Department of English since fall 1987
Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies
Founding Member/Steering Committee
Sustainability Fellow 2008-2011
I am taking a personal leave of absence from the university through December 31, 2011; you will still be able to reach me via my university email address, though there may be stretches of time that I do not check that account.
I collaborated with Dr. Jim Phillips (chemistry) and former professor Dr. Zoltan Grossman (geography) to create this multidisciplinary minor, which we envision as a complementary offering to the Environmental Science minor. Grounded in a two-course core in either chemistry or biology, the ESC minor is aimed at students with an interest in environmental issues but with a career track that may take them into fields such as journalism, public policy, politics, economics, teaching, law, writing, or other vocations more closely tied to the humanities.
Contemplation of the environment raises many questions, some of them clearly scientific in nature: "What chemical is polluting the river? What are that chemical's toxicological properties, and how will they affect the ecosystem?" Some of the questions raised transcend the purely scientific perspective: "Who is dumping that chemical in the river? Why did they make that choice--was profit involved? Mere carelessness?" Or, "Do any societal needs drive demands for this chemical? Can those needs be met in alternative ways?" And, "Who lives by the river, what socio-economic conditions brought them there and how are they affected by this chemical's presence?" Or again--"What laws pertain to the river? To whom does the river 'belong'?" Such questions, equally important and as intellectually challenging as the purely scientific inquires, in fact provide a larger context for the science. To ask this full range of questions is to think ecologically--that is, with an awareness of the entire mechanism--about environmental issues.
The Environment, Society, & Culture minor is designed to enable students to probe the human dimensions of environmental issues through a variety of courses crossing many disciplines. Built around a core science requirement, the program is rounded out with courses in ethics, philosophy/religion, economics--courses that look at social conflict and the policy that engenders and addressees conflict. This minor is open to all students; while perhaps best suited to students majoring in the humanities and social sciences, it is designed to be flexible so that students can tailor it to meet their particular needs and interests.
For complete details, see page 71 in the current (2010-2011) undergraduate catalogue.
For admission to the minor, contact any of the following faculty: Professors J. Phillips/Chemistry (P-451) , C. Pierce/Public Health Professions (HSS-213/NUR-247), G. Running/Geography (P-253), R. Cronje/English (HHH-725). On Leave: Dr. K. Hale Wilson /English.
PROFESSIONAL & TEACHING INTERESTS
B.A. 1979 M.A. 1983 Ph.D. 1994
Dr. Kate Hale Wilson
Department of English