Course Descriptions

Building Sustainable Organizations course

Building Sustainable Organizations course
field Trip to Bensonwood Construction

ESM 516 Building Sustainable Organizations

BSO surveys the landscape of sustainability theory and literature by considering organizational purpose, design and behavior through the lenses of ecology, management, economics and social justice. This course prepares students to analyze organizations from the perspective of sustainable practices, and to develop an understanding of the importance of self-knowledge and personal sustainability. BSO is designed to serve as a gateway for further study. The course relies heavily on active participation by all class members, drawing from each participant’s previous organizational and managerial experiences.

ES 570 Climate Change-Resilience, Adaptation, and Mitigation

The goal of this course is to increase students’ breadth and depth of understanding of, and discourse in, adaptation and mitigation strategies that span changes to technologies and management strategies to changes in social organization and related institutions. The course will address how to evaluate the robustness of social-ecological systems and the ramifications this has on the management of resources on the landscape into the future. Skill development in evaluating potential adaptation strategies, at different scales, will be introduced, and the concepts of uncertainty and vulnerability assessment, risk and decision analysis. Students are introduced to components of a risk communication and the psychological foundations of effectively communicating climate change to decision-makers.

ES 600 Collaborative Service Initiative-Capstone Project

The Collaborative Service Initiative (CSI) course provides students, with faculty oversight, work on an applied external project. This can include applied ecological or social research, energy and materials management, evaluation, or other consultation projects. These projects are completed over the course of a semester by teams of 3 to 5 graduate students with guidance and support from AUNE faculty and staff. Students participate in the selection of potential projects and team formation during the semester preceding their CSI project. Each team chooses one of the proposed external partner projects and then collaborates with this partner organization to develop a defined scope of work, seek solutions to the client-identified challenges, and provide high quality deliverables. The CSI experience will provide an experiential learning opportunity for students and deepen their engagement with a community partner.

ES 702 Comparative Ecological Analysis

This course is designed to provide participants with the methods and strategies needed to apply ecological principles in research. Interpretive tools, research methods, and theoretical approaches include basic statistical analysis and design, field ecology techniques, and computer models or simulations. Using ecological principles as a foundation, other approaches such as natural resource inventory, ecological impact assessment, and ecological restoration are covered. The course has a case study orientation, emphasizing contemporary ecological problems in diverse habitats, exploring the common problems and solutions that emerge.

ESAF 500 Financial Administration

The overall goal of the course is to introduce students to the principles of financial administration as applied to the management of organizations. This course is designed for students with little or no financial background. There is an emphasis on governmental and non-profit organizations. The course has the objectives for the student to: become familiar with the language of finance essential for those who will play a role in managing the financial resources of an organization; understand the basics of the financial system and its components; learn the principles of preparing an annual and capital budget; gain experience in setting up and using spreadsheets; develop skills in the analysis, interpretation, and use of financial information; become familiar with the principles of time value of money; review the principles of investment and retirement accounts; and become familiar with the key components of an annual financial audit and systems of internal control. The course will focus on gaining competency in financial management skills as directed towards running an organization. It will briefly expose the students to accounting/book-keeping, primarily for the purpose of gaining an understanding of the language and the principles of accounting. Spreadsheet programs will be utilized as a primary tool in analyzing and presenting financial information. A number of case studies will be used to illustrate the principles of effective financial management.

ES 510 Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This is an introductory course in the use of GIS software to create, manage and work with spatially explicit data. The class will explore how to access GIS information available on the WWW, extract and analyze data using ArcGIS 10.x software, understand limitations associated with various data sources, technical vocabulary, and preparation of maps for digital presentations. This is a computer based course with emphasis on the language of GIS and real world application. Students will be required to obtain an evaluation version of software and/or purchase student edition licenses to use on their personal computers.

ESC 544 Leadership for Change

Leadership for change is the art of structuring organizations and collaboration, building morale and vision, and facilitating group deliberation and decision-making to guide effective policy-setting and organizational work that makes a positive difference at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, field, and societal levels. This course will help students develop the skills and understandings that support leadership that is adaptive, inclusive, participatory, collaborative, culturally competent, and effective. Participants in this class will be challenged to explore 1) personal leadership competencies and styles; 2) group dynamics, inclusion, and team facilitation; 3) strategies for engaging diverse stakeholders; and 4) the capacity of creative leadership to facilitate large-scale systemic change.

ESPE 560 Materials & Energy Sustainability

Individuals, either as a consumer, an employee or someone who lives on the landscape, are learning to become more environmentally responsible and realize true savings through adopting sustainability driven policies and practices. In this course we will examine how the emerging field of materials and energy sustainability can help individuals and organizations to become more effective at reducing their ecological footprint. This course is based on the premise that the material and energy flow throughout one’s home or business is part of a greater life cycle which stretches from raw material extraction through the manufacturing stages and onto consumer and post-consumer stages. We will discuss concepts in the areas of waste reduction, pollution prevention, sustainable energy, environmental management and life cycle analysis to equip participants with the tools they need to understand and potentially reduce environmental impact within the different domains of their lives. Course participants will produce a final project for an actual organization and document their application of the concepts discussed in class.

ES 524 Proposal Writing & Project Management

This course focuses on gaining competency in the three phases of the grants process: planning, research, and writing. Students will research and explore public and private funding sources appropriate to the human services and environmental fields. Criteria for selecting potential funding sources, the basic elements of a proposal, and developing successful collaborative efforts will be emphasized. Students will interactively engage in each phase of the process and will demonstrate their learning through the development of a funding proposal that is relevant to their area of concentration or research. Effective project management tools and skills (such as tracking personnel, budget spread sheets, use of Gantt charts, etc.) will be discussed and explored through case studies and classroom applications. Additional contact hours will be met by specific online coursework.

ES 532 Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design Techniques

The purpose of this course is to gain a basic understanding of quantitative and qualitative research approaches so that students, in their professional life, can assess research reports that must be evaluated in order to develop policy and/or to inform implementation. The material presented is done at depth and breadth to provide a basic understanding of how research is done and why specific techniques and approaches are used for answering specific questions. Students will try out different methodological approaches that include basic statistical analysis and design, field techniques, and computer models. Through the development of a research proposal, students will ground discussion of theory in the practical concerns of research; framing research questions; designing a small study; collecting and analyzing data; dealing with validity, reliability, and ethical issues; and writing a research report. Additional contact hours will be met by specific online coursework.