Environmental Studies

Saint Michael's Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Program at Saint Michael's College engages students in:

  • Interdisciplinary study crossing the bounds of the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences
  • Investigation into pressing domestic and global environmental problems, observation of the natural and built environment, to gain insight into the creation of a more sustainable world
  • Application of knowledge to benefit the College community, as well as communities at a variety of scales from local to global, reflecting social justice mission of the College
  • Opportunities for research and service-learning projects in courses within the program and during study abroad, as well as internships with businesses, non-profits, and government agencies addressing environmental problems or portraying environment in art, writing or digital media
  • Exploration and study of Vermont's urban and rural human communities, farms, forests, mountains, streams, rivers, and lakes.
  • Participation in on-campus sustainability and environmental justice projects such as the organic community garden, recycling and energy efficiency on campus, and activism

As an environmental studies major, you will enroll in an interdisciplinary core of courses team-taught by faculty from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences; six breadth courses; and a self-designed concentration of four courses related to a topic of your focal interests. The core consists of Intro to Environmental Studies; Environmental Problem Solving (research methods) and Senior Seminar.

In Introduction to Environmental Studies, you will gain a global perspective on environment, teaming with international students to research and create a proposal for addressing an environmental problem outside the United States.

The sophomore-level Environmental Problem Solving course encourages students to develop a concentration in the major, and will take you into the field in Vermont urban and rural communities, as well as natural environments, to focus upon specific skills in the social and natural sciences that bear upon the study of environmental problems.

In Senior Seminar, students complete the work on the concentration by applying the perspective gained in their focus to a collaborative action project of service to the local community. Each year, Senior Seminar classes focus upon different themes. For Spring 2013 Seminar, Seniors will study food, farming and working landscapes of Vermont, partnering with local farms and our campus food service for advocacy projects.

Example courses:

  • Environmental Humanities
  • Religion, Ecology and Ethics
  • Philosophy of Science, Technology and Environment
  • Demography and Public Health
  • Environmental Economics
  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Foundations of Global Studies
  • Nature and Outdoor Writing
  • Politics of Food
  • Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
  • Meteorology
  • Physical Geography

Example concentration topics:

  • Ethics of Sustainable Agriculture
  • Community Food Systems
  • Business and Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Advocacy
  • Economic Incentives for Conservation
  • Water Energy Nexus
  • Human Relationships with Animals
  • Political Ecology
  • Environmental Education
  • Art as Environmental Communication
  • Cross-Cultural Ethics of Food and Livelihoods
  • Philosophy of Environment

Jeffrey Ayres, PhD

Political Science Department Chair and Environmental Studies Program Director, Professor of Political Science
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B.A. University of Virginia
M.A. and Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Areas of Expertise:

Globalization, Global and Regional Governance, International Relations, Social Movements and Contentious Politics, Canadian and North American Politics

Courses I Teach:

  • Globalization and Resistance
  • Global Governance
  • Global Problems
  • International Relations
  • Politics of the World Economy
  • Social Movements and Contentious Politics
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

Valerie Banschbach, PhD

Professor of Biology
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Ph.D. Biology, University of Miam, Coral Gables, FL
B.A. Biology, Pomona College, Claremont CA
Additional coursework: Primate Social Behavior, 1985, School for Field Studies program in Panama; Tropical Ecology, 1989, Organization for Tropical Studies Graduate Semester in Costa Rica

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Areas of Expertise:

Behavioral and population ecology; conservation biology; environmental studies; social insects, focussing on ants and bees; evolution of social behavior; tropical ecology; pollination biology and other plant-animal interactions; pedagogy in science and environmental studies

Courses I Teach:

  • Animal Behavior
  • Biological Communications
  • Biology Senior Seminar
  • First-Year Seminar
  • Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
  • Organic Farming and Conservation of Biodiversity in India
  • Population Ecology
  • Solving Environmental Problems
  • Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica

Alain Brizard, PhD

Professor of Physics
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Ph.D. Princeton University
M.Sc. Quebec University
B.Sc. Sherbrooke University

Areas of Expertise:

Space, fusion and astrophysical plasma physics, astrophysics and cosmology (theoretical physics).

Anjanette DeCarlo, PhD

Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
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Ph.D. University of Vermont
M.S. Hunter College
B.A. State University of New York

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Areas of Expertise:

Environmental Sciences, Sustainable Development, International Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, Civil Society Organizations, Women and Youth Empowerment, Environmental Conflict Resolution

Courses I Teach:  

  • Sustainable Livelihoods
  • Environmental Problem Solving
  • Grant Writing for Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Conflict Resolution
  • Women, Youth and Sustainable Development
  • Internships for Environmental Studies

Greg Delanty, BA

Professor of English
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B.A. National University of Ireland 

Areas of Expertise:

Poetry and literature

Courses I Teach:

  • Genres: Poetry
  • Introduction to Literary Studies: Modern American Poetry
  • Irish Literature
  • Poetry workshops

My Saint Michael's:

I am a widely published Irish poet born in Cork, Ireland. I enjoy teaching all of my classes, and consider myself a lucky person to have a job teaching what I love - the reading and writing of poetry. I love teaching because I love poetry.

