- Academic Philosophy
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- Student Work
Ecological Planning and Policy
Ecological Policy and Planning emphasizes an applied, interdisciplinary approach to local and regional studies. Since its inception, the program has pioneered numerous curricular innovations based on collaborative problem solving that combines ecological, economic, and social expertise.
A major component of the ecological policy and planning curriculum is built on project-based courses in which students work together with faculty and community leaders to address real-world environmental and community issues. Topics range from shaping legislation and collaborative decision making to regional and town planning, economic development, human health, and green business. Students who focus on ecological policy and planning learn a broad range of interdisciplinary skills and ecological approaches. They also gain the additional benefits of hands-on learning which combines theory and practice in ways that really make a difference.
Since its founding, College of the Atlantic has fashioned many collaborative initiatives ranging from basic research on social and environmental policy issues to formation of new organizations involving multiple partners. Through these efforts, the college has become a recognized leader in creating collaborative, problem-solving forums.
For nearly 20 years, COA has worked closely with local towns on Mount Desert Island and with Acadia National Park on social, environmental, and planning issues. Out of this collaboration was borne a citizen-based planning initiative known as MDI Tomorrow. The group's mission "to bring about vibrant, healthy and year-round communities for Mount Desert Island and surrounding towns" has achieved nationally recognized results. The MDI Tomorrow process has led to projects addressing critical community issues: the Island Explorer bus system has relieved traffic congestion and reduced greenhouse gas emissions; MDI Housing Authority and the Island Housing Trust are making progress on affordable housing for families who work and shop locally, and serve as volunteers in the community; Healthy Acadia is linking local agriculture to school lunch programs and has focused attention on the needs of youth; and Friends of Acadia and local towns are working to create foot paths and bike lanes for local residents and visitors.
COA has also developed a curriculum in applied human ecology with a specific focus on watersheds and watershed-based regional planning. This initiative takes advantage of a diverse network of partnerships dealing with economic and environmental sustainability with the Union River Watershed Coalition (URWC) as the centerpiece. Composed of nearly 300 community leaders, nonprofits, businesses, landowners, citizens, and agencies, the URWC addresses increasing development pressure and related threats to water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreational access.
Organizational stewardship — one of COA's newest initiatives — focuses on how people, businesses, and non-profit organizations can contribute to community sustainability. This developing program provides students with knowledge of the concepts and skills that will make them effective as leaders and contributors in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Through courses, visiting lectures, and workshops, the initiative brings together information on organizational development management, green technology, and grassroots sustainability.
AD009Architectural Design Studio
In this design studio students are introduced to the field of architectural design and the design process. We examine various aspects of this functional art including scale, texture, volume, void, light, rhythm, and form. Basic principals of architectural structures and a brief historical overview are presented. Students attempt to apply these principals in solving practical problems. They are expected to develop basic architectural drafting skills to represent three dimensional space in two dimensions. The course includes model building skills and an actual design project. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisites: Recommended Introduction to Arts and Design and/or Two-Dimensional Design. Offered every other year. Class limit: 11. Lab fee: $25. *ADS*
The global demand for food and fiber will continue to increase well into the next century. How will this food and fiber be produced? Will production be at the cost of soil loss, water contamination, pesticide poisoning, and increasing rural poverty? In this course, we examine the fundamental principles and practices of conventional and sustainable agriculture with a primary focus on crops. By examining farm case studies and current research on conventional and alternative agriculture we develop a set of economic, social, and ecological criteria for a critique of current agricultural practices in the United States and that will serve as the foundation for the development and analysis of new farming systems. Evaluations are based on two exams, class presentations, participation in a conference on potato production, and a final paper. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisites: Signature of the instructor and one of the following: Biology I, Plant Biology, Ecology, or Economics. Class limit: 13. Lab fee: $40. *ES*
ES305Tropical Marine Ecology
This course in tropical marine ecology explores topics including organismal diversity, natural history of fish, invertebrates, algae, habitat diversity (coral reefs, mangroves, etc.), fisheries, and conservation. Students meet as a class weekly, alternating between a single three-hour evening seminar session and individual meetings with the instructors to discuss primary readings and research projects. In addition, this course includes a required 18-day field trip to the Yucatan over winter break. Field work is based out of Akumal on the Yucatan peninsula. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Prerequisites: a strong performance in previous classes (especially biology), the ability to work well as a member of a group, and enthusiasm; permission of instructors required. Class limit: 8-14 students. Lab fee: estimated at $1200. *ES*
ES383Fisheries and Their Management
Humans have exploited the biotic resources of the ocean for thousands of years. Although early harvesting probably had minimal ecological and population impact, increased exploitation due to increasing market demand and technological advances have placed significant stress on many of the world's "fisheries". Those exploited species that have thus far avoided becoming commercially or biologically extinct, are, in many cases, threatened by collapse due to over-fishing. This course examines the exploitation of biotic resources in the oceans, including invertebrates, fish, and marine mammal populations. Importantly, it also examines the fishing techniques, fisheries technology and management of fisheries, and critiques and reviews the development of the mathematical modeling on which management is based. The class will be offered in seminar style, with students involved in the discussion and critique of readings, and researching and presenting various case histories. Students will be evaluated on the basis of participation and quality of presentations and term projects. Level: Intermediate. Class limit: 12. Prerequisite: Signature of the instructor, by demonstration of competence in QR and ES disciplines. Course fee: $60. *ES*
This course examines the causes, extent, and ecological significance of the endangered species "crisis." We examine the role of extinctions in evolutionary history and compare "natural" extinctions to current events in the Neotropics, Orient, and Oceania. We also discuss the significance of successful introductions of exotic species into different regions and their effects on native forms. Changes in land use patterns and the science of Landscape Ecology are investigated. Finally, we examine current conservation techniques in an effort to establish a workable synthesis for specific case histories. There are two lectures/discussions per week, occasional evening lectures. Level: Advanced. Pre-requisites: One intermediate Ecology course and/or signature of instructor. Class limit: 15. Lab fee $10. *ES*
ES479Probability and Statistics
This course provides an introduction to probability and statistics. Its goal is to give students a good understanding of what kinds of questions statistical analyses can answer and how to interpret statistical results in magazines, books, and articles from a wide range of disciplines. The course begins with understanding probability and how it can often lead to nonintuitive results. Types of statistical analyses discussed in the second part of the course include comparisons of averages, correlation and regression, and applying confidence limits to estimates of studies from both the social and biological sciences. Application of statistics to specific research problems is covered in greater depth in more advanced courses such as advanced statistics and field ecology and data analysis. Evaluation is based on class participation, problem sets, and quizzes, and an independent project. Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Offered approximately every other year. Class limit: 20. Lab fee $10.00 *QR*
ES522Tutorial: Advanced Marine Resource Policy Seminar
This advanced tutorial brings together professors, students, and individuals from outside the college to discuss current issues in marine resource policy. Working with individuals from the Penobscot Bay Resource Center as well as others with knowledge of marine resource policy, the goal of this seminar is to examine one specific topic each year of the seminar and produce a policy white paper summarizing the findings and conclusions of the group that will be made publicly available. The initial goal is to have 2-4 professors, 1-5 students, and 2-4 individuals from outside the institution research current information on a topic, potentially conduct their own research, and apply meta-analyses or other appropriate analytical tools to the collected data and write a summary document that can help inform the management of marine resources. The group will typically meet twice per week, with additional meetings of subgroups throughout the term. Because the topic of the seminar changes between years, students may take this seminar for multiple years for credit. Pre-requisites: Background in environmental policy and biology. Permission required. Class limit: 5
ES526Neotropical Conservation Ecology
The neotropics have been at the center of conservation research and policy for more than half a century. In spite of an enormous amount of effort however many issues remain unresolved and debate continues on appropriate strategies for protecting both the vast array of plants and animals present in the region and the livelihood of the peoples dependent on a broad range of agriculture and industry. This class will examine a range of issues dealing with the botany and zoology of Central America with a primary focus on issues affecting conservation strategies and sustainable utilization of the rainforest. Work during the regular term will consist of extensive readings and discussions of the primary literature, with particular attention to the research efforts of pioneers such as Daniel Janzen, Alexander Skutch, etc. This will be followed by a mandatory ten day field trip to the Tirimbina Rainforest reserve in Costa Rica, where students will have the opportunity to conduct their own research on issues of biodiversity, behavior, and ecology. Level: Advanced. Permission of Instructor. Lab fee: $775. *ES* Note: Students who enroll in both Neotropical Conservation Ecology and Applied Amphibian Biology pay a single lab fee.
