ENV 491, Integrated Environmental Seminar

Instructor: Rebecca Burton, Ph.D.
Office: CO 221
Email: rebecca.burton@alverno.edu

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Two completed 300-level courses, Problem Solving L4

Texts: Environmental Science, Enger and Smith & Additional readings


The major focus of environmental science is the interface between humans and the environment. Natural resource use, pollution, biodiversity, environmental protection, recreation, population growth, sustainability, quality of life, and government policy are some of the topics that environmental science covers.

Many frameworks are necessary for understanding environmental topics. Cultural, economic, ethical, historical, legal, political, and scientific frameworks are only some of the many frameworks that may be important in analyzing and responding to particular environmental topics. Specialists in environmental science may come from a variety of academic disciplines including biology, chemistry, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology, and statistics. No one can be an expert in all of these fields. That is why collaboration is so important in the study of environmental science.

Environmental science is, by its nature, an applied science. While it incorporates much theoretical knowledge, it is mostly concerned with applying information to specific, practical situations. These situations are likely to involve a diverse group of interested parties (stakeholders) with different goals, backgrounds, and levels of political and economic power. The environmental scientist must be willing to work with all of the stakeholders and communicate effectively with them.

This course is designed to help you analyze environmental topics using a variety of data and frameworks. It emphasizes an interdisciplinary, cooperative approach, meaning you will be working in teams. Whenever possible, you will be working with students from other disciplines. Once you have a basic background, you will be examining actual, current environmental topics. You will also be planning and conducting an experiment, analyzing and interpreting data, and reporting results in both written and verbal form.

Course Goals

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:


Writing in

Lab Report



Stats in

Alverno Environmental Science home page

Last update: 1/23/03 by Rebecca Burton, Dept. of Biology, Alverno College