Robert Marks, Richard and Billie Deihl Professor of History and Environmental Studies
Cheryl Swift, Coordinator for Environmental Science and The James Irvine Foundation Professor of Biological Sciences
Michelle Switzer, Coordinator for Environmental Studies
Environmental Science and Environmental Studies have emerged as fields of study essential to examining the environmental challenges that now face humanity. These include global climate change, developing sustainable energy strategies, protecting biodiversity, handling hazardous waste, and preparing for natural phenomena such as floods, fires, and earthquakes. Sharing a common core of courses but allowing for specialization in the study of the environment, a primary goal of our program is to foster student understanding both of environmental processes and functions, and of the diverse and complex relationships among human societies, states, and economies, and Earth’s natural systems. Our program strives to develop students’ ability to analyze environmental changes and processes across geologic, ecologic, and human time scales, and to gain insight into the ways in which peoples have, and can, understand, interpret, and address their environments. We are an interdisciplinary program, enabling students to integrate material on environmental issues from multiple perspectives. Through fieldwork and a senior project, our graduates learn how to articulate to diverse audiences their understanding of the environment and of environmental challenges. Internships and interactions with community, business, and political leaders prepare our students for careers as leaders in thinking and acting on environmental issues.