ENV 826a () / 2021-2022
Foundations of Natural Resources and Policy
Fall 2021: Tu, 2:30-5:20, Kroon 321
This course offers an explicit interdisciplinary (integrative) framework that is genuinely effective in practical problem solving. This unique skill set overcomes the routine ways of thinking and solving conservation problems common to many NGOs and government organizations by explicitly developing more rigorous and effective critical-thinking, observation, and management skills. By simultaneously addressing rational, political, and practical aspects of real-world problem solving, the course helps students gain skills, understand, and offer solutions to the policy problems of managing natural resources. The approach we use requires several things of students (or any problem solvers): that they be contextual in terms of social and decision-making processes; that they use multiple methods and epistemologies from any field that helps in understanding problems; that they strive to be both procedurally and substantively rational in their work; and, finally, that they be clear about their own standpoint relative to the problems at hand. The approach used in this course draws on the oldest and most comprehensive part of the modern policy analytic movement—the policy sciences (interdisciplinary method)—which is growing in its applications worldwide today. The course includes a mix of critical thinking, philosophical issues, history, as well as issues that students bring in. Among the topics covered are human rights, scientific management, decision making, community-based approaches, governance, common interest, sustainability, professionalism, and allied thought and literature. In their course work students apply the basic concepts and tools to a problem of their choice, circulating drafts of their papers to other seminar participants and lecturing on and leading discussions of their topics in class sessions. Papers of sufficient quality may be collected in a volume for publication. Active participation, reading, discussion, lectures, guests, and projects make up the course. The seminar supports and complements other courses in the School and at the University.
Limited to 16; application required.