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Southern Oregon University

Capitalizing on the unique and varied environmental settings in southern Oregon, the Environmental Studies program effectively prepares its students for success in a broad range of environmental careers and fosters in them, by example, a commitment to serving the community. The ES curriculum provides students with the interdisciplinary academic knowledge and the practical experiences necessary for them to successfully address complex environmental issues, both regional and global. The program serves as a resource to our community by providing student and faculty expertise for specific projects affecting the environmental health of our region.

By recognizing that environmental issues are becoming more complex as our population places demands on limited resources and capitalizing on the unique environmental setting in southern Oregon, the ES program will:

  • Continue to be recognized for our effective preparation of students for success in environmental careers and for our commitment to serving the community.
  • Grow into the premier environmental program in Oregon, as well as one of the premier environmental programs in the nation.

The Environmental Studies degree program provides the opportunity to apply principles from various scientific fields to environmental issues within the social, political, and economic framework of our society. The degree program includes courses designed to provide students with the following:

  • the ability to understand and apply natural science concepts and methods in solving environmental problems,
  • the ability to understand and apply social science concepts and methods in solving environmental problems,
  • practical experience with addressing environmental issues, and experience working as a team in natural and social disciplines

The above goals lead to outcomes (what our majors will be learning at SOU). These outcomes can be listed under the categories of “knowledge” (what students will know and understand), “skills” (what students will be able to do), and “dispositions” (what values the students will develop about the environment and working relationships while at SOU). Examples of each outcome are listed below:

Knowledge Outcomes

  • Students will have a basic knowledge of the natural and earth sciences, including geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
  • Students will have a basic knowledge of the social sciences as they apply to environmental issues.
  • Students will be able to integrate knowledge of natural and social sciences in addressing environmental issues.
  • Students will be able to understand and apply basic economic principles to complex environmental problems.
  • Students will be able to understand environmental laws and respond to the legal aspects involved in environmental issues.

 Skill Outcomes

  • Students will be able to communicate effectively in various ways.
  • Students will be able to use appropriate modes of inquiry, including identifying and framing key attributes of a complex environmental problem, investigating alternatives, supplying evidence, and conceptualizing outcomes.
  • Students will be able to solve problems by suggesting a workable solution to a problem by thoroughly identifying the issues, determining and evaluating alternatives, and anticipating outcomes given the resources available.
  • Students will be able to access, evaluate, and use information resources effectively and ethically while conducting thorough investigative research and summarizing findings into comprehensive, well-written reports appropriate to specific purposes and audiences.
  • Students will be able to perform and utilize mathematics and statistical analyses in environmental research and data analysis.
  • Students will be able to read and interpret various types of maps, and will be able to use geospatial technologies and geoinformatic systems to extract and create geospatial databases.

 Disposition Outcomes

  • Students will understand the importance of ethics and will demonstrate ethical behavior.
  • Students will understand the importance of environmental stewardship in appreciating and caring for the natural resources on Earth.
  • Students will understand the culture of democracy in addressing environmental issues, including the roles of politics, science, and economics in decision making.
  • Students will have an understanding of and sensitivity to differing cultural viewpoints on environmental issues.
  • Students will have the opportunity to participate in civic engagement activities as part of the ES program.
  • Students will practice and recognize the value of good working relationships among co-workers and outside connections.