ENVS Topics Courses for Summer 2019

Environmental Studies Topics Courses*
Summer 2019


*Please note that ENVS 491 options are open to undergraduate students only, while ENVS 591 options are open to both undergrads (mostly geared towards junior/senior level students) and grad students.


ENVS 491 Options:


ENVS 491 (sect. 001) TOPIC: ENVIRONMENTAL APPLICATION OF STATISTICS
Scheduled dates:
June 10 – July 18 Mon/ Tues/ Wed/ Thurs 1-2:40pm
Instructor: Daniel Albrecht-Mallinger
Credits: 3

This course will provide a foundation in basic statical theory using environmental data and topics. Students will learn how the concepts of central tendency, population, probability, and uncertainty are critical to pressing issues in conservation, climate change, and human health. In addition to analytical skills, the class will provide an introduction to public data hosted by the Center for Disease Control, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other institutions. Students will learn how to access and manage these data to ask pertinent environmental questions with hypothesis testing using t-tests, ANOVAs, chi-squares, regressions, and generalized linear models.

This course is eligible to sub in for the STAT 314 requirement for Environmental Studies majors. 
Recommended prerequisite: MATH 151


ENVS 491 (sect. C01) TOPIC: EXPEDITION PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
Scheduled dates:
May 20 – June 7  M/T/W/R/F/S/U (every day of the session including weekends)
Instructor:
Karl Schmidt
Credits: 3

This expedition class explores the intersection of human and natural history in the James River and its watershed. By immersing themselves in this environment, students will experience this intersection firsthand, learning the landscape that shaped the development of many cultures, including our city, state and nation. Taught in tandem with BIOL 391 The Natural History of the James River Watershed, ENVS491 encourages students to work as team members and provides introduction to expedition management, group dynamics, and leadership skills. Students will learn best practices for frontcountry and backcountry camping, outdoor living skills, multi-day canoeing and kayaking methods and practical application of Leave No Trace principles. These will be assessed periodically by the review of reflection and observation journal entries and cumulatively by a final practical exam.

For more information: https://rampages.us/footprintsonthejames/




 


ENVS 591 Options:


Students can choose one version (1 cr or 3 cr) of the class below.

ENVS 591 (sect. 001) TOPIC: ENV APP OF DRONE TECHNOLOGY (1 cr)
ENVS 591 (sect. 003) TOPIC: APPLICATION OF DRONE TECHNOLOGY (3 cr)

Scheduled dates: 1 Credit Course: July 29 – July 30, 2019 8am-5pm
Scheduled dates:
3 Credit Course: July 29 – August 2, 2019 8am-5pm
Instructor for both sections: Will Shuart

Please contact Will Shuart at wshuart@vcu.edu for more info.

Course Objectives:
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS’s) are being introduced in a wide range of environmental applications such as crop health and stress monitoring, volumetric assessment of biomass, regulatory assessments, and change detection. In this course, students will gain an understanding of how to integrate rapidly expanding technologies into environmental (and ultimately business) applications.

Course Overview:
Students will become familiar with the application of UAS and their related technologies to understand how to apply them in environmental analysis and visualization. The two day course will focus on UAS platforms, flight planning, regulations and use of drones, data collection and processing, and spatial fidelity and how global positioning systems (GPS) increase viability of UAS data. In wrapping up the two day course, students will understand how to process UAS data and the products derived from those collections. The five day course will showcase various UAS technologies and data collection in the field. Students will also gain experience publishing final orthophotos, photogrammetric point clouds, elevation models, and 3D meshes to the web for dissemination and consumption. Full motion video and capturing geospatial data from UAS’s will be explored. Students will be exposed to open source and proprietary software to process and interrogate UAV data.

Course Logistics and Planning:
Date: Monday, July 29, 2019
Time: 8am – 5:00pm
Location: VCU Rice Rivers Center
Students will meet at the Rice Rivers Center

Date: Tuesday, Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Time: 8am – 5:00pm
Location: NOAA Geodetic Survey
Students will meet at the Trani Life Sciences Building, VCU Monroe Park Campus

Date: Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Time: 8am – 5:00pm
Location: Richmond – Belle Isle Rock Pools*
Students will meet at the Trani Life Sciences Building, VCU Monroe Park Campus

Date: Thursday, August 1, 2019
Time: 8am – 4:30pm
Location: Goochland and Cumberland, VA*
Students will meet at the Trani Life Sciences Building, VCU Monroe Park Campus

Date: Friday, August 2, 2019
Time: 8am – 5:00pm
Location: VCU Rice Rivers Center
Students will meet at the Rice Rivers Center

*Weather dependent schedule

Grading:
This course will utilize Blackboard for submission of work, grading, updates, announcements, etc. Please make sure that you stay in tune with the courses’ page on Blackboard and check your VCU email account as information is sent through Blackboard to your VCU account. Assignments and exercises are due based upon the course schedule. Students will submit a final analysis for grading in the 1 and 3 credit class based on the course schedule.


