ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES- Bachelor of Arts
The Environmental Studies degree at Paul Smith's College consists of eight traditional semesters, including a travel study experience entitled the Comparative Environmental Studies Practicum. The Paul Smith’s College Environmental Studies Program takes an interdisciplinary approach to using the tools and concepts of the humanities, arts, social sciences and natural sciences to assess the historical and contemporary interactions between people and our built and natural environments. The program employs a thematic approach to build and focus student understanding of the relationship between nature and culture and of the importance of stewardship. Students select courses from these three themes: Environment and Human Expression, Environment and Society and Environment and Science.
The Environmental Studies program is built upon the College's already well-established strengths in environmental and cultural stewardship and in the Liberal Arts and takes full advantage of Paul Smith's College's location within the 6 million acre Adirondack Park. This setting serves as a continual reminder of our responsibility to be stewards of our world community and of those we teach to enter that community.
As stewards, we are the voices, hands and decision makers for an environmental and cultural legacy that we are obligated to cherish for the future. The stewards of history were not the kings, but were the holders of the kingdom for the king in absentia. Exercising stewardship removes us from the egoistic notions of control and dominance and substitutes a more nurturing, long-range point of view - it goes beyond community to imply an ethic of conservation, planning and a culture of caring.
The design of the program is flexible enough to allow students to pursue their individual interests while they are also developing a solid foundational experience in the Liberal Arts. Upon graduation a wide range of career opportunities are open to the Paul Smith's College Environmental Studies B.A. student. Careers in environmental writing, human resources management, and business are all available. In addition, the students may choose concentration electives that prepare them for further academic study. The requirements for master's programs in environmental studies, environmental education, sociology, environmental MBA programs and other graduate opportunities can all be met within the standard curriculum.
The Environmental Studies Program
Environmental Studies Program Themes:
- Disciplinary Environmental Perspectives
These themes provide a basis for interdisciplinary, multi-perspective understanding of human-environmental interactions and relationships. Each theme illustrates how different ways of knowing, methods of inquiry and expression, and implicit values have been brought to bear on environmental concerns.
- a. Environment and Human Expression
Coursework in this area allows students to experience, critically appraise, and create art and literature that illuminate and provide context for human experiences with the natural environment.
- b. Environment and Society
Coursework in this area allows students to engage in critical examinations of the creation and development of human socio-cultural, political, and economic systems with respect to their environmental settings and distributions of power and other resources in particular societies.
- c. Environment and Science
Coursework in this area allows students to discern and systematically examine critical points of contact, influence and impact between humans and non-human components of natural systems.
- Applied Tools for Environmental Study and Action
This theme brings attention to the need for students to develop technical skills with one or more tools used in the study of environmental issues. Coursework in this area covers a range of skills such as statistics, GIS, archival research, and interview and focus group techniques.
- Interdisciplinary Understandings of People and Our Environments
This theme emphasizes the way in which environmental issues, such as global environmental change, are, by their very nature, complex and multi-dimensional phenomena. No single way of knowing or disciplinary perspective is sufficient for the study and management of human-environment interactions. Coursework in this area allows students to bring together and integrate the knowledge and skills they are exposed to in Themes One and Two.