ENVS Student Learning Outcomes

Department Evaluations

Students discussing work in class
Discussion and collaboration are regular parts of ENVS courses.

Evaluation is essential to determine if the department’s and faculty's goals for our programs and courses are being met. Faculty member Gene Myers, who teaches a course on educational program evaluation, explains, “Evaluation should be useful, and to be useful there needs to be specific people who want the information and intend to use it. Deciding what to evaluate about the [classes] is as important as deciding what to put in [them], because they are part of the same process. Neither can be done well (i.e., usefully) without participation.”

As a first step to assessment, we identify the attributes of a College of the Environment graduate. These attributes, hopefully, are the result of achieving expected learner outcomes in coursework and other experiences (such as internships and capstone courses), and thus the achievement of our programmatic objectives.

Undergraduate Learning Goals

Students who graduate with a B.A. from the Environmental Studies Department will have the following attributes:

  • Understand the natural environment as a system and how human enterprise affects that system.

  • Acquire the knowledge and skill to apply a systems approach to the analysis and management of natural and human-made environments.

  • Understand that the modern world is an entity that is ecologically, economically, and politically interconnected and interdependent and what the implications are of this for environmental problem solving.

  • Be able to deal in complex wholes – to view the self and social situation in their full ecological, cultural, and social context.

  • Understand the temporal dimension of the environment, including what forces have created the contemporary environment and what effects current behavior may have on future environments.

  • Perceive the future of society and environment as a range of alternate possibilities, which will be determined by the policies and decisions of the present, and understand the processes through which these policies and decisions are made.

  • Acquire a measure of logical skill in working through the moral dilemmas implicit in the assignment of social priorities and in the risks involved in seeking to attain those priorities.

  • Acquire specific skills necessary to achieve understanding of and solutions to environmental problems, including those necessary for assessment of environmental impact of human activity, and for monitoring of the health of environmental systems.

  • Be prepared for entry into professions involved in environmental monitoring, assessment, management and education, and/or for entry into graduate and professional school.


Undergraduate Learning Objectives

Upon graduation, Environmental Studies students will be able to:

  • ENVS 1 - Integrate concepts of environmental justice and well-being in understanding socio-environmental issues.

  • ENVS 2 - Apply an integrative approach towards understanding human-environment interactions.

  • ENVS 3 - Work collaboratively to identify and analyze complex environmental problems, recognize diverse stakeholder perspectives, and synthesize creative solutions.

  • ENVS 4 - Analyze data over time and space; communicate ideas effectively in oral, written and visual forms.

  • ENVS 5 - Recognize patterns on the earth's surface and describe the contribution of bio-physical processes and systems in creating them.


ENVS Graduate Program Goals

Students who graduate from the ENVS Graduate Program will be able to:

  • Critically understand an environmental issue using appropriate knowledge
  • Investigate that environmental issue using an interdisciplinary framework
  • Effectively communicate through written, visual, and oral means
  • Independently design, implement, and complete a research project

ENVS Graduate Program Learning Objectives 

Students discussing work in class
Graduate Research Assistants Peruvian National Council
of Science and Technology to discuss national
environmental science and ecology research policy.

Upon graduation, Environmental Studies masters students will be able to:

  • ENVS MA 1 - Identify and explain the complexity of issues and processes which contribute to an environmental problem.
  • ENVS MA 2 -Describe how their research is situated in the history and scope of environmental studies.
  • ENVS MA 3 - Identify a range of theoretical frameworks and methodologies used in environmental studies and explain the appropriate contexts for their application.
  • ENVS MA 4 -Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of disciplines relevant to their research topic.
  • ENVS MA 5 -Explain, justify, and correctly execute a method(s) appropriate to their research topic.
  • ENVS MA 6 -Use effective verbal presentation skills to share their research plans and results.
  • ENVS MA 7 -Use writing skillfully to communicate theory, methods, results, and relevance of their research project.
  • ENVS MA 8 -Independently design, implement, and complete a research project (thesis or field project).

Read more about:

ENVS Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes and/or ENVS Graduate Student Learning Outcomes, navigate to student learning outcome information for individual ENVS majors, or read more about ENVS goals and outcomes in the Department of Environmental Studies 2007 Accreditation Report.