Tuesday, January 21, 2014

environmental sustainability cornerstone seminar, spring 2014

ENVA 311: Environmental Sustainability Cornerstone Seminar
Lone Mountain 345
Tues & Thurs 9:55-11:40

Professor David Silver
Office: Kalmanavitz 141
Office hours: Tues & Thurs 3-4 pm
Contact: dmsilver@usfca.edu

Course Description
In this course, students synthesize issues, theories, and methods learned thus far in the Environmental Studies major or minor and develop a research topic and approach suitable for an ENVA pathways proposal. Through readings, class discussions, workshops, and guest lectures, students learn how to clarify and refine a research topic, write a literature review or environmental scan, and develop a pathways proposal. By the end of the semester, students present their pathways proposals to their peers and a panel of ENVA professors.

In addition to developing a pathways proposal, students learn about, work on, and complete the grant-writing cycle. With help from Career Services Center and Gleeson librarians, students learn how to find, research, write, and submit a grant. Ideally, the grant will fund some portion of the student’s pathways proposal.

Finally, students create an e-portfolio - an online, publicly accessible portfolio that features a student’s past, present, and future work. In general, the e-portfolio will highlight a student’s course and community work and serve as an ongoing depository for students’ projects, papers, and personal and professional reflections. In addition to mastering various 21st century tools of creation, communication, and collaboration, students engage with a public audience and, in the process, reflect upon larger digital literacy issues like participatory media, personal “branding,” and online privacy.

Learning Outcomes
Upon completing this course, students will be able to:
1.   Clarify, research, and refine a topic and related set of questions suitable for a Environmental Studies pathways proposal;
2.   Write a literature review or environmental scan that demonstrates a grasp of the range of projects and knowledge relevant to your chosen topic and questions;
3.   Find, research, write, and complete an application for a grant related to your Environmental Studies interests;
4.   Create a digital archive of your work, in the form of an e-portfolio, that creatively and professionally showcases your past, present, and future work and interests; and
5.   Engage constructively and critically in peer-produced work and provide and receive thoughtful feedback to and from your peers and professor.

Course Components
Reflection papers - An integral part of the Cornerstone experience is the opportunity to reflect on the kinds of knowledge and skills you have acquired through the Environmental Studies curriculum, and identify specific interests, skills, concerns, problems, or focus areas that you would like to explore further. Short reflection papers will require you to demonstrate your reflection process as you consider these questions.

Literature Review/Environmental Scan - A well-designed lit review or environmental scan demonstrates your ability to synthesize literature and projects from across the disciplines, and identify opportunities for asking new questions or proposing new approaches to old or unanswered questions. A 5-7 page paper will reflect your grasp of existing projects, research, and knowledge in your chosen problem or topic area.

Pathways Proposal - This is the proposal that students, if they wish, may submit for review by the Environmental Studies Advisory Board to be considered for the Pathways track. Whether you decide to submit your proposal for consideration or not, the proposal must demonstrate your identification of a particular problem or focus area; a question that arises out of your analysis of the problem or focus area; and, most importantly, the design of a course of study and path of investigation (equaling 20 units) that could lead you toward answers.

Grant Cycle – For students interested in pursuing advanced projects and research, securing funding is imperative. In this class, you will learn about, write, work on, and submit a grant related to your area of interests.

E-portfolio design and set up - Students will submit a design proposal or template for their e-portfolio, along with brief reflections on what your want your e-portfolio to communicate about yourself and your work. You will present your design proposal in class, with plenty of time given for peer feedback.

E-portfolio semester wrap up - Near the end of the semester, you will submit a “final” e-portfolio that includes documentation of your work in the major to date, showcases your plans and proposals for the future, and conveys your personal voice or “brand.” The assignment also requires planned build-out of the areas of your portfolio that you aim to fill over your final two years.

Participation - Students will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of their participation in classroom reflection exercises, discussions, workshops, and other activities, including homework, quizzes, and in-class assignments.

10%    Reflection papers
15%    Literature review/environmental scan
20%    Pathways proposal
15%    Grant cycle
15%    E-portfolio design and set up
15%    E-portfolio semester wrap up
10%    Participation                   

Course Schedule
Tuesday, 1/21: Introductions to course, ourselves

Thursday, 1/23: Mapping our interests exercise; Twitter workshop

Cluster 1: The Past
This 3-week cluster focuses on salient issues, theories, and ideas gleaned from past Environmental Studies (and related) courses. Which courses, projects, experiences, and internships have contributed to your interest in environmental sustainability? With visits from Career Services, students will reflect upon past coursework and professional experiences. By the end of the cluster, students will complete a resume, begin/update a LinkedIn profile, and write a brief reflection paper.

Cluster 2: The Present
This 4-week cluster asks students to consider their current interests and to map existing projects and research in these areas. With help from Gleeson librarians, students will begin working on their literature reviews/environmental scans. With readings and social media tools, students will map their various social networks. With visits from the Center for Instruction and Technology, students will begin designing their e-portfolios. By the end of the cluster, students will complete a social networks mapping exercise, their e-portfolio design and set up, and a significant portion of their lit reviews/environmental scans.

Cluster 3: The Future
This 5-week cluster encourages students to think about the future – their future Pathways coursework, their future internships and jobs, and their future contributions to the field of environmental sustainability. To help reach these visions, students will visit relevant Environmental Studies upper division courses, meet and interview ENVA professors with related interests, and submit a grant application related to their area of interest. By the end of the cluster, students will have completed their lit reviews/environmental scans and grant cycle. Further, they will have designed, built, and tested their e-portfolios. Finally, they will turn in a reflection paper on what was learned and next steps.

Cluster 4: Peer Review
This 2-week cluster asks students to present both their Pathways Proposals and e-portfolios to their peers and a panel of ENVA professors. Plenty of time will be given for constructive feedback and discussion. By the end of the cluster, students will have completed their Pathways Proposals and e-portfolios.

There is no final in this course.

Attendance Policies
1.    Missing class, or attending class unprepared, will significantly affect your final grade.
2.    If you do miss class, contact a classmate to find out what you missed and ask to borrow her or his notes. Then, do it again with a different classmate. After doing this, if you have questions about missed material, visit me during office hours.
3.    On days that assignments are due in class, a complete assignment is your ticket to ride. In other words, if you have not completed the assignment, do not come to class.

1.    No late work accepted.
2.    In class and on field trips, no drinking out of non-reusable containers.

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