Communications Studies
COM 6040 Environmental Communications
Through readings and online discussion of communication theory, audience and rhetorical analysis, and persuasion in the mass media, students will identify mechanisms and professional practices required to communicate environmental and science policy issues. Case studies of key environmental issues in various bioregions and organizations will provide a sampling of communication models, including informational and public policy reports, objective and persuasive media reporting, and advocacy campaigns. Students will research and conduct an environmental communications campaign that incorporates public policy and planning processes, assessment of scientific data and claims, and audience analysis. This project will incorporate a pre-campaign analysis of audience and core concepts; the authoring of a coordinated body of messages, publications, and media; a timeline and budget; and an assessment process to evaluate the campaign’s success. 
COM 6070 Grant Writing Workshop
Students in this class will begin by researching private foundations, public grants, and other grant-making funding sources, and determining application opportunities and requirements. Students will then practice drafting proposals to a variety of grant-making institutions, with focus on statements of need, program descriptions, and budgets. Finally, students will focus on grant-related maintenance strategies, including tracking implementation guidelines and match requirements, drafting grant reports, and monitoring multi-year or multiple-partner projects. 
COM 6075 Science Writing Workshop
This course focuses on reporting and writing science articles for technical and general interest publications. After study of general writing principles based on the work of such science writers as Rachel Carson, Loren Eiseley, Stephen Jay Gould, and Jared Diamond, students will identify a range of science articles in a specific field and summarize topic selection, writing style, structure, and use of explanatory and inquiry techniques. Based on their own expertise and interest, students will select a specific topic or topics, arrange interviews with researchers and policy experts, and write a series of articles for a variety of audiences. Articles will integrate research abstracts, field reporting, interviewing, and analysis of science and technology in the context of social and natural systems. 
COM 6079 Online Content Creation
A convergence of online media tools and platforms allow communicators to create a vibrant messaging environment. In Online Content Creation, students learn the web publishing skills needed to curate online content and publish original work. Students will survey bioregional content, assess a variety of platforms and delivery processes, and curate media, write blog posts, and produce original digital media while developing a thematic online portfolio.
COM 6081 Media Advocacy Workshop
Successful advocacy campaigns rely on explanatory and persuasive messages published in a range of media for diverse audiences. In this workshop-focused course, students develop expertise in research, writing, editing, media production and strategic communication analysis. Writing and media assignments develop messages on bioregional and global issues and include presentations, audio/video scripts, media productions, news releases, commentary, blog posts and websites. A portfolio of work features explanatory and persuasive publications that support civic engagement, sustainability, and environmental advocacy campaigns. 
Additional Graduate Level
Course Descriptions
BIO 5010 Natural Systems Ecology
This course provides a rigorous overview of six major organizing areas for study of ecology: physiological ecology, dynamics of energy and element cycles, population ecology, population interactions, community ecology, and evolutionary ecology—the latter especially as it is relates to conservation issues. Each major section of the course begins with one or more case studies, then proceeds to the theoretical underpinnings that allow us to understand the ecological processes in question. Students will read a body of current literature and produce a significant paper centered on ecological issues of their bioregion. This course may be waived if the student has a minimum of two ecology courses at the undergraduate level, at least one of which is upper level.
BIO 6040 Conservation Biology
In this course students will study the history and application of conservation biology, a new field in the life sciences. Specific topics will include how has the field emerged and changed, the specific areas of study that made this field possible (biogeography, for example), historical and legal landmarks, current challenges, common lab and field techniques, design of study, and limitation of certain techniques. Students will read a significant body of current literature in the field and produce a paper that applies their knowledge of conservation biology to a problem in their local bioregion.
BIO 6050 Conservation Genetics
Students in this course will explore the evolutionary genetics of natural populations (small and large) and study how genetic diversity is characterized, maintained, or
—as is often the case—lost due to inbreeding depression and population fragmentation.
The course will move from theory to practice to examine speciation, phylogenetic tree construction, management of wild and captive populations, and population viability analysis. Students will read a body of current literature in the field and produce a significant paper focused on conservation issues in their bioregion. 
BIO 6073 Field Botany
A review of topics in plant anatomy, morphology, physiology, evolution, systematics, and field methods to provide students with the botanical knowledge and skills they need to support work in ecological research, plant conservation, forestry, range management, sustainable agriculture, ecological landscape design, land use planning, education, and related fields. 
BIO 6074 Forest Ecology
This course explores the primary ways in which organisms interact with abiotic components of North America’s various forest communities, from northern hardwood forests to temperate rainforests. Of particular interest are the processes—both natural and anthropogenic—that determine how organisms are distributed throughout a forest community. By gathering data and applying generalized patterns in their local ecosystems, students will develop a hands-on knowledge of ecosystem processes that provides a fundamental context for understanding modern ecosystem management. Students will read a body of current literature in the field and produce a significant paper focused on issues pertaining to forests in their bioregion. 
