NREM 302: Natural Resources and Environmental Policy. This undergraduate course is designed to provide an in-depth review of environmental policy, with a focus on United States federal policy. Sustaining natural resources and the quality of our shared environment requires a range of social actors (e.g. resource-users, NGOs, businesses, governments) to develop, implement, enforce, and monitor the “rules of conduct” intended to influence human behavior with regard to the environment. Understanding how these rules are developed—and whether or not they have their intended effect—is the heart of understanding environmental policy. Using an interdisciplinary lens, this course examines how diverse social actors develop solutions to environmental problems at local, state, national, and global levels. The course focuses on what constitutes effective environmental policy. We discuss important concepts and methods, both theoretical and practical, developed mainly through exploring studies relevant in developing and implementing effective natural resource and environmental management policy.
NREM 494: Environmental Problem Solving. This undergraduate capstone course allows for the application of research, analytical methods, and management tools to an environmental and/or management issue, with a focus on teamwork and oral communication. After completing this course, students should be able to use structured decision making to achieve a repeatable decision-making process, utilizing explicit, quantifiable objectives, identifying specific management alternatives to meet those objectives, and using models to predict the effect of management actions on resource objectives.
NREM 640: Land Systems Science. This interdisciplinary graduate-level course explores how and why people have appropriated land, and the effects of such land use on the function of the socio-ecological system. The first few weeks of the course tackle the theoretical and technical aspects of land use change, including tools available for monitoring and detection. The middle section of class covers major trends and dynamics in land use change at multiple local to global scales. Finally, in the last weeks we discuss potential approaches to ensuring sufficient food, energy, and water production for our growing population while protecting the natural environment and human well-being. The major assignment for the course is a mock proposal requesting funding to address a critical land use change research question or management/policy problem, OR an analysis of land use change. In addition, students will complete weekly readings, learn how to build and run a basic land change model, and lead a class discussion once during the semester.
NREM 691: Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. Working with people is essential for professionals in natural resource management, and requires that a natural resource manager understands how people value, interact with, and are sustained by the natural environment. This 3-credit graduate level course explores the application of social science concepts and research to natural resource conservation and management. Students will learn how understanding human values, thought, attitudes, and behavior can support improved natural resource outcomes. The first few weeks of the course will examine values, norms, and attitudes regarding natural resources. Then, we will discuss specific problems in natural resource management, including wildlife and climate change. When possible, guest lecturers will provide expert perspectives on human dimensions. The major assignment for the course is a field investigation designing and applying a survey instrument. In addition, students will complete weekly readings and lead one or more class discussions during the semester.