||LOVE 201: Understanding Environmental Issues |
An inderdisciplinary perspective
LOVE 201 Background
Return to LoveBake Home Page
The idea for LoveBake (LOVE 201/BAKE 202) arose as a result of conversations among members of an environmental discussion group which meets regularly at Baker College. The proposed course is organized around a series of topical modules, each of which is multidisciplinary in nature. Over a dozen Rice faculty or alumni are committed to participate in this course (1) as regular attendees (whereby we can maintain the broadest possible perspective in discussions) and (2) as organizers of the various modules.
- Overarching question -
How will humanity transition into the next century in the face of growing population and environmental problems? The following aspects will be implemented in the context of group activities:
- Evaluation - what is the nature of the evidence for the perceived changes?
- Assessment - what needs to be changed to alleviate the anticipated problems?
- Action plans - how can we realistically implement those changes to facilitate the transition?
- Environmental awareness - Our objective is to survey selected important environmental issues facing humanity in the next few decades. Their complex nature dictates that these issues be considered in an interdisciplinary manner if there is to be comprehensive understanding and appropriate public reaction. Thus, we have organized a diverse group of faculty - from the humanities, the social sciences, and the science-engineering-technology sector - to develop a series of topical study modules focusing on specific issues, each of which has serious implications concerning the future well-being of mankind and the planet. Topics will be examined from opposing viewpoints to understand the underlying factual and perceptual bases.
- Interdisciplinary communication - Students and faculty will work together, occasionally in teams, to enhance the study of environmental issues from diverse perspectives. Most of the faculty participants will regularly attend class meetings and contribute to discussions, thus providing a role model for interdisciplinary approaches to complex societal problems.
- Educational experimentation - Given ongoing discourse about further development of environmental curricula at Rice (including plans for double majors in combination with existing departmental and divisional programs), our effort may serve as a prototype for a formal interdisciplinary course at the introductory level.
- Each module will involve an exercise, assignment, short paper, or group (team) activity with presentation or report. Faculty organizers of the respective modules will be responsible for designing these activities.
- Students will be expected to maintain a comprehensive notebook with all handouts, complete and neat class notes, exercises and assignments (including 'working notes' as well as the final products of all assignments).
- The notebook should contain a record of all activities related to the course, along with a calendar and diary/log of time spent working on the course. This notebook will be graded on the basis of completeness, organization, and value added by the student (readings, work, commentary, etc. beyond materials distributed in class).
- Because of the experimental nature of this new course, we will also ask participating students for their personal evaluations and suggestions for improvements.
- Course participants will prioritize environmental issues and select topics for the second semester sequel course (see below).
BAKE 202 (Spring semester) will be a more in-depth workshop type course wherein a few selected environmental issues are studied in greater detail. (e.g., a sustainable city, a sustainable world, environmental systems analysis, man & environment - an evolutionary view, 'first' vs. 'third' world perspectives on environmental issues, etc.). In fact, one of the objectives of LOVE 201 is to have the students and faculty develop the concepts for this sequel course. It likely will be more research-oriented and involve interdisciplinary teams of students working to find solutions to a few selected environmental problems. In both courses we want to move away from the "sky is falling" approach to environmental issues and come to grips with "how do we get from where we are to where we want to be."
To print a summary description of the course:
Link to version without spinning globe to get a clean copy.
Please forward any questions, comments, or suggestions to either Bill Leeman (Lovett College) or Arthur Few (Baker College).
click here to return to Bill's Home Page.
Updated: 3 Sept 97