Environment & Sustainability

Careers

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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.

 BIOL 130 - Environmental Biology (3 cred.)

An introduction to basic biological principles as they apply to interactions between organisms and their environment. Consideration is given to biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics, and evolution with a special emphasis on human impacts on these biological systems. This course establishes a strong foundation in applied biology from a scientific perspective.

 BIOL 135 - Environmental Biology Laboratory (1 cred.)

An experimental approach in both the field and laboratory to explore fundamental biological principles including biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics and evolution. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 130.

 ECON 215 - Environmental Economics (3 cred.)

A presentation of the analytical tools and approaches used by economists to examine and assess environmental issues, conflicts, and policies. Students are asked to use market analysis, externality analysis, cost-benefit analysis, instrument choice models, and market and non-market valuation techniques to investigate issues such as air and water quality, global warming, toxic substances, wilderness designation, and sustainable development plans. Prerequisites: MATH 105, MATH 113, MATH 140, MATH 141, or MATH 151 with a minimum grade of C-.

 ENVS 100 - Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (3 cred.)

An interdisciplinary, historical analysis of the development of environmental problems, movements, and philosophies. Students apply historical lessons to critically examine sustainable solutions locally and globally.

 ENVS 200 - Writing the Environment (3 cred.)

Students develop communication skills through presentations and writing on a variety of environmental issues appropriate to a wide variety of audiences. Through environmental essays, writing for nonprofit websites, grant proposals, and other forms of environmental writing, students are introduced to a broad range of skills needed for effective communication. Focus throughout the course on the analysis of arguments and texts further develops students' analytical and communication skills. Prerequisite: ENVS 100; COM 202 is recommended.

 ENVS 301 - Science of Sustainability and Resilience (3 cred.)

A holistic inquiry into how humans might live the next chapter of our history, guided by the ecological principles of sustainability and resilience. Environmental problems and their possible solutions are analyzed critically and quantitatively; field experiences on campus and in the community involve students directly in the application of these principles. Themes include sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy, and conservation and restoration. Prerequisites: BIOL 130, BIOL 135, PHYS 125

 ENVS 350 - U.S. and Western Environmental Politics (3 cred.)

An historical and contemporary investigation of U.S. environmental policies with an applied focus on the impact of national policy on the ecosystems and cultures of the American West. Reciprocally, this course traces how pubic lands agencies, social movements, historical land uses, and diverse cultures in the West shape U.S. environmental policy. Students combine analysis and discussion of major U.S. policies, prominent theories and issues, and student-led environmental service projects to better understand environmental challenges. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ENVS 200 or COM 202; and ECON 370.

 ENVS 360 - Global Environmental Policy (3 cred.)

A critical examination of key perspectives, economic and political processes, policy actors, and institutions involved in global environmental issues. Students analyze ecological, cultural, and social dimensions of international environmental concerns and governance as they have emerged in response to increased recognition of global environmental threats, globalization, and international contributions to understanding of these issues. The focus of the course encourages students to engage and evaluate texts within the broad policy discourse on globalization, justice, and the environment. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ECON 201, ENVS 200 or SCI 202; junior standing or instructor approval.

 ENVS 370 - Water Policy and Politics (3 cred.)

Study of the history, politics and institutions related to water policy and administration with comparative reference to different regions of the United States and internationally. Attention is given to the industrial development of the East and the created water resources of the arid West as a way to understand changing social sentiments toward water and water policy. The course also examines water pollution laws and water management. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ECON 201 or ENVS 200 or SCI 202; junior standing or instructor approval.

 ENVS 375 - Seminar in Water Topics (3 cred.)

An occasional offering that may include water topics in politics and policy, ethics and philosophy, or science. Prerequisite: ENVS 200 and ENVS 301, or instructor permission.

 ENVS 390 - Environmental Monitoring (4 cred.)

A field-work based study of local (Gunnison Basin) environmental problems. Numerous monitoring techniques are implemented based on principles of biology, chemistry, and geology. The emphasis is on collaborative and integrative group projects dealing directly with real-world environmental problems. Prerequisites: ENVS 301 and one of the following: ECON 216, MATH 213, or SOC 211.

 ENVS 400 - Applied Sustainability (3 cred.)

A field-based, collaborative, problem-solving experience that addresses a current issue in environmental sustainability. Implementing frameworks such as resilient and systems thinking, students collect information, analyze results, write a report, publicly present their findings, and begin to implement solutions informed by their analysis. Students learn basic skills for transforming their ENVS education into compelling environmental professional career possibilities. Prerequisites: ENVS 350 and ENVS 390.

 ENVS 410 - Environmental Ethics (3 cred.)

A seminar on the complexities of environmental issues from a philosophical perspective. The course also offers a survey of the evolution of environmental moral philosophy as well as in-depth analysis of major thinkers in the field. Students confront ethical concerns from both historical and personal perspectives, with an emphasis on the ability to critically evaluate and apply these perspectives to their work in environmental fields. Prerequisite: ENVS 301 and 350; or PHIL 335.

 HWTR 200 - Introduction to the Headwaters (1 cred.)

A fall offering that gives students a broad cross-disciplinary overview of the Headwaters Region surrounding the College, with some field trips out into the region and an opportunity to look into some of the issues impacting the region.

 HWTR 398 - Headwaters Conference (1 cred.)

