - STUDYIN: STRATEGIC ALLIANCES (3 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 - NEPA (3 cred.)

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 cred.)

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 690 - MEM PROJECT DEVELOPMENT (5 cred.)

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

More than 140 nonprofit partners and our ICELab, a center for incubating new businesses, give you the opportunities to realize your dreams.

The Program

Through its action-oriented approach to learning, the Sustainable & Resilient Communities (SRC) track prepares students to work in renewable energy, food justice, nonprofit and for-profit management, climate action planning, sustainability consulting, alternative building, environmental education and more. As a student in the Sustainable & Resilient Communities track, you will be able to partner with our faculty in real-world and complex projects which can enhance your learning and leadership opportunities. Listed below are only a small sample of the organizations and projects students could work with. Our faculty can help you identify and connect with engaging opportunities tailor-made to your interests. 

What Skills Will I Acquire?

With an MEM degree, you will be able to scope, manage and execute a diverse set of environmental projects at various scales. Your extensive field training and applied experiences through the 600-hour master’s project—which can be completed anywhere in the world—will ensure your learning of the hard and soft skills most relevant for facilitating action-oriented projects globally, including:

  • Project and organizational management
  • The ability to understand and assess community infrastructure systems
  • Cultural dexterity
  • Climate action planning
  • Financial analysis
  • Environmental and social entrepreneurship
  • Life-cycle assessment

Quick Facts

  • More than 85 percent of graduates obtain environmental management careers.
  • Students gain on-the-ground and applied experience during our block scheduling.
  • Course schedules allow attendance of working professionals.
  • Our 8:1 student-mentor ratio provides personalized attention for course, project and career success.

Opportunities

There are many opportunities to work with faculty on projects around Western’s campus and in the Gunnison community, including:

  • Coldharbour Institute: Developing partnerships that empower international communities to address climate change on our 334-acre ranch site.
  • CS2I Lab: Incubating solutions to real-world problems for real partners.
  • Earth Tub: Diverting and composting food waste at Western to use at local farms.
  • Organics Guild: Growing and distributing local food to the community through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
  • Renewable Energy: Promoting and maintaining local renewable energy programs on Western’s campus, including solar and wind efforts.
  • Sustainability Action Committee: Working to strengthen partnerships between Western and local stakeholders in a variety of sustainability initiatives.
  • Sustainability Marketing: Raising public awareness and inspiring action by promoting socially responsible purchasing and changes in consumptive behaviors. 

Apply to MEM

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Dave Ellerbroek
Graduate Faculty for Sustainability Transitions

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