I like the ethos of the college. I find the Edmundite ethos and in general the liberal arts a healthy way of being in the world and a good way for young people to learn to be in the world for the rest of their lives.

We're the better for understanding through literature how other human beings have lived in the world. In the end, all learning is humility, and students will understand that and it will give them a better chance of understanding the good and bad of life and of adding to society in a positive fashion. We can't overestimate the interconnectedness of things. Literature shows us how to see our own uniqueness, to take off the mundane goggles, to see that no matter how small we are, we're important.

Bret Findley, PhD

Chemistry and Physics Department Chair, Associate Professor of Chemistry
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Ph.D. Dartmouth College
B.A. Willamette University

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Areas of Expertise:

Experimental Physical Chemistry; Photo-Induced Electron Transfer Reactions; Molecular Spectroscopy; Physical Chemistry Pedagogy

Courses I Teach:

  • Chemistry Senior Seminar
  • Concepts in Chemistry
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • Physical Chemistry I, II, and III

Jon Hyde, PhD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts; Director, Global Studies Program
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M.A., Ph.D. New York University
B.A. Carleton College

Courses I Teach:

  • Digital Film
  • Global Communication
  • Multi-media Design
  • Photography

Additionally, I direct graduate research projects in media education and media literacy.

Professional Experiences:

Prior to teaching at Saint Michael's, I worked in New York City as a journalist, digital animator, and a media developer at the Media Workshop New York, a non-profit organization devoted to issues of media education and media literacy.

Richard Kujawa, PhD

Economics Department Chair, Human Geography Minor Coordinator, Professor of Geography
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Iowa
B.Sc. Brunel University, London

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Urban Geography
  • Political Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • The Geography of Water
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Studies
  • Urban and Regional Planning

My Saint Michael's:

In my classes, advising and in the human geography program, one-on-one contact is encouraged. I encourage students to present their findings to external audiences and professional conferences. I help students with graduate school applications (especially those in Urban and Regional Planning). In the past few years, I have helped Saint Michael's graduates successfully apply to Cornell, Rutgers, SUNY-Albany, Kansas State University, the University of Iowa and several others. I also have some connections for internships in the local area.

Hands down, my favorite thing about this college is the class sizes. At Saint Mike's I am able to shorten the distance between my role as faculty member and expert, and my role as motivator and mentor. I see part of my job as a salesperson for the power of intellectual growth and lifelong learning. I work hard each and every day to make the sale!

Robert Letovsky, PhD

Business Administration and Accounting Department Chair, Professor of Business Administration and Accounting
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Ph.D. Concordia University
M.B.A. University of Toronto
B.Comm. McGill University

Areas of Expertise:

Case development focusing on business/government relations and sustainability

Courses I Teach:

  • Business Policy & Strategic Management
  • International Business
  • International Marketing
  • Marketing

My favorite class to teach is International Business because it focuses on the nexus between business and public policy. The course gives students an opportunity to see the connections between the right kinds of public policy and economic development, and the wrong kinds of public policy and economic hardship. The course also focuses on the global trading system and is the gateway for students to understand the role that free trade and open markets has played in reducing poverty and promoting economic progress.

Nathaniel Lewis, PhD

Professor of English
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Ph.D. Harvard University
M.A. University of North Carolina
B.A. Yale University

I teach courses on literary theory, environmental writing, and multiethnic literatures. I have written on western American literature, literary aesthetics, and nature writing.

Crystal L'Hôte, PhD

Associate Professor of Philosophy
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Ph.D., M.A. Johns Hopkins University
B.A. Colgate University

Areas of Expertise:

Philosophy of mind (and cognates), metaphysics and epistemology, and feminist philosophy, all in the analytic tradition. 

Courses I Teach:

  • Contemporary Analytic Philosophy
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Logic: Laws of Thought
  • Philosophy of Human Nature
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Environment

My courses highlight the ongoing relevance of philosophy. Philosophy of Mind engages contemporary neuroscience; Logic: Laws of Thought prepares students for the Law School Admissions Test; Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Environment examines responsibilities to nature and environment; and Philosophy of Human Nature pairs timeless philosophic topics with timely topics in bioethics. I also make efforts to see that learning extends beyond the classroom: I launched the Plato Lecture and am the regular host of the Philosophers’ Table.