ES563Costa Rican Natural History and Conservation
This team-taught, intensive, field-based course examines the ecology and biotic diversity found at several sites within Costa Rica and the implications of this diversity on concepts of conservation biology. Whereas primary emphasis will be placed on Central American herpetofauna and avifauna, we will also discuss and examine issues of botanical, mammalian, etc. diversity and abundance, and the significance of the full array of species in more general studies of land-use and protective strategies. Students will meet during the winter term to discuss a range of articles and book-chapters dealing with aspects of conservation biology and Costa Rican natural history and culture during the winter term but the major emphasis of the course will be a two-week immersion in key habitats within Costa Rica itself during the March break. Non-travel days will consist of early to late-morning fieldwork, afternoon lectures/presentations followed by early evening to late night fieldwork. The course is based out of three field sites: lowland Caribbean slope rainforest at Tirimbina ecological reserve in north central Costa Rica, montane forest of the Arenal and Tenorio volcanic region, and Pacific slope dry forest of the Nicoya Peninsula. Evaluation will be based on detailed field journals, course participation, and a series of examinations testing student?s knowledge of species and concepts. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Course fee $1000.00 (covers food, transport and lodging in Costa Rica, students provide airfare to Costa Rica). Class limit: 15. *ES*
HE001Human Ecology Core Course
Human Ecology is the interdisciplinary study of the relationships between humans and their natural and cultural environments. The purpose of this course is to build a community of learners that explores the question of human ecology from the perspectives of the arts, humanities and sciences, both in and outside the classroom. By the end of the course students should be familiar with how differently these three broad areas ask questions, pose solutions, and become inextricably intertwined when theoretical ideas are put into practice. In the end, we want students to be better prepared to create your own human ecology degree through a more in depth exploration of the courses offered at College of the Atlantic. We will approach this central goal through a series of directed readings and activities. Level: Introductory. Lab fee: TBA. *HE*
HS033Cultural Ecology of Population Control Practices
This is a research course focusing on methods of (and attitudes toward) controlling population growth rates in different cultures. Participants are expected to examine a set of hypotheses which relate several variables in the biological and cultural ecosystem, including population growth rates, environmental depletion, technological change and intraspecies violence. Each student then researches the literature on a different society and presents the findings to the group. Evaluation is based on class participation and a paper summarizing the project. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisites: Contemporary Culture and the Self or signature of instructor. Offered every other year. *HS*
How has human history shaped and been shaped by "the environment"? Environmental history is one of the most exciting new fields in history. In this course we examine world history from Mesopotamia to the present to see the role such things as resource scarcity, mythology, philosophy, imperialism, land policy, theology, plagues, scientific revolutions, the discovery of the new world, the industrial revolution, etc. on the natural, social, and built environments. Level: Introductory. *HS* *HY*
HS109Introduction to the Legal Process
The "law" affects every aspect of human activity. As human ecologists we must garner some basic understanding of how law is used (or misused) to shape society and human behavior. This course examines two aspects of the American legal system: 1) the judicial process or how we resolve disputes; and 2) the legislative process or how we enact policy. Course readings cover everything from classic jurisprudence essays to the daily newspaper. We use current environmental and social issues to illustrate specific applications of the legal process. Legal brief preparation, mock courtroom presentations, lobbying visits to the Maine legislature, and guest lectures are used to give a practical dimension to course subjects. Students analyze Federal Election Commission documents to understand the impact of campaign financing on public policy and look closely at other current issues facing the legislative and judicial systems. Evaluation is based upon two papers and several other exercises. Level: Introductory. Offered every other year. Lab fee $20. *HS*
HS320The Human Ecology of Wilderness
Wilderness has been the clarion call for generations of environmentalists. Henry David Thoreau once said, "In wildness is the preservation of the world." That single sentence and the controversy surrounding that idea provides the central focus of our explorations over the term. This course examines the question of wilderness from multiple perspectives in the hopes of providing an understanding of the concept and real spaces that constitute wilderness. Starting with a week-long canoe trip down Maine's Allagash Wilderness Waterway, we look at historical and contemporary accounts of the value of wilderness, biological, and cultural arguments for wilderness, and the legal and policy difficulties of "protecting" wilderness. Considerable time is spent evaluating current criticisms of the wilderness idea and practice. Students are involved in a term-long project involving potential wilderness protection in Maine. This involves some weekend travel and work in the Maine Woods. Classwork emphasizes hands-on projects as well as theoretical discussions. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisite: Introduction to the Legal Process, Signature of instructor. Class limit: 14. Lab fee: $200. *HS*
HS384Global Environmental Politics: Theory and Practice
This course will cover the politics and policy of regional and global environmental issues, including many of the major environmental treaties that have been negotiated to date (Montreal Protocol, Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention on Biological Diversity). Students will gain both practical and theoretical understandings of how treaties are negotiated and implemented, through case studies of the climate change convention and the Cartagena protocol on biosafety. We will draw on both mainstream and critical theories of international relations when analyzing these negotiations. Students will become familiar with the range of political stances on different treaties of various nations and blocs, and the political, economic, cultural, and scientific reasons for diverging and converging views. We will pay special attention to the growing role played by non-governmental organizations in global environmental politics. We will conclude the course with discussions of some current controversial areas in international environmental politics. Level: Intermediate. Class limit: 15. Lab Fee $10.00 *HS*
HS433Conflict and Peace
How does conflict arise and how is it best dealt with? What is peace and how is it best arrived at or practiced? This course combines a study of major theoretical perspectives with lab work practicing skills and disciplines associated with different traditions of conflict resolution, conflict transformation and peacemaking. Readings will include Roger Fisher, William Ury, Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Walter Wink, Gene Sharp, Dorothy Day, Elise Boulding, Gray Cox and others. Lab work will involve role plays, case studies, workshops with visitors, and field work. The course will also involve one, mandatory, weekend long workshop. Level: Intermediate. Offered every other year. *HS*
HS466Creative Destruction: Understanding 21st Century Economies
Joseph Schumpeter in 1942 used the phrase "creative destruction" to describe the process by which capitalism creates vibrant economic growth and new technologies and modes of production, but in doing so destroys organizations and relationships linked to older technologies and modes of production, often with adverse effects on individuals and communities. Many observers feel that Schumpeter's description is even more appropriate today, as information technologies and the long arm of multinational capitalism create vast new potential for economic growth and improvement in living standards, while rapidly altering social and environmental relationships, marginalizing those communities unable or unwilling to adapt, and exacerbating existing inequalities. This course gives the student currency in the dynamic issues surrounding 21st Century capitalist economies (including "advanced," developing, and robber/crony capitalisms) using an institutionalist approach; as such, the course focuses more on using a variety of approaches to understanding economic phenomena, and less on imparting the standard body of neoclassical theory (although the latter will be used where appropriate). Fundamental capitalistic structures and processes are examined and contrasted with traditional and command economies. Major attention is given to the role of multinational corporations in the global economy. Other topics include technology, stock markets and investing, money and central banks such as the U.S. Federal Reserve, business cycles, unemployment and inflation, trade and currency issues, consumerism and the nature of work, and whatever other topics students collectively wish to explore. Student evaluation is via multiple diagnostic tools, possibly including quizzes, reading questions, a current event portfolio, written book reviews or issue analysis, and oral exams. Level: Introductory. Lab fee:$20. *HS*
HS497Contemporary Social Movement Strategies
When groups organize others to promote social change, what alternative strategies do they employ and how effective are they in varying circumstances? Can any general principles or methods for social change be gleaned from the successes and difficulties encountered in various social movements around the world? We will use Bill Moyer's DOING DEMOCRACY and a series of other theoretical readings to look at general models and strategies. And we will use a series of case studies including, for instance, the Zapatistas, Moveon.org, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the U. S. Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Globalizaton movement, the Breast Cancer Social Movement and the Gay and Lesbian movement. Students will write a series of short analyses of cases considered in class and do extended case studies on their own. Evaluation will be based on the quality of class participation, research and writing. Level: Intermediate. Lab fee $25. *HS* *HY*
HS543Community Planning and Decision Making
