The following programs of study are offered through Albion College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment.
Environmental Science Major
The 10-unit environmental science major provides broad exposure to environmental sciences at the introductory level, focused work in science at the upper level, and a set of cognates designed to show the social and humanistic context in which scientists work.
Students completing the environmental studies major will gain a deep understanding of the complex relationships among natural and social systems, as well as a proficiency in the analytical, rhetorical and creative skills necessary to perceive the wonders of the natural and human worlds and to solve the environmental challenges we face in the twenty-first century.
Note: This major is currently under revision. Please contact Timothy Lincoln, CSE director, for further information.
This major offers an opportunity for Albion students to participate in an international, interdisciplinary program that is grounded in the social sciences and designed for students who are engaged in today’s and tomorrow’s sustainability challenges.
Some environmental careers are practiced primarily in one field of science. Students interested in pursuing such careers should consider the option of a science major with an environmental science concentration. It is strongly advised that students talk with science faculty in choosing their option.
The environmental studies concentration is designed for students who have an interest in environmental issues and plan careers in related fields. The choice of courses for this concentration is more open than in the environmental science concentration, due to the varying interests and backgrounds of the students who choose this option. Participating students may pursue a major in any field. Students who complete this concentration might, for example, enter science journalism or work for environmental advocacy groups.
The 2013 CSE trip was to New Mexico, where we investigated several themes, water management in a water-poor area, administration of public park land, effects of climate change on civilizations, and, intertwined throughout, the way the history of the many cultures in the region shape the present state of affairs.
Rio Grande and Water
Early in the trip. We spent a morning with Albion Geology Field camp alumna Page Pegram, now with the Office of the State Engineer’s Interstate Water commission. Page met us in the bosque along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque and explained some of the complexities of complying with interstate water agreements, protecting endangered species and conserving as much water as possible for New Mexico residents.
Native American History and Cultures
Our look at the long and important history of Native Americans began with a visit to the Chaco Culture National Historic Park, arguably the most fabulous archeological site in North America and also one of the most enigmatic. Real questions persist, with discussion of both how the civilization flourished in such a demanding environment and why the area was ultimately abandoned. The relationships among people, culture and climate are central to this discussion. We also visited Bandelier National Monument where more recent Pueblo cliff dwellings are well preserved, and Sky City at Acoma Pueblo, where modern descendants of the Chacoans still live in the longest continuously inhabited community in the country. Finally, we visited the Four Corners Power Plant, one of the most polluting plants in the nation, and considered the complex relationship between the plant and the Navajo Nation, in which it is located.
Dr. Tim Lincoln
Q&A with Tim Lincoln
Students should join CSE because…
"I don't know of any other program that offers such a diverse curriculum and wide range of hands-on experiences. We offer three majors and two concentrations so that students are prepared for a variety of career options when they graduate, and we develop the skills necessary for them to be effective leaders."
Tim’s Best Advice
"Get involved! There are so many opportunities for you to make an impact. Students who find the time to be involved in projects have no problem finding their way into meaningful careers."
Why Tim loves being the Center’s Director
"I enjoy talking to prospective students about the opportunities our program offers, working with students on projects like the Student Farm, and following the careers of our alumni. It’s deeply rewarding. Some of the most interesting things I have seen in my life have been on our field trips."
On his favorite class field trip
"While in Oregon, we hiked the Cascade Mountains, studied sustainable urban development in Portland, looked at ecological research and forest management in the Andrews Experimental Forest, found inspiration in organic farms, spent a day discussing coastal zone management issues with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and embarked on two scenic train rides on the Empire Builder."
Our field trips are significant because…
"Students are given an opportunity to actually experience different ecosystems of the U.S. They get to see the environmental issues that are happening and get to speak with professionals that are working to resolve them. Friendships and memories are formed on these trips that will last a lifetime."
During a May trip to New Mexico, CSE students learned about arid-land agriculture at the Pueblo Bonito Great House in Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They also looked at modern-day energy challenges at a coal-fired power plant and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Albion College celebrates a Year of Sustainability in 2013-14.