Environmental Programs Steering Committee

March 18, 1999

2014 Duncan 9:15-11am


  • Tony Burgess (Biosphere 2)
  • Michael Omiecinski (Biosphere 2)
  • Shannon Cates (Study Abroad)
  • Celia Clay (Study Abroad)
  • Joyce Almaguer
  • Kathy Ensor
  • Arthur Few
  • Paul Harcombe
  • Priscilla Huston (staff)
  • Walter Isle (chair)
  • Bill Leeman
  • Donald Ostdiek

Not Present:

  • Gordon Wittenberg
  • Mark Wiesner


1. Next Meeting date

The next meeting of the Environmental Programs Steering Committee is March 25th from 9:15-11am in 2014 Duncan Hall.

2. Biosphere 2

The focus of this meeting was Biosphere 2. Invited guests included Tony Burgess, Ph.D, Site Naturalist/Biome Management Coordinator, for Biosphere 2; Mike Omiecinski , Associate Director for Student Admissions for Biosphere 2; and Shannon Cates and Celia Clay from the Rice Study Abroad Program.

Priscilla Huston agreed to get information to Tony and Mike about current Rice course exchange credits.

Shannon Cates described the process that Rice uses for travel abroad, including Biosphere 2. Before the student applies, she needs:

  • Student Information Form
  • Disciplinary Record Waiver

It would be helpful if she could also get a copy of the application and acceptance letter though she knows that Walter Isle has copies of these.

Following acceptance, the Study Abroad Office also needs to receive:

Transfer Credit form

Request for Approval (this shows the student has been counciled by Financial Aid and records all credit assumptions.)

Issues related to student preparation for attending Biosphere 2 and returning to Rice were discussed. All the guests pointed out that the adjustment on return to Rice can be quite difficult. This occurs frequently in other study abroad programs as well. Don Ostdiek suggested that updates from Biosphere 2 to the faculty members advising the students might help with the transitions. Tony and Mike both liked this idea. It was suggested that Rice be sure that students continue to be listed in both the paper and online directory while away from campus so that communication can be maintained more easily. Issues associated with pre-registration for the following semester were also discussed.

Walter Isle will draft a section for the General Announcements about Biosphere 2. It was suggested that Bisophere 2 is an excellent Sophomore study abroad opportunity since it gives students an opportunity to think about their major interests. It was also pointed out that Bisophere 2 helps students build confidence, reminds them about their roles in communities, and encourages them to remember that they are a customer at Biosphere 2 or their university and in charge of their education and life.

A discussion of statistical resources followed. Biosphere 2 is looking for ways to involve more faculty including a speaker series.

Email addressses:

  • Tony Burgess <tburgess@bio2.edu>
  • Mike Omiecinski <momiecin@bio2.edu> 1-800-992-4603

A list of attendees who signed in at the Biosphere 2 recruitment presentation on March 17th was given to Mike Omiecinski and is available on the EPSC internal website.