ENVS 591 (sect. 901) TOPIC: ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS  THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO LOW ENROLLMENT
Scheduled dates:
May 21- July 11 Tuesday/ Thursday 6-8:40
Instructor: Cliff Fox
Credits: 3

This is a seminar for advanced undergraduates and graduate students that will focus on questions of environmental ethics. This is a relatively new field of inquiry, and is, in many ways, still defining its ground. Therefore, this will allow us to engage in discussions of some of the most exciting questions facing environmental studies today; from animal rights to questions of technology and development. However, we will begin by grounding ourselves in the broader ethical tradition and a philosophy of science understanding science within the new arena of environmental ethics.

The class will involve reading, discussion, and writing. Students will read each week and write short papers reacting to the readings. These reactions will be explored in class discussion. At mid-term we will look at the ethical elements in two of the classics of environmental writing, Sand County Almanac and Silent Spring. The class will also require a final paper. This class will be stimulating for serious undergraduate students, as well as graduate students.


ENVS 591 (sect. 002) TOPIC: DIVERSITY IN SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Scheduled dates:
June 10- July 18 M/T/W/R 10:30-12:10
Instructor: Cliff Fox
Credits: 3

When students think of diversity in science and the environment, they usually think about things like genetic diversity, population diversity, of ecosystem diversity. However, science and the environment must consider problems of complex systems from the perspective of a modern approach to science that depends upon the quality of the “community of scholars” who explore it. As we have studied the community of scholars, we have found a need to consider the problem of diversity of thinking that comes with a more diversified “community.” This class will explore a philosophy of science approach to scientific methodology and ask questions about the importance of diversity among those who theorize and test our understanding of the natural world. This will lead to our reading about varied approaches to science and the environment from different racial, ethnic and gender perspectives. We will then look for ways to better use “community diversity” to create a more justifiable scientific project.

The class will involve reading, discussion, and writing. Students will read for each and write short papers reacting to the readings. These reactions will be explored in class discussion. A short mid-term summary paper and a more extensive final paper will be required. This class will be very useful to serious undergraduates and graduate students who want to expand their thinking about the scientific method and/or the role of human/social in our understanding of the world.


ENVS 591 (sect. 004) TOPIC: TOXIC SITE ASSESSMENT: GEOCHEMICAL APPROACH  THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO LOW ENROLLMENT
Scheduled dates:
May 20th- June 20th  M/T/W/R 1-3:15pm
Instructor: Arif Sikder
Credits: 3

Please note that all day (9am-4pm) field assessment is required on two days of class: June 5th and June 10th.  No class will be held on June 6th, June 11th, and June 19th.

Goal:
This course is designed to expose the participants to the procedure and protocol of toxic site assessment and the understanding the critical issues of chemical behavior of toxic and/or heavy metals in the environment.

Topics:
The assessments of the toxic sites are a tool to determine the risk to human health and environment due to the release of past and current contaminants. The site assessments are performed under various regulations to support the decision-makers in selection of cost-effective cleanup procedure.

Grades for this course will be determined by:
40% Lecture
30% Field assessment
30% Laboratory Analysis

A course schedule is included below.


ENVS 591 (sect. 902) TOPIC: ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY  THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO LOW ENROLLMENT
Scheduled dates: June 10 – July 31 Monday/ Wednesday 6-8:40pm
Instructor: Timothy Kelly, tmkelly2@vcu.edu
Credits: 3

Course Description and Goals:
During this course you will study the chemistry of air, water, and toxic organic compounds as well as how anthropogenic activities affect this chemistry on planet Earth. Specifically, we will examine the sources, reactions, transport, effects, and fates of chemical species found in air and water as well as the effects of technology thereon. This course is divided into 4 major parts that reflects the most pressing issues in Environmental Chemistry today: (1) Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Pollution; (2) Climate Change and Energy; (3) Water Chemistry and Water Pollution; and (4) Toxic Organic Compounds.

All students who take this course are expected to demonstrate a mastery of all topics through successful completion of quizzes, problem sets, and exams.  Recommended prerequisite: CHEM 102.