Developing an Interdisciplinary Program: Environmental Studies from a Geographic Perspective

Authors: Leslie A. Duram*, Southern Illinois University
Topics: Environment, Geography Education, Sustainability Science
Keywords: Environmental Studies, Interdisciplinary programs, Curriculum, Administration
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download



Past research emphasizes the benefits of interdisciplinary scholarship, but does not provide a clear definition the scope, limits, and disciplinary balance of such endeavors within a curricular program. This research uses a case study analysis to describe the development of one interdisciplinary program—an Environmental Studies Minor—within a mid-size, public university. An over-arching question is how the connections between the interdisciplinary program and the department of geography, which plays a central role in the Minor, have been developed and continue to evolve. Thus administrative concerns are noted: the establishment, funding, and structure of various departmental participants across campus. Curriculum issues are described: advising, courses, recruitment, and disciplinary balance among topics. A detailed discussion of the required capstone course provides insight into the overall goals and outcomes of the program. Finally, the benefits and potential disadvantages of the interdisciplinary program are noted. As geography is rightfully at the core of many interdisciplinary initiatives, this investigation provides an analysis and overview of one Environmental Studies program and its linkages to the discipline of geography.

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