BIO 6075 Ecological Restoration
This course is designed to provide students with a description of the principles and practice of ecological restoration. The historical context of the field and foundational definitions will be examined as well as the recommended best practices to design and implement an ecological restoration project. The social and human dimensions of restoration will be explored within the context of resolving common conflicts and tradeoffs that occur between the science and practice of ecological restoration. The direction of the field of ecological restoration for the future will be discussed in the face of global climate change and the Anthropocene. Several case studies will be introduced throughout the course and the course will culminate in a final assignment that asks students to critically examine a restoration project or study within their bioregion.
BIO 6077 Limnology
Limnology is the study of the interrelationships of the ecological functions and trophic structures of the organisms of fresh and saline inland waters as they are affected by their dynamic physical, chemical, and biotic environments. It encompasses the integration of drainage basin, movements of water through the basins, and biogeochemical changes that occur as water moves and as waters remain standing. Thus limnology includes study of the ecological systems of streams, rivers, reservoirs, ponds, and lakes of incredible size and compositional variation.
BIO 6082 Biogeography
This is an advanced course in the study of historic and current organism distributions. It treats both the patterns of these distributions and the possible causes suggested by these patterns. Because causes of distribution range from geologic to evolutionary processes, the study of biogeography is necessarily very broad, therefore, this class examines questions of distribution in historic, evolutionary, ecological, and geological perspectives. The last segment of the course will be devoted to the role biogeography plays in conservation of species and systems. Students will research regional problems and bring their expertise to bear by proposing a potential solution.
Natural Resource Management
NRM 6050 Geographic Information Systems
This is an introductory course that will cover the historical development, theoretical basis and practical application of geographic information systems (GIS) technologies. This course will accomplish these goals by providing you with an understanding of: (1) numerous data formats and how to obtain freely distributed data, (2) a variety of opensource and freely distributed GIS software packages, (3) how to manage and construct GIS databases, and (4) applied GIS through case studies and individualized projects.
ENG 6040 Traditions of Natural History Writing
From the Systema Naturae of Carl Linnaeus to the works of contemporary writers such as Barry Lopez, Annie Dillard, and Gary Paul Nabhan, this course will explore the many ways in which scientists and writers have represented, classified, and drawn insights from the nonhuman world. Supplemental readings in environmental history and philosophy will provide students with the context necessary to theorize how and why modes of literary naturalism changed when they did. While students will become familiar with Thomas Lyon’s “Taxonomy of Nature Writing” and use its principles to analyze a broad selection of texts, they will also learn to diagram the chains of narrative strategies and rhetorical approaches in classical and contemporary examples of natural history writing, leading toward the production of an article-length critical analysis. 
ENG 6070 Field Journaling
This course’s emphasis on discovering, carefully observing, and accurately recording information in the field provides a natural foundation for further environmental writing workshops. Guided by naturalists such as Clare Walker Leslie, Ann Zwinger, and Frederick Franck, students not only will practice sustained field inquiry—with special emphasis on sketching as a technique of identification and classification—but they will also consider the epistemological implications of their habits of perception. Throughout the class, students will create thorough profiles of objects and organisms discovered in the field; coursework will culminate in a portfolio of these profiles, prefaced by a reflective essay exploring the challenges and insights encountered during the process of dedicated field investigation.
ENG 6080 Environmental Poetry Workshop
While the inspiration that leads to the production of poetry cannot be taught, the craft that makes such inspiration transferable can. Beginning with an introduction to the varieties of environmental poetry, students will analyze the interplay of sound, imagery, narrative, rhythm, and authorial presence in selected works from such contemporary poets as Gary Snyder, Pattianne Rogers, William Stafford, and Mary Oliver. As the students determine the possibilities enabled by different approaches, comparing their interpretations with ecocritical analyses from relevant journal articles, they will also record their own impressions of the world beyond their walls, producing a minimum of twenty pages that will then be critiqued in online workshop and revised accordingly. As in all of our workshops, students will learn about the process of publishing their work, identifying possible homes for their poems and producing appropriate cover letters.
ENG 6090 Natural History Writing Workshop
In this course students will learn how to convey information about local ecology in ways that are entertaining and accessible to an audience of interested laypeople. In a sense, then, this is a course in translation: the relevant geological and biological facts of a region must be extracted from professional journals and textbooks, stripped of jargon, and recast in fresh and lively prose. Students will find models in the work of authors such as John McPhee and Terry Tempest Williams on their way to producing an essay that has the primary purpose of educating an audience about some aspect of the local environment. Guided workshops will help students work through such typical problems as how to make geological time easily comprehensible and how to draw readers into fields of knowledge usually left to scientists. By the end of the course, students will produce a portfolio of at least twenty-five pages of polished natural history writing.