ENVS Topics Courses for Spring 2021

Environmental Studies Topics Courses*
Spring 2021


*Please note that ENVS 291, 391, and 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.

View your spring 2021 registration date


ENVS 291 Options:


ENVS 291 Topic: Hydroponics Lab
Instructor: Dr. John Jones, jonesj39@vcu.edu
Credits: 1
Section 002 CRN 41183
Wednesdays 9:00-9:50am

Important Note: This lab follows a non-traditional structure in order to function during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please read more about the course and request an override here.

Course Modality: Blended-asynchronous instruction

Course Description: In this lab, students will grow and harvest nutritionally dense vegetables using microgreen and hydroponic growing techniques. Harvested vegetables support the VCU Ram Pantry and other near-campus food pantries. Students will learn a combination of practical agronomic and project management skills, while deepening their understanding of nutrition and emergency food systems.

Recommended Prerequisites: none


ENVS 291 Topic: Healthy Food & Nutrition
Instructor: Dr. John Jones, jonesj39@vcu.edu
Credits: 1
Section 003 CRN 41184
Thursdays 9:30-10:45am

Course Modality: Face-to-face instruction

Course Description: This course helps students develop healthy personal food behaviors as they transition into their college experiences. Students will learn the basics of balanced diets, how to read nutritional labels, basic cooking techniques, and making healthy choices while on campus.

Recommended Prerequisites: None.  Although this course could benefit anyone, it is designed for first and second year students.


ENVS 391 Options:


ENVS 391 Story Mapping for Environmental Science
Instructor: Jennifer Ciminelli, s2jmcimi@vcu.edu
Credits: 1
Section 001 CRN 41630

Course Modality: Online-asynchronous instruction

Course Description: In this course, students will learn techniques to take traditional environmental scientific communication and weave interactive and engaging narratives aimed at providing more holistic and deeper experiences for the information consumer.  Students will learn how to think through this communication style and then leverage ArcGIS Online story mapping, web application and web mapping applications to deliver content to their audience.

Recommended Prerequisites: None, but students taking this course need to have working knowledge of computer basics.  Please email Ms. Ciminelli with questions about the course.


ENVS 391 Energy Policy: The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy
Instructor: Dr. Brian Toibin, toibinbt@vcu.edu
Credits: 3

Section 002 CRN 42230

Course Modality: Online-asynchronous instruction

Course Description:  This course will survey the national and international policy decisions that are driving the current and future energy landscape. The course will examine policy decisions concerning the development of the major sources of energy; examine the environmental, social, and political implications of those decisions; and explore the policy factors moving the world towards a cleaner more renewable energy future.  Purchase of a textbook may be required.

Recommended Prerequisites: None.  This course is geared towards ENVS students who want a deeper dive into policy decisions driving much of the environmental debates.  It may also interest political science or sociology students who want to understand the drivers of this critical area of policy debate.


ENVS 491 Options:


ENVS 491 Topic: Avian Ecology & Conservation lecture & lab (CAPSTONE OPTION*)
Students interested in taking Avian Ecology & Conservation MUST register for the lecture (ENVS 491 Section 001) AND lab (ENVS 491 Section 002).
If you would like to take this lecture + lab, please register for ENVS Section 001 (lecture) on your assigned registration date and then email Lindsay Freeman at envsadvising@vcu.edu to request an override into ENVS 491 Section 002 (lab).
Instructor: Dr. Lesley Buluck, lpbulluck@vcu.edu
Credits: 4 (2 credit lecture + 2 credit lab)
Section 001 CRN 41181 and Section 002 CRN 41187
Wednesdays 10:00-11:50am (lecture) and Fridays 7:00-11:00am (lab)

Course Modality: Face-to-face instruction.  Meet in the Trani Life Sciences Building room 235 for the lecture and lab.