Albert Einstein once observed that "no problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew". If Einstein's idea is accurate about how humans understand the universe, it is likewise true of how we plan and manage our relationships with the environment. One of the primary aims of human ecology is to explore new ways to envision human environment relations. Within its integrative perspective, scientific knowledge and human aesthetics can be combined in ways that enrich human communities as well as value and protect the rest of the living world. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a foundation of theory and practical skills in ecological policy and community planning. A broad range of ideas and methodologies will be explored. Using real examples of current issues - such as sprawl, smart growth, gateway communities, watershed based regional planning, land trusts, and alternative transportation systems. We will be joined by the actual leaders of these changes locally and state wide in Maine. We will also examine emerging methodologies that emphasize participatory planning, community capacity-building, and empowering marginalized groups. These models and ideas will be further compared with prominent approaches and case studies from elsewhere around the country. As a part of current ideas about community planning and policy, the course also introduces small group collaboration techniques, and the use of computers to enhance complex decision processes. A field component will take advantage of varied external opportunities - including town meetings, conferences, and public events. Evaluations will be based on class participation, several short research papers, and end of term small group projects. Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Lab Fee: $40. *HS*
HS546Agriculture and Biotechnology
This course will provide an introduction to global issues in agriculture today, with an emphasis on the controversies surrounding the use of genetic engineering in agriculture. We start with a careful study of critical issues facing agriculturalists and, indeed, all of us, to give students a broad overview of food production and agriculture globally. In the first half of the course, we will consider: the Green Revolution and technological developments over the last half-century; global trade in agriculture and impacts of major free trade agreements; famine, food aid, and food sovereignty; and neo-Malthusian perspectives on food production and critiques of those perspectives. In the second half of the course, we turn our attention to the science and politics of the new genetic technologies and potential social, economic, and ecological impacts of their use in agriculture. We will examine socio-political and ecological problems associated with transgenic soy production in South America and cotton production in India and China. We will also explore problems of contamination resulting from imports of transgenic maize into Mexico and canola exports from Canada to Japan. To conclude the course we will consider strategies of resistance throughout the world to the introduction of genetically engineered crops. Evaluation will be based on three written problem sets (8-10 pages each) and class participation. Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Limit: 20. Lab fee: $10.00. *HS*
HS553Geographic Information Systems I: Foundations & Applications
Ever-rising numbers of people and their impact on the Earth's finite resources could lead to disaster, not only for wildlife and ecosystems but also for human populations. As researchers gather and publish more data, GIS becomes vital to graphically revealing the inter-relationships between human actions and environmental degradation. Much of what threatens the earth and its inhabitants is placed-based. Solutions require tools to help visualize these places and prescribe solutions. This is what GIS is about. Built on digital mapping, geography, databases, spatial analysis, and cartography, GIS works as a system to enable people to better work together using the best information possible. For these reasons, some level of competency is often expected for entry into many graduate programs and jobs, particularly in natural resources, planning and policy, and human studies. The flow of this course has two tracts, technical and applied. The course begins with training in the basics of the technology. Then, skills are applied to projects that address real-world issues. Project work composes the majority of course work and each student has the opportunity to develop their own project. Because GIS provides tools to help address many kinds of issues, GIS lends itself well to the theory of thinking globally and acting locally. Projects often utilize the extensive data library for the Acadia region developed by students since the lab was founded in 1988. The GIS Lab acts as a service provider to outside organizations and students can tap into the resources of a broad network of groups and individuals working towards a more sustainable future. Course evaluations are partially based on the on-time completion of exercises and problem sets. Most of the evaluation is based on critique of student independent final project work and related documentation. Level: Introductory/Intermediate, Pre-requisites: Basic computer literacy. Class Limit: 8. Lab Fee: $75.
HS564History of the American Conservation Movement
This course provides students with an overview of the American conservation movement from the 1600s through the present. Through an examination of historical accounts and contemporary analysis, students develop an understanding of the issues, places, value conflicts, and people who have shaped conservation and environmental policy in the United States. They also gain an appreciation for the relationship between the conservation movement and other social and political movements. Students should come away with a sense of the historical and cultural context of American attitudes toward nature. We also seek to apply these lessons to policy debates currently underway in Maine. Working from original writings, students do indepth research on a selected historical figure. Evaluation is based on problem sets, group activities, participation, and a final paper. Level: Introductory. *HS* *HY
HS566International Wildlife Policy and Protected Areas
"Save the whales"; "save the tiger"; "save the rainforest" - - increasingly wildlife and their habitats are the subject of international debate with many seeing wildlife as part of the common heritage of humankind. Wildlife does not recognize the political boundaries of national states and as a result purely national efforts to protect wildlife often fail when wildlife migrates beyond the jurisdiction of protection. This course focuses on two principle aspects of international wildlife conservation: 1) the framework of treaties and other international mechanisms set up to protect species; and 2) the system of protected areas established around the world to protect habitat. We begin with an examination of several seminal wildlife treaties such as the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, CITES, migratory bird treaties, and protocols to the Antarctica Treaty. Using case studies on some of the more notable wildlife campaigns, such as those involving whales and elephants, we seek to understand the tensions between national sovereignty and international conservation efforts. The Convention on Biological Diversity and its broad prescriptions for wildlife protection provide a central focus for our examination of future efforts. Following on one of the key provisions in the Convention on Biological Diversity, the second half of the course focuses on international and national efforts to create parks and other protected areas. In particular we evaluate efforts to create protected areas that serve the interests of wildlife and resident peoples. Students gain familiarity with UNESCO's Biosphere Reserve model and the IUCN's protected area classifications. We also examine in some depth the role that NGO's play in international conservation efforts. The relationship between conservation and sustainable development is a fundamental question throughout the course. Level: Intermediate. Recommended courses: Use and Abuse of Public Lands, Global Polit
HS633Political Action and Greek Philosophy
The class will attempt to tackle the issue of ethical political action in a democratic society from the level of individual practice. Utilizing a series of dialogues between philosophers and "sophists" from the Classical Greek period as a springboard, students will explore a wide variety of topics related to civic engagement and public debate. Though the readings for class will be thousands of years old, students who successfully complete the course will be able to make linkages to problems contemporary to their own daily lives including: does truth speak for itself, what is the role of the speaker in society, where is the line between "spin" and effective persuasion, and are all politicians nothing more than "con artists?" Included in the readings will be works by Gorgias, Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. Students will also go outside of the assigned readings to apply these ancient debates to modern social/political questions. This is an introductory-intermediate level course for students with an interest in philosophy, political action, governance, and public persuasion. Familiarity with these issues is not a pre-requisite for the class. In class activities will be driven primarily by student discussion centered on flashpoints within the readings. There will be an intensive reading load as well as an intensive writing component to the class. Students will also be occasionally asked to "perform" sections of dialogue in class. Final evaluation will be based on a number of varied writing assignments, participation in class discussion, and several independent reports on contemporary social questions Level: Introductory. *HS*
HS639Whitewater/Whitepaper: River Conservation and Recreation
Loren Eisely once remarked, "If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water." Eisely's observation is an underlying premise of this course - that there is something very special about moving water. This course is taught in a seminar format in which students will read and discuss ecological, historical, sociological, political and legal aspects of river conservation and watershed protection. Special emphasis is placed on understanding the policy issues surrounding dams, river protection, and watershed planning. In conjunction with readings and class discussions, students will use a term-long study of a local stream to learn about the threats facing rivers in the United States and the legal and policy mechanisms for addressing these threats. In addition, the class will take an extended field trip to western Massachusetts to gain first-hand knowledge of the tremendous impact river manipulation can have on a social and ecological landscape. We will spend time looking at historically industrialized and now nationally protected rivers in the region. Through weekly excursions on Maine rivers, students will also develop skills to enable them to paddle a tandem canoe in intermediate whitewater. Evaluation will be based on problem sets, role-playing exercises, contribution to the class, short essays, and paddling skills. Weekly excursions to area rivers entail special scheduling constraints as we will be in the field all day on Fridays. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisite: Signature of instructor. Class limit: 11. Lab fee: $100.
