Environmental Programs Steering Committee

November 3, 1998

1044 Duncan 3:45-5:15pm


Joyce Almaguer
Kathy Ensor
Arthur Few
Paul Harcombe
Priscilla Huston (staff)
Walter Isle (chair)
Bill Leeman
Mark Wiesner
Gordon Wittenberg

Not present:

Donald Ostdiek 


1. Meeting dates

We decided on the following meetings for the remainder of the Fall 1998 semester:

  • Tuesday November 17th
  • Thursday December 3rd
  • Tuesday December 15th

Priscilla Huston will find a meeting location for December 3rd. {It will be 3076 Duncan Hall.}

2. November 12, 1998 Reception

The reception will take place at the Faculty Club Lounge 4:30-6pm on November 12th. Priscilla Huston will coordinate with the Faculty Club to provide food and drinks.

Priscilla Huston will print up General Announcements page for handout.

Priscilla, Mark and Bill will work to prepare the website for distribution.

We discussed the faculty list and committee members agreed to give Priscilla Huston additional names and information. We selected an invitation to send to the faculty. Priscilla will send it, receive rsvps, and follow-up with an email message on Monday. Nametags will be available. Members of the committee will personally greet invited others.

3. Biosphere 2

Walter Isle will be visiting Biosphere 2 the end of the week.

Biosphere 2 is a Rice academic program. We need to design and support a Rice website that also points to the Biosphere 2 website.

We discussed issues with Rice credit for Biosphere 2 courses. Walter Isle will talk with the registrar about several options including , encouraging departments to keep an environmental programs placeholder, changing the name of a course, etc. He will also consider invite the registrar and the chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee to a meeting in the future.

Although we have 5 students considering the spring semester at Biosphere 2, we are not concerned about the possibility of having more than five students at this time.

 4. Website

Bill Leeman, Mark Wiesner and Priscilla will work with Alan Thornhill to prepare the website for November 12th.

5. Hewlett Freshman Seminar program and other courses.

The committee discussed issues and options for a proposal for a Hewlett Freshman Seminar. Questions were asked about how the funding could be used. It appears there are lots of options from summer salary to course resources and that the proposers should specify their needs. There was some discussion about the difficulties of organizing collaborative course experiences and the possibility of having a Post Doc or someone else involved to help with the course management. A list of four potential topics was distributed: "The Environment for the Environment at Rice," "Global Warming," "When Nature Has Its Say," and "Human Population"

6. Announcements and Handouts:

Call for papers from the North American Interdisciplinary Conference on Environment and Community February 11-13, 1999 in Ogden Utah. See catsis.weber.edu/wildmcvause for more information.

University 303: The impact of CO2: Science, Society, and Policy &emdash; new course that is being taught by Arthur Few and Don Ostdiek

Hewlett Memorandum soliciting proposals for First-Year Seminar Pilot Program 1999-2000 and four possible suggestions

Biosphere 2 Possible Earth Semester Course Credit for Comparable Rice Courses

Reminder that Don Ostdiek will be coordinating candidate visits and the committee should try to attend.

7. Speakers (not addressed this time)

This is an area where we really need to maintain a calendar. Priscilla Huston will start one and the committee will contribute information and help to keep it uptodate.

a) Bill Leeman will confirm date for Joel Schwartz

b) Paul Harcombe is looking into:

  • Don Kennedy
  • John Elder
  • Sarah Creighton

c) Arthur Few will look into inviting John Firor (Global Climate Change) and Judith Jacobson (who is coming to Houston for the Environmental Conference on Feb 5-6)

d) Walter Isle is looking into inviting Scott Slovic from the Center for Environment in Reno.

e) Walter reported that Randy Hanson can arrange to have Environmental Historian, Alfred Crosby from UT Austin, speak.

 8. Review of where we are and where we are heading (not addressed this time)

Action Item: Reread the Environmental Strategic Planning Report for the next meeting on November 17th meeting in 1044 Duncan Hall at 3:45pm.