Course Description (for Section 001 lecture & Section 002 lab) This 4-credit course combines both lecture (ENVS 491 Section 001, 2 credits) and lab (ENVS 491 Section 002, 2 credits) material; students must enroll in both courses. The content of this course builds on a framework of ecological theory and conservation practice within the context of birds. We will use birds as examples, but the concepts covered are broadly applicable, and many of the skills gained in the lab will be transferable to other species of wildlife. Through lectures and discussions, we will cover topics such as population dynamics, dispersal/migration, effects of habitat alteration (e.g., fire, timber harvest, and fragmentation), climate change impacts, urban ecology, and species interactions. Lab sessions will focus on building skills in bird identification in the field as well as data analysis and interpretation (including citizen science data). We will meet in person on Wednesdays from 10-11:50am and on Fridays from 7-11am. We will often spend these early Friday mornings in the field.

Recommended Prerequisites (for lecture and lab sections): BIOL 317 and STAT 210 (or by instructor permission).

*This lecture/ lab combination can count as capstone if completed while you have senior standing.  If you are not a senior or have already completed an ENVS capstone course, it will count towards electives for the ENVS major/minor and towards VCU’s upper level credit requirement.

If you are on the 2018-2019 bulletin (or an earlier bulletin year) and want this class to count as your capstone, Lindsay can sub in this course for your ENVS 490 requirement on DegreeWorks.

If you are on the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 bulletin and want this class to count as your capstone, you will also need to register for ENVS 499 capstone experience.   The credits for ENVS 491 will slot in towards your required ENVS electives, while registering for ENVS 499 indicates that you’ve fulfilled the capstone requirement.  An override will be required for ENVS 499- please email envsadvising@vcu.edu for an override into this course.


ENVS 491 Topic: Urban Ecology (CAPSTONE OPTION*)
Instructor: Dr. Cathy Viverette, cbvivere@vcu.edu
Credits: 3
Section 003 CRN 41253
Wednesdays 2:00-4:40pm

Course Modality: Hybrid-asynchronous instruction

Course Description: An interdisciplinary examination of problems and issues central to environmental studies. Each student will participate in a group research project focusing on urban forests and the ecosystem services urban trees provide. Students will collect data on existing urban forest cover by conducting tree inventories, mapping distribution, and estimating the economic value provided by trees on public land. In spring 2021, tree inventory work will occur primarily on the VCU campus. Additional inventory activities,and possible opportunities for tree planting, may occur in Richmond neighborhoods near campus and on the Southside of Richmond. Final project results and analysis will be provided to our community partners in the VCU Community Forest Program.  The course is scheduled from 2–4:40 on Wednesdays. Class lectures and group work will be conducted remotely via zoom or other remote platforms. Field activities will occur regularly at on campus locations throughout the semester, during the class period, and students should be prepared to work outside in a variety of weather conditions. Groups may have to meet and conduct additional field data collection outside of class in order to complete project deliverables. Field work opportunities mayalso occur at off campus locations. Students that participate in activities at off campus locations will have to arrange their own transportation.

Recommended Prerequisites: This course is primarily meant for students with junior or senior standing.

Students who completed ENVS 490 Research Seminar in Environmental Studies (taught by Dr. Viverette) during the spring 2019 semester should not take this course (ENVS 491 Urban Ecology is the same class). 

*This course can count as capstone if completed while you have senior standing.  If you are not a senior or have already completed an ENVS capstone course, it will count towards electives for the ENVS major/minor and towards VCU’s upper level credit requirement.

If you are on the 2018-2019 bulletin (or an earlier bulletin year) and want this class to count as your capstone, Lindsay can sub in this course for your ENVS 490 requirement on DegreeWorks.

If you are on the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 bulletin and want this class to count as your capstone, you will also need to register for ENVS 499 capstone experience.   The credits for ENVS 491 will slot in towards your required ENVS electives, while registering for ENVS 499 indicates that you’ve fulfilled the capstone requirement.  An override will be required for ENVS 499- please email envsadvising@vcu.edu for an override into this course.