HS651Microeconomics for Business and Policy
What is the best way to insure that communities can provide dependable, well-paying jobs to their citizens? Why does Coca Cola spend millions of dollars to advertise a product with which most people are already very familiar? What can the game of blackjack tell us about how industries are structured? How can we get coal-burning power utilities to reduce their carbon emissions while they save millions of dollars in the process? How can we provide much better health care to all Americans, at much less cost, while making it easier for small businesses to grow? All of these questions, and many more like them, are answered by microeconomic theory. This intermediate-level course exposes students to basic microeconomic theories, models, and concepts that shed insight on the economic behavior of businesses, individuals, governments and politicians, and international organizations. We will emphasize approaches that have numerous overlapping applications to both business and policy evaluation: markets, pricing, firm structure and decision-making, strategic behavior (using game theory), consumer behavior, externalities (such as greenhouse gas emissions) and the provision of public goods (such as military, education, and environmental conservation). We will pay special attention to the economics of asymmetrical information (adverse selection, moral hazard, and principal-agent situations) that have a wide range of applications, including issues such as the ineffectiveness of the American health care system, the structuring of business finance, and the hiring and paying of employees. This will be a non-calculus course, but will give students exposure to technical economic modeling, with heavy emphasis on graphical modeling of complex social phenomena. We will use a lab period to conduct extensive experiments and games that illustrate or test economic concepts and hypotheses. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisite: Signature of instructor or 1 course in economics or business. *
HS652Beyond Relativism: Negotiating Ethics in the 21st Century
How can - and should - questions of ethics get resolved in the contexts of interdisciplinary and multiperspectival dialogue, conflict and decision making - as when two communities need to resolve disputes and each have different paradigms of thought and action? These questions may come up in dealing with human ecological problems when people from different professions, religions, or other cultural and social settings need to deal with each other to address common problems and opportunities. They also arise in business, government and NGO work when people pursue socially responsible projects and policies of a variety of sorts. This course will look at the common strategies in normative ethics for dealing with these problems as well as explore ways in which methods of negotiation and conflict transformation can also be helpful. Readings will include classic texts from Aristotle, the Bible, Mill, Kant, Nietzsche, and Buber as well as contemporary readings in professional ethics, in conflict transformation, and philosophical ethics (such as Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue). Students will write a series of short papers on texts and case studies and develop a final project in which they work to identify and resolve an ethical problem. Evaluation will be based on class participation, papers, and the final project Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Lab fee: $20. *HS*
HS694Human Relations: Principles and Practice
Antoine de Saint-Exupery - World War II French pilot and author of The Little Prince - once noted: "There is but one problem - the problem of human relations....There is no hope or joy except in human relations." Beneath this sanguine notion, however, dwells a complex web of ideas and questions. The purpose of this team-taught course is to explore these underlying issues from two different, but overlapping, perspectives. On the one hand, we will review foundational theories and research from intra-psychic, social and organizational psychology - emphasizing topic areas such as attitude theory and change, social influence, group dynamics, conflict resolution and leadership. On the other hand, we will simultaneously draw on real-world case studies from business and organizational management. The emphasis here will be on issues of personnel assessment and management, market performance, negotiation, crisis management and the role self-knowledge in the "inside game" of commercial enterprise. Connections between these two realms will be drawn via class discussions, presentations from the instructors, and selected visitors with significant backgrounds from a range of organizational, business and government settings. Lessons derived from failure events and the 'cost of not knowing' will be investigated, as well as examples from models of successful human relations experiences. The overall aim of the class will be guided by the ideals and practices of: the psychologist Abraham Maslow, who advised "The best way to see everything is to consider the whole darn thing" and Steve Jobs - founder and CEO of Apple - who expressed his success succinctly as "It was small teams of great people doing wonderful things". Student evaluations will be based on multiple criteria, including class participation, several individual papers and research reports and contribution to team projects. Level: Introductory. Lab Fee: $40. Class limit: 15. *HS*
HS701Public Speaking Workshop
This class will be conducted as a workshop with an emphasis on students producing increasingly advanced speeches for public performance and/or consumption. We will cover a wide variety of areas including those related to constructing the speech in advance (invention and arrangement), as well as those related to the actual performance of the text (style, memory, and execution). While the primary goal of the class is to create an environment in which students can improve these vital public communication skills, another important goal is to cultivate critical and respectful listening skills (which are themselves vital public communication skills). A wide variety of speaking genres will be covered during the term, though there will be a strong emphasis on public advocacy and persuasion: This class is designed for students with varying levels of public speaking backgrounds. A diverse array of experiences, skills, and strengths helps foster a collaborative and supportive speaking environment. Throughout the term students will work on individual projects, in pairs, and in larger collaborative groups. There will be a minimal focus on theoretical questions in favor of a "hands on" approach to constructing speeches. Students will be evaluated on a number of "process" oriented assignments. Final evaluation will be relative to individual participation in the process and not to an objective scale of public speaking talent. As such, students who feel that they are less proficient in the area of public communication should not be worried that this would somehow disadvantage them in terms of grading. In order to facilitate a vibrant working environment, a lab session and fee will be a component of the class. Level: Intermediate. Class limit: 10. Lab fee: $10. *HS*
Leadership skills that help people come together to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities are essential in a complex world. This course will provide a context for collaborative (or facilitative) leadership, drawing examples from community settings, non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. Collaborative leadership leads to productive and supportive relationships, jointly developed goals and structure and shared responsibility for achievement. We will study useful strategies and techniques for involving stakeholders, building consensus, laying out a problem-solving process, facilitation of that process and drawing in the full experience, knowledge and wisdom of participants. Students will write a final paper (or participate in a group project) to integrate results from interviews and opportunities to shadow local leaders, class discussions with guests and the instructor, and material from assigned readings. This course is designed to include both COA students and community members. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Lab fee: $20.
HS724Numbers, Names, and Narratives: Doing H.E. in H.S.
This is a course for students who want to use history, anthropology and social science research in their work on community organizing, social change efforts or public policy advocacy. Human ecological approaches to such problems and studies require using interdisciplinary methods to integrate different points of view and different theories in a more comprehensive understanding of a person, text, situation or problem. But how can we do that? What sorts of things are "methods", "theories" and "disciplines" and how can they be integrated? How is theoretical research related to practical action? How should we deal with the ethical issues that come up in research? How do modern vs. post-modern or neo-liberal vs. neo-Marxist or hermeneutic vs. quantitative views of these things differ? The aim of this course is to develop students' abilities to articulate different ways of framing these questions and answering and to develop their abilities to apply those questions and answers in projects in human ecology, including in internships, residencies and senior projects. The class will examine a series of texts that provide case studies that address these problems at a practical as well as philosophical and methodological level. Work for the class will include a series of short papers and exercises that provide descriptions and critical analyses of texts read in class and provide applications of theories and methods to a project. Texts used may include, for instance: ALBION'S SEED by David Hackett Fischer, THE EVALUATION OF CULTURAL ACTION by Howard Richards, THE ETHNOGRAPHIC METHOD by James Spradley, THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW by Wade Davis, THE TWO MILPAS OF CHAN KOM by Alicia Re Cruz, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH: PROCESS AND THEORY by Allen F. Repko, and a series of other short articles and chapters. NOTE: This course is especially recommended for sophomores and juniors interested in pursuing advance work in Human Studies. A more advanced tutorial is available.
