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Luther College Chips

Environmental Studies adds new classes

Assistant+of+Environmental+Studies+and+Political+Science+Professor+Rachel+Brummel+discusses+Environmental+issues+in+class.
Assistant of Environmental Studies and Political Science Professor Rachel Brummel discusses Environmental issues in class.

Assistant of Environmental Studies and Political Science Professor Rachel Brummel discusses Environmental issues in class.

Madeline Ajack (‘20) | Chips

Madeline Ajack (‘20) | Chips

Assistant of Environmental Studies and Political Science Professor Rachel Brummel discusses Environmental issues in class.

Madeline Ajack, Staff Writer

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The environmental studies major recently remodeled and will be adding new courses, some are required for the major and minor and some are open to any student who is interested in learning more about environmental studies.

New courses that will be offered are Environmental Studies 250, Sustainability: Systems and Solutions; Political Science 340, Environmental Justice and Law; Environmental Studies 210, Climate Dynamics and Modeling; and Environmental Studies 225, Earth’s Climate: Past, Present, and Future. Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Political Science Rachel Brummel, Professor of Mathematics Richard Bernatz, and Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Chemistry Laura Peterson will teach these classes.

“In the new major, the courses have not been offered previously,” Associate Professor of Biology Eric Baack said. “Everyone in environmental studies after this first-year class in the major has to take the 250 course.”

Baack will not teach any of the new courses, but was involved with the development of the courses. Baack teaches mostly in the biology department, including a January Term course titled Ecology of the Southwest which takes an environmental approach to biology.

“I’m not going to be teaching any of these courses,” Baack said. “They have been developed from a conversation from the environmental studies department. We looked at what we were teaching and areas that we thought could be strengthened and so we picked these courses in conversation with different faculty members.”

Bernatz will teach Environmental Studies 210, Climate Dynamics and Modeling.

“This course examines climate patterns and trends and their dependence on solar radiation, atmospheric structure, and earth surface makeup,” Burnatz said. “Physical, chemical, and quantitative principles are used to explain and explore these relationships. Quantitative methods for modeling are used to explore, among other things, the earth’s climate response to anthropogenic perturbations.”

Students who wish to take this course must have a prerequisite of Mathematics 140 and a background in calculus.

Students who are currently majoring in environmental studies have the option to stay in the old major or to change to the new and remodeled major. Those who are in the policy concentration of environmental studies will take Brummel’s course Political Science 340.

“[Political Science 340] is a course that is focused on understanding social patterns of environmental degradation and participation in environmental policy-making,” Brummel said. “We want students to explore both the ways that environmental problems are social problems and environmental policies also need to be social policy. Much research has shown that communities of color, women, and people in poverty experience disproportionate environmental burdens. In this class, we want to both understand those patterns but also think about how we can use judicial and legal approaches to ameliorate those inequalities.”

Students who are not majoring in environmental studies are welcome to take classes such as Environmental Studies 210 and 225.

“In all cases, these are great courses that I’d encourage anyone — not just environmental studies and political science majors — to take,” Brummel said. “They are about understanding our place in our beautiful and complex world, our responsibilities to the world and each other, and the ways we can seek to promote positive environmental change.”

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