ENVS 491 Invasive Species Management in Urban Parks (CAPSTONE OPTION*)
Instructor: Dr. Ed Crawford, ercrawford@vcu.edu
C
redits: 3
Section 004 CRN 38362
Fridays 1:00-3:40pm

Course Modality: Face-to-face instruction

The James River Park System is an urban ‘wilderness’ park that is often described as the City of Richmond’s premier asset. It threads along a spectacular section of the James River rapids and encompasses a rich assortment of habitats and natural resources. But the 600+acre Park is in trouble. Long overlooked infestations of invasive vines, shrubs, and trees threaten the health and structure of the park’s forests and natural plant communities.

This course will introduce you to the innovative James River Park System Habitat Restoration Plan, a long-term plan to manage non-native invasive plants and restore natural areas within the park. In this course, you will work with the environmental professionals, park personnel, and community partners who established the Plan and developed the JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force tasked with implementing it. In this course, you will gain experience in: 1. identification and management of non-native invasive plant species and native species for re-introduction, 2. documentation and quantification of ongoing ecological restoration projects within the park, 3. identification and mapping of high quality habitats or species of special concern in the park, 4. collaborative work with park personnel and community partners to develop practices that balance land use, land management, and land maintenance, 5. developing and delivering surveys and outreach materials on invasives for homeowners, professional resource managers, and commercial nursery and landscape businesses. The ideas and experience you gain will be applicable to an emergent problem that is not just local but regional, national, and worldwide in scope.

Recommended Prerequisites: BIOL 152 is helpful, but not required for this course.   This course is meant for students with junior and senior standing.

*This course can count as capstone if completed while you have senior standing.  If you are not a senior or have already completed an ENVS capstone course, it will count towards electives for the ENVS major/minor and towards VCU’s upper level credit requirement.

If you are on the 2018-2019 bulletin (or an earlier bulletin year) and want this class to count as your capstone, Lindsay can sub in this course for your ENVS 490 requirement on DegreeWorks.

If you are on the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 bulletin and want this class to count as your capstone, you will also need to register for ENVS 499 capstone experience.   The credits for ENVS 491 will slot in towards your required ENVS electives, while registering for ENVS 499 indicates that you’ve fulfilled the capstone requirement.  An override will be required for ENVS 499- please email envsadvising@vcu.edu for an override into this course.


ENVS 491 Food & Environment
Instructor: Dr. Steve McIninch, spmcinin@vcu.edu
Credits: 3
Section 005 CRN 38270
Monday/ Wednesdays 12:30-1:45pm

Course Modality: Online-synchronous instruction

Course Description: We all must eat. Growing, processing, cooking, and eating our food links us to our ecosystem more than any other act. . Global agriculture sustains us (and the other 7 billion people out there) but is also a major cause of many types of environmental degradation. Food and the Environment is a course directed at understanding the linkages between agricultural production and the environment. How is a degrading environment influencing the food supply and how does the food supply affect the environment.

Recommended Prerequisites: None


ENVS 491 Topic: Chesapeake Bay Restoration
Instructor: Joe Wood, woodjd@vcu.edu
Credits: 3
Section 902 CRN 41423
Fridays 4:00-6:40pm

Course Modality: Online-synchronous instruction

Course Description: This course will cover policy initiatives and restoration efforts directed towards protecting the Chesapeake Bay, particularly those focused in Virginia.  The course will cover the clean water act and how it has influenced these efforts, modeling tools, access datasets and will generally cover various professional careers that focus directly on these initiatives.  Students will be expected to use Excel but to manage data and develop conclusions.

Recommended Prerequisites: None


ENVS 591 Options:


ENVS 591 Topic: Environments & Policies of Urban Food Systems
Instructor: Dr. John Jones, jonesj39@vcu.edu
Credits: 3
Section 901 CRN 39524
Wednesdays 7:00-9:40pm

Course Modality: Face-to-face instruction

Course Description: This course examines how environments and public policies shape American urban food systems. Broadly defined, the elements of the urban food system include the production/cultivation, distribution, preparation, consumption, and waste management of food products utilized by humans in urban spaces for nourishment and/or pleasure. Entrenched environmental, social, economic, political, and bureaucratic factors underpin this system. To explore these factors, this course employs a variety of interdisciplinary lenses, including: environmental studies; public administration; public health and nutrition; urban planning; political science; and sociology. This course will include field-based service-learning opportunities in the greater Richmond region through several off-campus site visits.