HS728Economic Development: Theory and Case Studies
Economic growth in the developing world has lifted millions out of poverty at the same time that misguided attempts at widespread application of generic economic development theories has impoverished millions. As a result of this tragedy, new approaches and methodologies to economic development are emerging, and represent some of the most important, dynamic, and controversial theories in all of economics. This course examines these new perspectives on economic development. We will briefly contextualize the new by reviewing ?old? economic development, then move on to theories that emphasize very place-based, country-specific approaches to how economies develop; this will involve examining the specific roles of capital accumulation, capital flows (including foreign exchange, portfolio capital, foreign direct investment, and microfinance), human capital, governance, institutions (especially property rights, legal systems, and corruption), geography and natural resource endowments, industrial policy (e.g. free trade versus dirigiste policies), and spillovers, clustering, and entrepreneurship. The course will involve a rigorous mix of economic modeling, careful application of empirical data (including both historical analysis and cross-sectional studies; students with no exposure to econometrics will receive a brief introduction) and country studies. Evaluation will be based on classroom participation, responses to reading questions, short essays, and a final project consisting of an economic development country study of the student?s choice that demonstrates application of theoretical concepts to the real world. Level: Intermediate/ Advanced; Prerequisites: One economics course, signature of signature. Class limit: 15. *HS*
HS731Our Public Lands: Past, Present, and Future
By definition "public lands" belong to all of us, yet public lands in this country have a history of use (and abuse) by special interests and a shocking absence of any coherent management strategy for long-term sustainability. This course is taught in seminar format in which students read and discuss several environmental policy and history texts that concern the history and future of our federal lands. We also use primary historic documents and texts to understand the origins of public ownership and management. We examine the legal, philosophical, ecological, and political problems that have faced our National Parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other public lands. An effort is made to sort out the tangle of laws and conflicting policies that govern these public resources. Special attention is given to the historic roots of current policy debates. Evaluation is based upon response papers, a class presentation, participation in class discussions, and a group project looking closely at the historical context and policy implications of a management issue facing a nearby public land unit. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisite: Introductory history or policy class recommended. Lab fee $15. *HS* *HY*
This class will be conducted as a workshop with an emphasis on providing students with an opportunity to engage in various forms of public debate and argumentation. The majority of work related to the class will be spent participating in ?hands on? debate and argument practice. Students will get the chance to take part in wide array of debate formats covering a broad spectrum of topics and themes. In many instances decisions about topics will be student driven and guided by events external to the class. Along with the instructor, students will work together to refine argument structure, strategic argument selection, research practices, presentation skills, and audience analysis. In addition, students will also examine various historical accounts of academic debate practices and the theoretical/social context that gave rise to them. Previous debate and/or public speaking experience is not required. Students of all academic interests and backgrounds are encouraged to participate. Students will be evaluated on their participation in class, completion of process-based assignments, collaboration on team projects, and several individual reports that require outside research. At no point will the final evaluation of students be tied to any standard of what constitutes a "good" debater in a competitive sense. Students who feel that they are less proficient in the areas of argument and public communication should not be worried that this would somehow disadvantage them in terms of grading. While there is no set "lab", this class will require a good deal of time commitment outside of the traditional "classroom" environment. This includes research on the debate topics as well as actual performance time. Level: Introductory. Class limit: 10. *HS*
HS741Advanced International Environmental Law Seminar
This course is designed to provide an overview of the use of international law in solving transnational environmental problems and shaping international behavior. We examine, as background, the nature and limitations of international law as a force for change. The course will then explore customary law, the relationship between soft and hard law, enforcement of international law, implementation mechanisms, and the effectiveness of multilateral environmental agreements. Special attention is given to existing international environmental law frameworks addressing climate change, Arctic and Antarctic development, ozone depletion, biological diversity, forest loss, export of toxic chemicals, and the host of issues raised by the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development and subsequent environmental fora. Students will also consider the interface between international environmental law and other important international forces such as the Bretton Woods institutions, human rights frameworks, and international development entities. Students will be evaluated on the quality of their classroom comments and several analytical problem sets given during the term. Students will also be asked to complete a major research project examining the effectiveness of a treaty or a proposed international environmental legal arrangement. Level: Advanced. Prerequisites: Environmental Law and Policy, Global Environmental Politics, or Signature of Instructor. Class limit: 10. *HS*
HS748The Road To Copenhagen
In December 2009, representatives of the world?s governments, as well as business, labor, religious, environmental, and youth leaders will convene in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The event is significant, as government negotiators will likely be hammering out the final wording of an agreement on national and international actions to address the most serious environmental threat of our time: climate change. In this seminar-style course, students will prepare themselves to be part of this historic gathering. Using the actual negotiating texts, students will become familiar with the most important issues under negotiation. Each student, alone or in pairs, will also be responsible for becoming the class expert(s) on at least one of the issues ? understanding the negotiating history, the range of political positions being expressed in the negotiations, and the technical specifics of the various proposals being considered. Students will share their expertise throughout the term with the entire class through one or more formal presentations. Some attention will also be given throughout the term to the contributions of various non-governmental constituencies ? in particular, business, environmental NGOs, and youth ? to the global politics of climate change, examining how, and how effectively, they engage in the process to enable a meaningful outcome to the governmental negotiations that will culminate at the summit in Copenhagen. Students will be evaluated based on participation in class discussions, their formal in-class presentations, as well as contributions to a collective public blog that will document their experiences at the meeting in Copenhagen. Course level: Intermediate/Advanced. Pre-requisites: Signature of instructor. Lab fee: $10.
HS750Seminar in Yucatec History and Culture
Yucatan is the region of Mexico with a large Yucatec Maya population and a complex history shaped by conquest, colonialism, separatism, and revolutionary upheaval. This course, which will serve as a pre-requisite for the winter term Yucatan program, seeks to familiarize students with the contextual knowledge they will need to work in rural communities of the Peninsula?s Zona Maya, or Maya zone. The course is designed around the question of what you need to know before undertaking research or advocacy in an international setting such as Yucatan as well as preparing students to work in other people?s communities. Readings, exercises, and discussion will provide a rigorous interdisciplinary introduction to the historical and ethnographic scholarship on Yucatan with a particular emphasis on helping students to recognize and master relevant contextual knowledge and specific fieldwork techniques. Students will learn about the history of the region from the conquest to the present as well as learning to examine the dominant historiographies which have shaped scholars? accounts of that history. Similarly, the class will provide an in-depth insight into Yucatec society through a series of classic ethnographic works even as we critically examine ethnographic presumptions and practices. A final research proposal will be a primary product of the course, and it will be the basis of eight-week independent student work in Yucatan. Students will also be evaluated on participation in discussion, discussion leadership, and short essays. Course is limited to students accepted to the Yucatan program. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. *HS* *HY*
HS765Money, Politics and Law
This seminar will provide an intensive examination of the role money plays in influencing politics and government as well as the myriad of laws, policies, and regulations that have been crafted in an attempt to limit this influence. The primary focus of the course will be contemporary campaign finance reform initiatives within the United States at both the federal and state levels. This includes a comprehensive examination of current laws and regulations, the historical setting that gave rise to these policies, possible upcoming challenges to the existing structure, and the viability of proposed alternative modes of electoral financing. In addition to the topical emphasis on law and policy, we will also step back and tackle the broader philosophical issues that arise whenever societies attempt to determine what is, and is not, legitimate "participation" in the democratic process. While the bulks of our case studies will come from within the United States, we will also examine various models of campaign financing from countries around the globe. This will be a reading intensive course driven by in-class discussion and deliberation. In addition to the common focus of the group, students will be encouraged to pursue their own individual research interests related to the topic of money and government. Evaluation will be based on a combination of class participation, periodic short form writing assignments, and a final research project. Interested students should have previous experience with coursework in politics, governance, the legal process, or policymaking. Level: Intermediate; Permission of the instructor is required; *HS*
HS766Afghanistan, Pakistan and India: Crossroads of Conflict
This is a reading course that will culminate with a trip to the annual foreign affairs conference in Camden, ME. The conference features experts from all over the world talking on a range of topics connected with US relations with Afghanistan. It is based on the assumption that no assessment or understanding of the situation in Afghanistan can be separated from attention to critical factors and developments in neighboring Pakistan which in turn leads to a focus upon the complex and volatile relations between Pakistan and India. Topics include: India?s internal coherence and stability after another year of global recession; who are the Afghans in cultural, political and religious terms?; political and military stability in Pakistan and its attempts to curb radical elements. Basic background reading on India, Afghanistan and India will expand to the more specific questions on inter-country relationships and US Foreign policy. Evaluation: Students will be asked to participate and lead discussions based on specific questions that will be given to them for each class (the material will come from the extensive readings they are required to do). In addition, students will be asked to write a paper on one of the themes in the conference (to be submitted at the end of the course). They will also be asked to write an evaluation of the Camden Conference: in specific how and why how it expanded (or did not expand) their understanding of the subject. Level: Advanced; Class limit: 10; Lab fee: $100
HS774Oceans & Fishes: Readings in Environmental History
This course will explore the rapidly expanding field of marine environmental history and historical studies that focus on fish and fisheries. Recent methodological and conceptual work as well as growing interest in the history of these topics driven by conservation and policy issues has made this an important and innovative field. Using the work of a variety of scholars from different fields the class will explore how historical accounts can be constructed with an emphasis on the types of available sources, the use of evidence, and how each author builds their argument. We will explicitly compare the methods, use of evidence and other aspects of different disciplinary approaches to the topic to highlight the strengths and limitations of each approach. This dimension of the class is particularly interesting because of the dynamic and interdisciplinary nature of scholarship right now that brings a wide range of research into dialogue. Students will learn about the history of oceans and fishes by looking at how historians and other scholars frame their works and make their arguments. Students will be evaluated on their preparation for discussion, mastery of the material, short written assignments, and a final project made up of a presentation and essay. This course is appropriate for students with interest in history, community-based research, marine studies, and environmental policy. Students who are just curious and interested in lots of things are also most welcome. Level: Intermediate. Class limit: 15 Lab Fee $75.00 *HS* *HY*
HS782Tutorial: Advanced Seminar in Human Ecology
The purpose of this tutorial is to review the many uses of the term ?human ecology?. It begins with an historical review of the academic and intellectual origins of human ecology. From these foundations, we proceed through the development of more interdisciplinary approaches to human ecology --- working with primary source materials (e.g., books, articles, position papers, academic program descriptions and related documents). We will further explore the activities of various regional, national and international associations and the aims of leading educational institutions. Assignments and discussions will revolve around several current problems that face human ecology. In particular, we will focus on: various theoretical controversies within and between biological and human ecology; issues and proposed methods of inter-disciplinary problem-solving, planning and application; and the growth of professional opportunities in human ecology worldwide. Evaluations will be based on careful reading and review of assigned materials, participation in discussions, individual papers and a collaborative group project. Level: Advanced; Permission of instructor required; Class limit: 3 Permission of instructor required.