Laura Stroup, PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Department of Economics and Geography
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Ph.D., Geography , University of South Carolina, Columbia
M.S., Geography, University of South Carolina, Columbia
B.A., Franklin & Marshall College

Areas of Expertise:

Water Resources, Physical/Environmental Geography, Environmental Policy

Courses I Teach:

  • ES 101 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • ES 201 Environmental Problems
  • ES 401 Senior Seminar, Topic: Emerging Contaminants

black bear skull bite marks on tree

At Saint Michael's, our Environmental Studies students are involved with partnerships with local and international non-governmental organizations, businesses and government agencies so you'll have a chance to make a positive contribution towards environmental change while acquiring skills needed for work or graduate study. We recently had a study trip to Northern India focusing on Organic Farming and Conservation of Biodiversity at the farm training center run by world renowned environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva. Students pursue environmental internships at such places as Ben and Jerry's, the Essex Junction Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Keeping Track, Inc., a wildlife monitoring and conservation planning organization. You will also be able to work on campus in such sustainability projects as the Saint Michael's organic community garden; GreenUp student environmental club; the faculty, staff and student activist Environmental Council, and through leadership projects of the renowned Saint Michael's Wilderness Program.

Interested in Environmental Law and Policy? Saint Michael's recently signed an agreement with Vermont Law School that guarantees Saint Michael's graduates admission into Vermont Law providing they meet the entrance requirements. The Vermont Law School is ranked number one in the US for Environmental Law.

Study Abroad

  • Saint Michael's study tours to places such as India, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.
  • School for Field Studies (Saint Michael's is an affiliate member), with programs in:
    • Turks and Caicos
    • Bhutan
    • Australia
    • Costa Rica
    • Tanzania
  • School for International Training, and university programs such as those through Butler IFSA

Internship examples:

  • Sopher Investments (rating environmental practices of businesses for development of green portfolios for environmentally conscious investors)
  • Native Energy (carbon-offset business)
  • Shelburne Farms (environmental education)
  • The Intervale (organic garden and compost facility)
  • The ECHO Center (environmental education and animal care)
  • Essex Junction Wastewater Treatment Facility (economics of utility management)
  • Keeping Track, Inc. (non-profit wildlife monitoring and citizen science organization)

On-campus sustainability:

  • Saint Michael's College organic community garden (summer paid positions and academic-year volunteer opportunities)
  • GreenUp student environmental club
  • Environmental Council - faculty, staff and student environmental activist group
  • Projects with the Saint Michael's Sustainability Coordinator, Heather Ellis

Research areas for student-faculty projects:

  • conservation biology
  • geography and planning
  • political science
  • sustainable agriculture
  • sustainable business
  • environmental humanities

Outdoor leadership and education:

Saint Michael's College Wilderness Program provides extracurricular opportunities.

The number and kinds of careers in the environmental field are growing rapidly. The U.S. Dept of Labor projects a 25 percent increase in demand for environmental specialists (including policy, management, conservation, and science) by the year 2016.[1] Many organizations, including for-profit corporations and non-profit institutions, now have a sustainability office with at least one staff member taking the lead on environmental efforts. The fully interdisciplinary nature of our program prepares graduates well to work with a variety of constituencies within organizations on environmental initiatives since the skills required for that work go beyond scientific understanding of environmental problems.

Graduates of our Environmental Studies program are well prepared to pursue careers in the fields of environmental conservation, environmental management, environmental education, and "green" business. The program also prepare students for post-graduate study in environmental law, "green" M.B.A., environmental sustainability, environmental studies, ethics, conservation, management and policy programs. 

Saint Michael's has an articulation agreement with the Vermont Law School that guarantees admission to the J.D. program or the Masters of Environmental Law and Policy program for qualified Saint Michael's College graduates. 

[1] Lohr, Steve. 2009. Crème de la Career. New York Times, April 12, Week in Review Section

veggie gardenLearn more about Saint Michael's Organic Garden, which produces several veggies, including cucumbers, bak choi, swiss chard, kale, basil, dill, chives, bluberries, flowers, and more.

wolfRead about the work students of Environmental Studies have been doing with Susan Morse and the event they sponsored to bring her presentation with Live Wolves to campus.

Dr. Vandana Shiva's inaugural lecture for Environmental Studies major

shivaThe renowned activist, physicist, and philosopher spoke October 19, 2012 on activism toward organic and sustainable agriculture in India and the world.

fair trade institutionSaint Michael's College faculty declare unanimously that the college is a Fair Trade institution.  Read more.

For more information on Environmental Studies please contact the program coordinator:

Jeffrey Ayres
Saint Edmund's Hall 347
802.654.2680
jayres@smcvt.edu

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