Frederica R Helmiere
A practical course for developing the skills necessary to engage, analyze, write, and speak about complex environmental issues in a variety of disciplinary contexts with particular values and emphases. Focus on reading, writing, presentation, and critical analysis of written material. Prerequisite: minimum grade of 2.0 in ENVIR 100; minimum grade of 2.0 in either C LIT 240, ENGL 109 and ENGL 110; ENGL 111, ENGL 121, ENGL 131, ENGL 197, ENGL 198, ENGL 199, ENGL 281, ENGL 297, ENGL 298, or ENGL 299. Offered: AWSp.
This course focuses on written and verbal communication skills and techniques within the discipline of environmental studies. Students will learn to communicate persuasively, intelligently, and compassionately to vastly different audiences with sometimes competing interests and desires. The class is designed as a practical seminar in which to develop the skills necessary to confront, engage, analyze, and, ultimately, write and speak about complex environmental issues in a variety of disciplinary contexts with particular sets of values and emphases. Specifically, the course is broken into two units: a humanities unit focusing on the politics of wilderness conservation), and a policy unit examining the decline of salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest.
Student learning goals
Critical reading. The fodder for much of our writing will be texts from various genres and disciplines, written for a variety of audiences. We will analyze authors' values, rhetorical strategies, disciplinary perspectives and presuppositions, and pay careful attention to the connection between writers' claims and their evidence. Our approach to the course texts encourages a hermeneutic both of criticism and of appreciation.
Strengthening writing skills through attention to the following: syntax and grammar; voice; incorporation of source information into quotes; pre-writing and drafting; thesis statements and claims; outlines; paragraph, section and document construction; notation styles; peer reviewing, editing and revising.
Working collaboratively. Throughout the quarter, you will work with a partner or in small groups to process readings and lectures, critique and revise each others' drafts, and ultimately prepare a jointly authored paper and oral report.
Crossing disciplinary boundaries. You will read and critique articles from the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Likewise, students will practice writing from within each of these disciplines and to a variety of audience types.
Research Skills. Assignments will require you to find additional resources from several disciplines on your own, and students will hone their ability to use bibliographic databases and scholarly journals.
Appreciating the complexity of environmental issues. We will analyze several disputes over environmental issues in order to achieve a better understanding of the motivations of the stakeholders in these struggles. Rather than looking for heroes and scapegoats, we will analyze the multifaceted nature of environmental conflict at the global, national, and local levels.
General method of instruction
A commitment to active learning shapes the organization of this class: you will develop skills not simply by listening to the instructor, but by actively contributing to classroom discussions, working with your peers, and practicing skills in your own work. We will use class time in a variety of ways: lectures, group discussions, debates, free-writes, small group tasks, writing workshops, research tutorials, etc. Students are given a combination of reading and writing assignments in between classes.
Class assignments and grading
The course consists of five short written assignments, two larger papers and two oral presentations. In addition, students are evaluated on thoroughness of their "presence" in the intellectual environment of the course. This "presence" includes regular attendance in class, vocal contributions to class discussions, timely submission of work, and voluntary meetings/conversations with the instructor outside of class.