Climate change is one of the largest and most difficult challenges faced by contemporary societies. The challenge has multiple facets: environmental, social, political, economic - each with its own complexities. This course focuses primarily on the social, political and economic components of the climate problem, framed by the concept of climate justice. In the introductory section of the course students are introduced to basic conceptions of justice, the latest findings of climate science and possible impacts on regional scales, as well as the ongoing intergovernmental climate negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The main body of the course is dedicated to understanding the concept and implementation of climate justice: how the costs of climate change impacts and efforts to address climate change could or should be distributed between rich and poor, global north and global south, and what are the possible means whereby those costs might be collectively addressed through an intergovernmental agreement. Students will be evaluated based on regular quizzes, several short papers, class participation, and a final synthetic paper or project. Level: Introductory. Lab fee: $10. *HS*
Are we approaching a point of radical change in human history in which exponential technological change will result in a "singularity", a transformation so rapid and fundamental that we will not be able to comprehend it? What will be the principal features of life on Earth in the mid-future - 20 to 40 years from now - and how should we best plan to deal with them? To what extent will they be the result of unavoidable historical trends, human planning and invention, or random contingencies? What skills and methods can we learn to imagine the future, invent it, predict it, plan for it and/or cope with it? This is an advanced course in human ecology that will adopt a very interdisciplinary approach. It will include readings in public policy by social scientists and futurists like Ray Kurzweil, Alvin Toffler, Otto Scharmer and James Martin as well as works in fiction and film. Classes will combine a seminar format for critical discussions of readings with exercises in using different methods for dealing with the future. These will include a weekend workshop in futures invention using methods developed by Warren Ziegler and Elise Boulding. This workshop will be open to public participation. Members of the COA community interested in renewing the College curriculum are especially encouraged to participate. Students will be expected to take part in leading seminar sessions, develop reports on alternative approaches to dealing with the future and visions of it, and do a major final project. The final project should a vision/description of some key features of a desired, possible future and strategies for promoting it. It may use interdisciplinary theories, predictive models, narrative, visual art or other creative approaches to developing it. Standards of evaluation will presume intermediate to advanced levels of competency in the disciplines used in the final project. There will be a weekly lab session. Level: Advanced. Pre-requisites: Signature of instr
HS794Food, Power and Justice
This course will examine power and politics in the food system: which actors hold power over resources, decision-making and markets, which actors want to hold more power, and how they are contesting or defending their respective positions. We will study the role of social movements, as well as governmental and non-governmental actors, in domestic and international food systems. Students will learn to identify the main actors in food politics and discover how to track their actions and agendas. They will also gain experience in conference organizing, teamwork, and public speaking. Students will be evaluated on demonstrated ability (and growth or deepening of ability) in thoughtful and respectful classroom participation, small group interaction, writing and public speaking. Level: Introductory/Intermediate Class Limit: 15
HS795Advanced Seminar in Economics: Globalization
This seminar will use the topic of economic globalization as a context in which to learn, tinker with, and critique a wide range of microeconomic, macroeconomic, and economic development theories, models, and empirical evidence. There is no general economic theory of globalization, so our coverage will necessarily be eclectic, selective, and largely based on student interests. As a departure point for using economics to explore the contours of globalization, we will employ a rubric encompassing five themes: 1) fundamental processes (such as economic growth and population dynamics) that lead to economic globalization; 2) studies of the flows of economic inputs and products (addressing capital flows and controls, migration and remittances, international commodity markets, and trade and trade imbalances); 3) the institutions and governance that influence economic globalization (such as pre- and post-colonial institutions, corporate structure and governance, and the roles of the IMF and WTO); 4) inequality (addressing global class structure, foreign aid and sovereign debt, and gender issues); and 5) crises (currency crises and contagion, the recent financial crisis). Evaluation will be based on participation in extensive discussions in and out of the classroom, submission of pr?s and problem sets, and a synthetic capstone essay. Level: Advanced. Prerequisites: courses in intermediate economics and international issues or equivalent, and permission of instructor. *HS*
HS798Practical Skills in Community Development
In rural areas throughout the world, citizens, non-profit leaders, agency staff, and elected officials are coming together to frame complex issues and bring about change in local policy and practice. This course will outline the theory and practice of community development, drawing on the instructor's experience with the D?as Project for sustainable community development in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Mount Desert Island Tomorrow, and other examples in the literature. In short, community development allows community members to frame issues, envision a preferred future, and carry out projects that move the community toward that preferred future. Class participants link with on- going citizen committees and projects in the areas of community design, land use planning, transportation, community health, housing, economic development, and youth empowerment. Students will gain practical community skills in listening, designing effective meetings, facilitation, framing complex public issues, project planning and development of local policy. Readings, discussions and guests will introduce students to community development theory and practice. Class projects will be connected to community issues on Mount Desert Island. Short written papers will provide opportunity to reflect on class content, community meetings, newspaper stories and reading assignments. This class is designed to include both COA students and community members. Evaluation will be based on preparation for and participation in class discussion, several short papers, participation in field work, and contribution to a successful group project. Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Class limit: 15. Lab fee: $20.