An annual two-day gathering on campus each fall, bringing together writers and scholars, local community leaders and activists, artists, government officials, and other interested citizens from the colleges and communities of the Headwaters Region to consider challenges and opportunities confronting the region. Students attend and participate in the conference and write a paper about the experience in the context of their own lives and future plans. Students attend and participate in the conference, complete applied research projects throughout the month following the conference, and write a paper about the experience in the context of their own lives and future plans. Student may take the course four times for additional credit. Prerequisite: junior standing or instructor permission.

 MATH 213 - Probability and Statistics (3 cred.)

A course in the use of statistical techniques to draw knowledge from data. Topics include exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, t-procedures, ANOVA, chi squared procedures, regression, and non-parametric tests. Statistical software is used extensively to analyze real data sets. Prerequisite: MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-, or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test score of 85 or above; or instructor permission. GT-MA1

 PHYS 125 - Energy and the Environment (3 cred.)

A practical study of energy generation and its environmental impact, including the physics of energy fundamentals, fossil fuel use, alternative energy uses, and energy conservation. Primarily for non-science majors, this course will qualitatively detail basic physical principles behind the use of energy, including mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and thermodynamics. This course is designed to provide the student with a physicist's perspective on energy use and environmental issues. Prerequisite: completion of the general education essential skills mathematics requirement.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Kevin Alexander, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Phone: 970.943.3405
Office Location: Taylor Hall 322
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
Lynn Sikkink, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Anthropology
Phone: 970.943.2062
Office Location: Hurst Hall 31C
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

Scholarships

Program-Based Scholarships

Mahaffey Environmental Studies Scholarship

Eligibility

  • Students who have demonstrated community involvement with environmental solutions, academic excellence and a dedication to mountain environments which could encompass recreational activity, personal connection or service.

Description

This scholarship is provided by Jim and Dianne Mahaffey.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: The Environment & Sustainability Council

Application:

Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page.

Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability at

970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 240

Mike Martin Memorial Scholarship

Eligibility

  • Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) majors
  • Must have 3.0 GPA or above
  • Preference will be given to a resident of Crested Butte, CO. If no applicants meet this requirement, preference will be given to a resident of Gunnison, Colo. If no applicants meet the criteria, applicants must be a Colorado resident. 

Description

This scholarship is provided by the Michael Martin Community Fund

Award depends on funds available

Selected by: The Environment & Sustainability Council 

Application:

Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page.

Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program.

970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 108

Nauman, James D. Environmental Stewardship Scholarship

Eligibility

  • Full-time students majoring in Environment & Sustainability (ENVS)
  • Minimum of 30 credits at Western
  • Must have made a significant contribution towards environmental stewardship while at Western
  • Students must demonstrate academic achievement and progress towards ENVS major

Description

This scholarship is provided by Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49

Amount:

Award depends on funds available (anticipated award $500).

Selected by: Environment & Sustainability Council

Application:

Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. 970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 108

Nauman, James D. Environmental Studies Scholarship - Freshmen

Eligibility

  • Must have applied and been admitted to Western
  • Demonstrated an interest in pursuing a degree in Environment & Sustainability (ENVS)
  • Preference given to students with financial need

Description

This scholarship is provided by Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Award depends on funds available (anticipated award $500)

Selected by: The Environment & Sustainability Council

Application:

Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. 970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 108

Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship

Eligibility

  • Full-time students who are majoring in Environment & Sustainability, Environmental Biology or a related field
  • Must be a junior level (60+ credits) 
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Preference given to students with financial need who are residents of the Western Slope of Colorado and have expressed interest in a career in park operations/park management or a career in the earth sciences

Description

This scholarship is provided by Barbara Kastellic and gifts from others to honor Joseph, who was the first Superintendent of the Black Canyon National Monument from 1975-1984.

Award depends on funds available.

Application: 

Complete and submit The Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship application which is available in the Financial Aid Office.

 A recommendation and a one-page essay will be needed to complete the application.

Institutional Scholarships

Common Scholarships

Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit western.edu/scholarships.

Early Action Credit

If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit western.edu/mars.

Neighboring States Program

Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Presidential Promise

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential promise, visit western.edu/scholarships.

Tuition Discount Programs

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Western Merit Scholarship

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit western.edu/scholarships.

Get Involved

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • Clubs & Organizations: Join the Organics Guild, Sustainability Coalition or Wildlife Society. 
     
  • Coldharbour Institute: Experiment with sustainable building design, resilient food systems or community organizing in the Gunnison Valley.
     
  • Conferences: Attend the Headwaters Conference, the Colorado Water Workshop and Sage Grouse Spring Symposium.
     
  • Earthship Academy: Learn how to construct a self-sustaining building capable of producing food and saving energy.
     
  • High Country News: Check out the independent news source's new satellite office located in Kelley Hall.
     
  • Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory: Find a research assistantship at one of the premier biological research stations in the world. 
     
  • Solar Energy International: Engage in the local, regional or global conversation about the renewable energy era.

Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) focuses on the interactions of humans and the natural environment. Students study the structure and function of natural systems; examine how social, political and economic activity impacts those systems; and experiment with resilient solutions to unsustainable human impacts.

The ENVS program prepares students for meaningful livelihoods based on their values. Graduates enter their fields with the skills to connect ideas, individuals and organizations. They become effective interdisciplinary communicators, and they enact positive change throughout their natural and social communities.

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Kate Clark
Director of Undergraduate Environment & Sustainability Program; Graduate Faculty in Master in Environmental Management programs, Environment & Sustainability and Sociology programs
Office Location: 
Kelley Hall 146

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