Recommended Prerequisites: None


ENVS 591 Topic: Environmental Regulation
Instructor: Bud Watson, jmwatson2@vcu.edu
Credits: 3
Section 902 CRN 34893
Thursdays 7:00-9:40pm

Course Modality: Face-to-face instruction

Course Description: This course is designed to complement ENVS 660, Environmental Law, for graduate students to provide an extensive introduction to environmental regulation, the working element of most environmental agency activity. It also functions as a stand-alone introductory course on the use of environmental regulations for environmental management for both undergraduate and graduate students. The course takes advantage of the presence of federal, state, and local environmental agencies in the Richmond area to provide interaction between agency professionals and students for both educational and work opportunities. Thus, the course is also designed to prepare graduates for professional work in environmental compliance and permitting.

Recommended Prerequisites: none


ENVS 591 Topic: Geospatial Data in R
Instructor: Dr. Rodney Dyer, rjdyer@vcu.edu
Credits: 3
Section 903 CRN 41188
Wednesdays 4:00-6:40pm

Course Modality: Online-synchronous instruction

Course Description: This is an introduction to creating, using, and manipulating geographically references data for environmental data analysis and planning using the R statistical language.  Topics include data maintenance, global positioning systems, vector and raster operations, spatial analysis, advanced visualization, and geographic data standards.

Recommended Prerequisites: Participants must have their own laptop.  Open to graduate students as well as undersgraduates who have successfully completed ENVS 343 Data Literacy or ENVS 543 Environmental Data Literacy (or by instructor permission).


ENVS 591 Topic: Air Pollution Control & Modeling
Instructor: Dr. Timothy Kelly, tmkelly2@vcu.edu
Credits: 3
Section 906 CRN 38797
Wednesdays 7:00-9:40pm

Course Modality: Online-synchronous instruction

Course Description:
Considering local and global air pollution problems and national requirements as well as international agreements on pollution control, students will be able to determine necessary emission reductions to prevent harm to occur to human health, welfare, and climate. By the end of the course through lectures, problem solving in supervised class meetings, readings, presentations, and exams, the students will have demonstrated skills to formulate and solve often complex air pollution problems. Students will be able to develop and apply simple mathematical models to predict the atmospheric chemical transformation of pollutants as well as horizontal and vertical transport throughout the troposphere and stratosphere and exchange between the hemispheres. Students will become proficient to process, analyze, and interpret air pollution and meteorological data and to apply scientific methods and environmental engineering strategies that help to promote a more sustainable and healthy environment. Further, they will be able to discuss knowledge gaps that require more advanced studying and possibly future research. Their communication skills will improve through discussions and individual project presentations; and, they will obtain an appreciation for the complexity and importance of environmental engineering.

Recommended Prerequisites: None


ENVS 591 Section CO1 Swiftwater Safety
Instructor: Joey Parent, parentaj@vcu.edu
Credits: 1
Section CO1 CRN 40115
Saturday, April 24th and Sunday, April 25th, 2020, 8:00am-6:00pm

Students should be able to assist in maneuvering a guided paddle raft. Participants should be in good health and overall fitness, possess solid swimming ability, and be comfortable swimming in moving current during river drills. Participants should dress appropriately for weather and temperature and expect to be in the water for extended periods of time.

Course Modality: Hybrid-flexible synchronous instruction

Course Description: The River Safety and Rescue class teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards, execution of self-rescue techniques, and simple rescues of recreational paddlers in distress. Emphasis is placed both on personal safety and on simple, commonly used skills. Fundamental techniques for dealing with hazards that carry greater risks for both victim and rescuer, such as entrapments, and pins, also are also taught. This course is aimed at whitewater boaters interested in learning fundamental river rescue skills.