HS811Hunger, Food Security and Food Sovereignty
Meeting future food needs has risen to the top of the global agenda since 2008, when sudden surges in the cost of staple foods led to riots in many countries and an increase to over one billion people worldwide who could not access enough food for a healthy diet. This course will examine food crises and famines in history and today: what caused historical famines, and what is causing more recent price volatility? What is different about today's food crises? What measures have been proposed to reduce the number of hungry and feed insecure people, and how effective are they? How do we know? This will be a service learning class, in which each student will choose an organization that is trying to tackle hunger and food insecurity with which to serve. We will be working carefully with host organizations to ensure that students are able to contribute meaningfully and learn from their contributions. Evaluation will be based on class participation, a service-learning project, and regular reflection papers. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisites: None. Lab fee: $50. Class limit: 16. *HS*
HS813Environmental Law and Policy
This course provides an overview of environmental law and the role of law in shaping environmental policy. We examine, as background, the nature and scope of environmental, energy, and resource problems and evaluate the various legal mechanisms available to address those problems. The course attempts to have students critically analyze the role of law in setting and implementing environmental policy. We explore traditional common law remedies, procedural statutes such as the National Environmental Policy Act, intricate regulatory schemes, and market-based strategies that have been adopted to control pollution and protect natural resources. Students are exposed to a wide range of environmental law problems in order to appreciate both the advantages and limitations of law in this context. Special attention is given to policy debates currently underway and the use of the legal process to foster the development of a sustainable society in the United States. Students are required to complete four problem sets in which they apply legal principles to a given fact scenario. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Prerequisites: Introduction to the Legal Process or Philosophy of the Constitution strongly recommended. Offered at least every other year. Class limit: 20. Lab fee $20. *HS*
HS821International Financial Institutions
International financial institutions (IFI) such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the regional development banks mobilize significant resources for both public and private sector investment in developing countries. Beyond this central role in lending and grant making to developing countries, the Global Environment Facility of the World Bank serves as the financial mechanism for major environmental treaties, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. What exactly are these institutions - how do they operate and who controls them? Why were they created and how have they come to be so powerful? The course will examine the history of the institutions, their governance structures, and their mechanisms of operation. Special attention will be paid to their role in the debt crisis and the subsequent era of structural adjustment lending, civil society critiques of the environmental and social impacts of bank lending, and the role and operation of the Global Environment Facility as financial mechanism for the environmental conventions. Readings will include primary documents of the IFIs themselves as well as decisions of the governing bodies of the UN conventions. We will also read both academic and civil society analyses and critiques of IFI lending. Evaluation will be based on class discussion as well as several problem sets assigned throughout the term and a final analytical paper. Level: Intermediate/advanced. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Students should have course background in international politics and/or economics. Class limit: 15. Lab fee: $10. *HS*
HS823Tutorial: Selected Themes in Ecological Economics
This advanced tutorial explores selected themes in ecological economics, which is both the economics of sustainability as well as a paradigmatic approach distinct from the mainstream neoclassical approach to the study of economic activity. We will use the first several weeks of the term to define and outline ecological economics. We will use the remainder of the term to explore topics of student interest, focusing on three to five major themes; possible themes include methodological issues (post-normal science, transdisciplinarity), biophysical constraints to economic growth (entropy, technological pessimism, capital substitution, critical natural capital), sociocultural impacts of economic growth (consumption, happiness studies), energy and resource flow analysis (entropy), measurement issues (growth versus development, ecological footprint, Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare), institutional arrangements (biodiversity protection, climate change economics), trade and development (embodied trade, pollution havens), community sustainability (philosophical issues (Buddhist economics, homo economicus), and historical issues of sustainability (Malthusian perspectives, Jevon's Paradox). Evaluation will be via a "gateway" exam at the end of the introductory phase, article pr's, and a final poster presentation. Level: Advanced. Prerequisites: one term intermediate economics and instructor permission; students will be expected to come to the tutorial with a firm grasp of neoclassical methods and assumptions. Class limit: 5. Lab fee: none.
HS825COA's Foodprint: Our Local Food System
The food supply for most cities and small towns in the US depends on foods raised as efficiently as possible, manufactured into forms that are less perishable, and shipped long distances from centralized warehouses. This food system is largely responsible for some of the nation?s largest and most troubling environmental and social challenges, from water pollution to obesity to climate change. This course is designed to provide students with the background and skills to analyze local food systems by examining the "backstory" and impacts of food system choices at COA. Where does COA's food come from? Can we produce more of our own food? Should we? What are the impacts of the food purchasing and consumption decisions we make at COA, and what is the rationale and regulations behind purchasing decisions? How do impacts differ when foods are sourced from COA's farms, locally, within the state, or internationally? Students in this class will work with dining hall and farm managers to analyze current practices and examine alternatives. The particular emphasis of this course will vary from year to year, and students will build on analyses done in previous years. Topics and issues addressed may include: life-cycle analysis to compare environmental and social impacts of different production and consumption options; basic nutrition principles; food standards and regulations, especially as they apply to campus dining facilities; motivations for food choices and how people acquire them; social marketing; and local supply and demand for food grown with environmentally- or socially-responsible methods (including foods grown on COA's farms). In carrying out research projects, students will learn skills such as: descriptive statistics and data analysis, life-cycle analysis, survey design and interpretation, and qualitative research methods. Surveys and exploration of social marketing will provide opportunities to consider ethical research guidelines and apply for institutional review.
This course seeks to give students knowledge of macroeconomic theories, models, and concepts. Emphasis will be evenly placed on both formal modeling and intuitive approaches to understanding economic phenomena; an understanding of the relatively formal, abstract macroeconomic models of neoclassical economics will be used to provide a framework for discussion about contemporary macroeconomic phenomena and policy responses. Topics will include unemployment and inflation, fiscal and monetary policy, consumption and savings, economic growth, business cycles, monetary theory and banking systems, balance of payments and international macroeconomics, along with topics of student interest. Evaluation will be based on problem sets, quizzes, and classroom participation. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisites: one term of college economics, or instructor permission. Class limit: 15. Lab fee: none. *HS*
We hear regularly about "ecosystems", the "health care system", the "public educational system", the "food system" and the "global financial system". But what is a system, and what is "systems thinking"? The latter has become a buzz-word in many fields, put forward as a way to achieve breakthroughs in dealing with entrenched problems. Certainly systemic problems require systemic solutions; but this does not imply that all problems are best solved with holistic or systems thinking. This course will parse different systems into their generic components, examine when and where systems thinking is useful and appropriate, and explore how this approach can provide insights in various fields. It will begin with general elements of systems thinking, such as stocks; information, energy and material flows; feedback loops; and regulatory mechanisms. It will proceed to examine specific systems, such as those dealing with health care, food, and education, and students will learn first-hand through panel presentation show various actors within a system view barriers and leverage points for systems change differently. Students will experiment with simple computer-aided systems modeling. They will have the opportunity to model a system of their choice, and draft papers about leverage points for changing this system. We will interact with visiting staff from Elm Farm Organic Research Centre (ORC) in England on setting up systems research projects on COA's farms, and take advantage of distance learning resources that ORC provides on the farming systems approach. Evaluation will be based on class participation, final project and reading critiques. Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Prerequisites: none. Class limit: 16. Lab fee: none. *HS*
HS841Tutorial: Possible Future Paradigms
This tutorial explore the possibilities for very deep change in humanity?s framework for understanding and existing in the world. What are alternatives to the dominant paradigms of today and how can we best understand these alternatives? What might life on earth might be like in the near future? How will people live? How will people think? How will people organize themselves? Who will have power? What will we value? How and what will people eat and consume? How do paradigms shift? Will there even be a new dominant paradigm? How will we get there - by force or by choice? As the tutorial proceeds we will progressively focus the alternatives considered, the questions focused on and the ways in which they are dealt with based on student interest, findings in research and analysis we develop as a group. Members of the tutorial will meet weekly with the professor to discuss readings and short response papers. Mid-way through the term they will conduct interviews with an array of faculty and students. They will also aim to have a weekly open forum for discussion with members of the COA community at large, to provide wider perspective and more ideas. The final project will be for students to craft a large scale concept/idea map of the material encountered in the term which will include their own vision of a future world. Students will be evaluated on the extent to which their comments in discussion and in the weekly open forums, their response papers and their final projects demonstrate: a thorough and critical reading of texts; a progressively deeper grasp of the contents of the texts; the ability to articulate and analyze systems of ideas cogently; the ability to think creatively and concretely about alternative futures paradigms; the ability to write clear, effective, analytic texts; and an ability to design and pursue independent lines of inquiry and self-directed learning on their own.
HS845Redefining Food Systems Efficiency
"Efficiency" has been the driver and justification for agricultural innovation in industrialized societies, including the United States, over the past 60 years. Efficiency has meant in practice the replacement of human labor with synthetic chemicals, petroleum and mechanization. The results have been dramatic increases in production and productivity, but also massive displacement of the rural population to cities, the death of rural communities, environmental degradation, scale changes in agriculture, and growing contributions from agriculture to global environmental change. Thinking about "efficiency" in the long term, rather than with its common short-term meaning, would incorporate the full costs of agricultural practices, such as their impacts on the environment, animal welfare, rural communities, and the possibility of making a decent living as a farmer or wage worker in agriculture. This course will examine the most innovative practices in the Northeast that point toward long-term food system efficiency and sustainability. Participating students in Maine will examine the Northeastern food system and its current issues in depth through films, research and interviews with practicioners. Students will document what they learn and combine their interviews and documentation into the story of food system innovation in the Northeast. Course lectures will be videotaped for students in England and Germany who take the course through distance learning. COA students will interact with British and Germany students to allow comparisons of how young people in different industrialized countries think about sustainability and long-term efficiency in the food system, as well as comparisons of the actual practices and the level of innovation across countries and across food system sectors. Evaluation will be based on class participation, essays and assignments, and participation with students in England and Germany. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Prerequisites: some expe
HS851Tutorial: Advanced Climate Policy
HS857The United States in the 21st Century World: End of Empire?
