Students interested in the environment and nature have much to learn by focusing their gaze on California!
California is a global biodiversity hotspot with a strong history of environmental protection and conservation. Moreover, the California environment is the focus of much literary work that explores the concept of nature and humans’ engagement with it.
In this Oxy Immersive Semester program, students will study the unique ecology and environmental history of southern California, and they will be exposed to multidisciplinary approaches to the study of nature and the environment: from the biological sciences, to literature, to psychology, to cultural studies. In addition to coursework, students in the program will be matched to an internship in a community-based environmental organization. The California Environment and Conservation Corps program provides students with an opportunity to learn about, reflect on, research, and act on one of the defining issues of our lifetime. By the end of the semester, students will possess a wide set of intellectual tools and practical skills with which they can contribute solutions.
Fall 2020 Program Description
The California Environment and Conservation Corps Semester includes three courses and an internship. All together, this 12-credit cluster will fulfill two core requirements: the Fall CSP and Math/Science. All components of the program will be fully remote so any Oxy student may participate regardless of where they reside. Please note the class times in the descriptions below--required synchronous meetings will be held during these times.
CSP 14: Nature from the Inside Out
4 credits, taught by Prof. Ostendorf, Writing & Rhetoric
MWF 12:15PM - 1:10PM
In this course students will study the writing and rhetoric of nature and wanderlust, with particular emphasis on California as a place of exceptional natural beauty and a locus of adventure in the cultural imagination. We will read literature, critical theory, scientific texts, and culture writing in order to explore nature from the inside out--in other words, from individual affective and psychological relationships to nature to the broader effects of nature on culture and identity. In keeping with our theme, we will not only study these ideas inside our virtual classroom; we will also incorporate our own individual adventures in nature, in California or elsewhere. Hand-in-hand with the study of nature, this course will provide intensive training in writing at the college level, with assignments designed to deepen your understanding of our course topics while focusing on specific elements of successful academic writing.
BIO 103: Urban Ecology
4 credits, taught by Prof. Braker, Biology
Los Angeles is an urban ecosystem where people, nature, and the built environment interact. We will consider L.A., the second largest city in the U.S., as a case study of how organisms and the environment influence each other. Through reading, discussion, writing, gathering data, and exploration we will ask, what physical features define the Los Angeles environment? How have these changed over time, and what changes are likely to happen in the near future? What species of organisms (beyond palm trees, pets, rats, and cockroaches) inhabit this city? How does the physical environment affect urban species, and how do they, in turn, affect their environment? Students will develop proficiency in skills needed for the practice of biology, quantitative reasoning, and critical evaluation of scientific ideas and results. Finally, in this course, students will be introduced to research practices in the environmental sciences via tutorial-style sessions, each with a theme related to a current environmental problem in California.
BIO 290: Research Methods in Biology
2 credits, taught by Prof. Braker
Class times TBD depending on student time zones and availability
In this course, students will be introduced to research practices in the environmental sciences via tutorial-style sessions, each with a theme related to a current environmental problem in California.
BIO 198: Conservation Corps Internship
Times TBD depending on student time zones and availability
Complementing their coursework, students in the program will engage in service-learning. Students will be matched with Southern California environmental organizations. The hours spent in service (which will be completed virtually) would be scaffolded with reflective reading and writing centered around concepts of environmental stewardship.