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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Martha Groom
ENVIR 500
Seattle Campus

Graduate Seminar in Environmental Studies

Exploration of interdisciplinary themes in environmental science communication. Topics vary.

Class description

This course will focus on the concepts, controversies, and promising methodologies used to conserve biological diversity, especially those that also enhance human welfare. The course is intended as an interdisciplinary introduction to the practice of conservation, and serves as a core course for those interested in Conservation of Living Systems. Speakers from conservation organizations will be featured throughout the course.

Student learning goals

Students will develop an understanding of the necessity for multidisciplinary solutions to conservation problems.

Students will develop an awareness and appreciation for the strengths and limitations of significant methodological approaches to conservation, including methods from social and natural sciences.

Students will develop their facility to work productively in multidisciplinary teams to analyze and work toward solutions to conservation problems.

General method of instruction

The course will center on explorations of efforts to avert biodiversity decline and guide conservation actions effectively. Each class meeting will include a mixture of lecture, discussion and group work. Frequent guest presentations by conservation professionals will be a prominent aspect of the course. Early sessions will emphasize the development of core understandings of approaches to understanding the nature of conservation problems, while the latter two thirds of the sessions will explore approaches to conservation practice.

Recommended preparation

Graduate standing is required. The approach to the course assumes students are familiar with threats to biodiversity, but that students will come with a variety of backgrounds to the course. Therefore, students from any field of study that includes a strong focus on conservation issues are invited to the course.

Class assignments and grading

We will read, discuss, debate and write about a wide variety of topics in conservation, with frequent assignments based on class simulations of conservation practice. Through case study projects, students will work in teams to delve into topics of particular interest to the students.

Grades will be based on the quality of participation both in class and online, and the final case study project.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Martha Groom
Date: 08/28/2012