This is a reading intensive course that is tied to the annual "Camden Conference" held in Camden, Maine. This three day conference brings in experts from all over the world to discuss a range of topics related to foreign policy, international relations, and diplomacy. Over the past several years, College of the Atlantic has developed a relationship with the conference that enables our students to engage the various events over the full three days. Every year highlights a particular theme, with a new set of focused panel discussions, speakers, and readings. The topic of this year's conference is "The U.S. in a 21st Century World: Do We Have What it Takes?" Some of the anticipated discussion sessions will involve the following questions: What will it take to be an economic superpower in the Twenty-First Century? What are the likely threats the U. S. will face in the Twenty-First Century? Does American society have what it takes to be a Twenty-First Century "world citizen?" Is the US still the "indispensible nation" to help resolve seemingly intractable problems? What skills will Americans need to remain competitive in the Twenty-First Century? How secure is the energy future of the U.S.? How does gridlock in Washington affect US foreign policy? What is the role of media in influencing foreign policy? This class is built to parallel the thematic cornerstones of this year's Camden topic. We will cover some of these topics in depth, leave off others, and add a few of our own. It is modeled as a reading intensive and discussion based seminar that will include works from both the conference reading list as well as supplemental works that I have added. The goals of the class are twofold. First, to prepare students to attend and play an active role in the conference (attendance is a requirement of the class) by providing them a background immersion in the topics that are at the center of this year's conference. Secondly, to assist students returning from the conferen
HS858Global Politics of Sustainable Development: 20 yrs after Rio
The Earth Summit that took place in Rio in 1992 defined the following two decades of global cooperation on environment and development issues. This course serves to review the history of those two decades and prepare students to be active participants in the UN review conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012. Students will read primary documents from the original conference and the 10-year review conference (the World Summit on Sustainable Development), and preparatory documents for the upcoming summit. They will examine positions of the main country blocs and the contributions of major UN specialized agencies (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, UN Development Program and UN Environment Program). A central axis for study and analysis of documents and positions will be the political economy of sustainable development. Evaluation will be based on class discussions, weekly written summaries of information contained in readings, and a final presentation or analytical paper on a topic of their choosing. Course level: Introductory/Intermediate. Prerequisites: none. Class limit: 15. Lab fee: none. *HS*
HS863Water Worlds: Culture and Fluidity
This advanced/ intermediate socio-cultural theory course examines human ecological relationships in a variety of watery spaces. In the humanities and social sciences, oceans, seas, rivers, and watersheds have recently emerged as particularly productive units of socio-cultural analysis. In contrast to the boundedness that can pervade area studies, these "water worlds" convey both the fluidity of cultural connections and the richness and detail of deep historical and ethnographic research. Moreover, water worlds help us consider people in their engagements with ecosystems and geographies. This course centers on a variety of watery regions, including the Mediterranean, the Pacific, river life in the Amazon, The Caribbean, the Black Sea, the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, and human/ microbial relationships under the ocean. Topics addressed will include: the constructing of regions, critical approaches to geography, alternatives to globalization theories, and postcolonial theory. Intended for students who want to hone their chops in social-cultural analysis and/or those interested in the topic itself. All enrolled students MUST be prepared to read and discuss dense, complex material in cultural studies and social theory and should have background in learning to think and write analytically. Students will be evaluated on participation in class discussion and on outside written assignments. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor. Lab fee: none. Class limit: 15 *HS*
HS882Acadia: Exploring the National Park IdeaUsing Acadia National Park as a case study, this course will explore the various facets of "the national park idea" and what it means for Americans in terms of history and identity. Through direct experiences in one of the "crown jewels" of the park system, the class will examine the historical, ecological, cultural, social, legal, economic, and spiritual context in which national parks are formed and continue to exist in the 21st century. We will work with National Park Service professionals to look at various aspects of park management and day-to-day challenges of implementing the "national park idea." Through weekly field trips, journaling, service learning opportunities, and projects, we will be immersed in the management and experience of Acadia. We will explore, through reading and writing, the broader themes of wilderness preservation, attitudes toward nature, the history of conservation, and the commodification of nature. This experiential class is specifically geared toward first Year students and they will be given preference for enrollment. Assignments will include journal writing, short exercises, a group project/service learning opportunity, short presentations, and papers.
Level: Introductory. Prerequisites: none. Class limit: 24. Lab fee: $40. *HS*
HS886Advanced Seminar in Ecological Economics
HS889Tutorial: Revisiting The Lakes and Ponds of Mt. Desert
"The Downeast Guide to the Lakes and Ponds of Mt. Desert" was published in 1989. Since that time, the use, physical aspects, and management of the water bodies have changed. In this tutorial, students will work with "Lakes and Ponds" author Bill Newlin and faculty member Ken Cline to update, revise, and see through to publication, a second edition of this definitive guide to the fresh water on Mt. Desert Island. Initial tasks will involve a careful review of the existing text to determine aspects that require updating. Students will then research specific lakes and ponds for new material or other information that reflects the changes that have occurred in the past 23 years. Students will document these changes in text, photography, cartography, or other artistic means depending on interest and ability. A significant amount of time will be devoted to coordination with the cartographer, the book designer, and others involved in the production and publication of the book. This tutorial will allow students both to learn about Mt. Desert Island and some of its most precious resources while refining research and writing skills as well as learn the organizational, planning, and collaborative skills necessary to publish a book. Students will be evaluated on contributions to the final volume, quality of research, timeliness of product, and collaborative effort.
Level: Advanced. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Class limit: 5. Lab fee: none.
HS911Current Topics in Climate Politics: Warsaw COP19
HS912Tutorial: FAO Committee on World Food Security
According to the Chair of the Pew Oceans Commission, "America's oceans are in a state of crisis. Pollution, unplanned coastal development, and the loss of fisheries, habitat, and wildlife threaten the health of the oceans and the tens of thousands of jobs that form the backbone of coastal communities." This course will provide a general understanding of both marine resources and current regional, national, and international policy regarding these resources. Because oceans and the life they support transcend national and state boundaries, the course will explore international, national, and local oceanpolicy-making frameworks, including specific legislation addressing fisheries, coastal development, species protection, pollution, and resource extraction. We will examine some of the controversies that exist in marine environments today using historical case studies of ocean management policy. These case studies include management of Atlantic salmon, tuna-dolphin interactions, off-shore oil drilling, and New England fisheries. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of these problems, it is necessary to understand how scientists and policy makers think about the same issues, how they attempt to solve problems, and how these two views can be brought together successfully. Assessment will include several question sets, a final small group paper and presentation that investigates a current marine policy issue, and class participation. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Prerequisites: Background in the biological sciences and environmental policy and permission of Instructors. Course fee $20.
Policy & Planning Faculty
- Richard Borden
B.A. University of Texas
Ph.D. Psychology, Kent State University
» Course areas: environmental psychology, community planning and decision making, personality and social development, contemporary psychology, and philosophy of human ecology
- Kenneth Cline
B.A. Hiram College
J.D. Law, Case Western Reserve University
» Course areas: public policy and environmental law, with an emphasis on parks, wildlife, watershed and river conservation
- Isabel Mancinelli
B.S. Catholic University of America
M.L.A. Landscape Architecture, Harvard University
» Course areas: community and regional planning, landscape architecture
- Davis F. Taylor
B.S. United States Military Academy
M.S. University of Oregon
Ph.D. Economics, University of Oregon
» Course areas: ecological economics, community sustainability, alternative economic development
- Gordon Longsworth
B.A. College of the Atlantic
M.R.P. Planning, University of Pennsylvania
» Course areas: geographic information systems, land use planning
- Ron Beard
B.S. University of Maine
M.S. Agricultural and Resource Economics
» Course areas: collaborative leadership, community planning and decision making, skills in community development and non-profit management