Environmental Programs Steering Committee

October 27, 1998

201 Mudd 3:45-5:15pm


Joyce Almaguer
Arthur Few
Paul Harcombe
Priscilla Huston (staff)
Walter Isle (chair)
Bill Leeman
Donald Ostdiek
Gordon Wittenberg

Not present:

Kathy Ensor
Mark Wiesner




1. Meeting dates

We discussed the possibility of moving future meetings to Thursday afternoons. We will meet next Tuesday as planned in 1044 Duncan Hall but Priscilla Huston will look into moving the following dates:

November 17th to November 19th
December 1
st to December 3rd
December 15th to December 17th

Paul Harcombe will let Priscilla know if BIOS 133B is a possible meeting location.


2. November 12, 1998 Reception

The reception will take place at Baker House from 4:30-6pm on November 12th. Priscilla Huston will coordinate with the Rice Catering Service and Joan and Arthur Few to provide food and drinks.

The purpose of the reception is:

  • Recognition of contributions to Rice Environmental Programs
  • Encourage informal discussion both among the environmental faculty and with the steering committee
  • Consider ways to involve more faculty

We will work to prepare the website for distribution at that time. It will include a summary of the Strategic Plan (Leeman and Few) as well as descriptions of the various programs (Isle). The committee will also work to describe its mission and goals more clearly.

We plan to send a paper invitation to the faculty list involved in environmental programs following our meeting next Tuesday, November 3rd. Priscilla will draft this invitation, send it, and follow-up with an email message. {are spouses invited?} An RSVP will be suggested either via email or campus mail. Nametags will be available. Members of the committee will personally greet invited others.


3. Biosphere 2 Videoconference Monday October 26th 5:15pm-7pm

Excellent turnout of students (about 50). We created and have distributed a list of those students who signed in. Walter Isle will keep them informed about deadlines, procedures, etc.

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


4. Website

Bill Leeman will join Priscilla Huston and Mark Wiesner in working on the website. Bill and Arthur will look into summary statements of the Strategic Plan. Walter Isle will provide information about applying for Biosphere 2.


5. Continuing Studies Course

Continuing Studies will sponsor an Environmental Topics course in the spring. It will have 8-12 class meetings. Walter Isle is pulling together an agenda and is asking a number of faculty to participate. The committee requested that the class meet from 7:00-8:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings and that the room have working equipment. Walter asked that the faculty provide him in the next couple of days a title and about 3 sentences that they would like to present.


6. Announcements

Don Ostdiek reported on the three candidates who will be visiting Rice. The committee would like to meet with them and suggested that they attend the Environmental Reading Group if they are here on a Wednesday. Tentative dates are November 16, 18 and 30th.

Don Ostdiek reported that Political Science is currently reviewing curriculum, including both internal and external review. They have made a strong commitment to teaching Environmental Policy yearly.

Walter Isle is still working on Environmental History. We really need History to qualify for group 2. He indicated that there will be another course in English this coming Spring : ENGL 379 Eco-Feminism will be taught by Krista Comer.


7. Speakers

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:


Action Item: Reread the Environmental Strategic Planning Report for the next meeting on November 3rd meeting in 1044 Duncan Hall.

The following remaining meeting dates are scheduled for this semester: November 3rd, November 17th, December 1st , and December 15th. We are considering changing the last three dates to Thursdays instead of Tuesdays. The committee asked to be informed when members will not be able to make a specific date. Once the time and date are confirmed both announcements and email will be sent to the colleges.