Important Note: This class will only meet on Saturday, April 24th and Sunday, April 25th.  Attendance to both days of the course is mandatory.  Failure to attend either day will result in a failing grade.

Essential Eligibility Criteria

This Course is open to all individuals who acknowledge the ability to perform the following essential eligibility criteria:

  • Breathe independently (i.e., not require medical devices to sustain breathing)
  • Independently maintain sealed airway passages while under water
  • Independently hold head upright without neck / head support
  • Manage personal care independently or with assistance of a companion
  • Manage personal mobility independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
  • Follow instructions and effectively communicate independently or with assistance of a companion
  • Independently turn from face-down to face-up and remain floating face up while wearing a properly fitted life jacket
  • Get on / off or in / out of a paddlecraft independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
  • Independently get out and from under a capsized paddlecraft
  • Remount or reenter the paddlecraft following deep water capsize independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
  • Maintain a safe body position while attempting skills, activities and rescues listed in the appropriate Course Outline, and have the ability to recognize and identify to others when such efforts would be unsafe given your personal situation

ENVS 591 Topics: Teaching Practicum (for Teaching Assistants!)
Instructor: Dr. Rodney Dyer, rjdyer@vcu.edu
C
redits: 1, 2, or 3 (depending on what class you are a teaching assistant for)
There are three sections of this course.  If you are interested in TAing for ENVS 300, you need to request an override into ENVS 591 section 001 CRN 42180

Course Modality: Blended-asynchronous instruction

Recommended Prerequisites: For the three credit section of this course (undergrads TAing for ENVS 300), the prerequisite is ENVS 300 (strictly enforced- overrides will only be given to students who meet this requirement).

Course Description: The three credit section of Teaching Practicum (formally known as the Seminar in Sustainability Academics, or SemSA) is for students who desire a deeper understanding of sustainability issues and strategies and who feel the need to be able to communicate more convincingly about sustainability issues, challenges and practices. SemSA builds on sustainability issue literacy and activities introduced in the Sustainable Societies-James River Basin (SS-JRB) course (ENVS 300). SemSA students put their issue literacy and communication skills to work mentoring students in a SS-JRB class. By practicing varying methods of delivering and sharing information and types of learning activities in the lab-like environment of the SS-JRB classroom, SemSA students deepen their own issue knowledge and have the opportunity to practice management, mentoring and leadership skills. The goal of the SemSA course is to help equip motivated students to be knowledgeable, confident, effective sustainability leaders.

Important Note: Students in this course will be teaching assistants for Dr. Toibin’s ENVS 300 course.   If you completed ENVS 300 with a grade of A or B and are interested in being a teaching assistant for this course, please email Dr. Toibin for more information.  After he gives you permission to enroll in this section of ENVS 591, please contact Lindsay Freeman at envsadvising@vcu.edu to request an override.


Additional Course Information for Spring 2021:

To view additional ENVS course descriptions and prerequisite requirements (for non-topics courses), please click here.

ENVS 335 Environmental Geology (a major requirement for environmental studies students who entered VCU prior to fall 2020) has been discontinued.  Current ENVS majors can substitute in any upper level ENVS or approved/related elective for this requirement (Lindsay Freeman will submit the substitution waiver before you graduate).

ENVZ 335 Environmental Geology Lab (a major requirement for environmental studies students who entered VCU prior to fall 2020) has been discontinued.  It will be waived for all current students who haven’t yet completed it (Lindsay Freeman will submit the waiver before you graduate).

ENVS 411 Oceanography (a major requirement for environmental studies students who entered VCU prior to fall 2020) has been discontinued.  Current ENVS majors can substitute in any upper level ENVS or approved/related elective for this requirement (Lindsay Freeman will submit the substitution waiver before you graduate).  Our suggested oceanography substitution is ENVS 355 WATER, which is being taught during spring 2021.

Do you want to take multiple topics courses that share a course number (for instance, two different sections of ENVS 591)?  Please email Lindsay Freeman at envsadvising@vcu.edu to ask for a duplicate course override for that course number!

Are you a senior ENVS major looking for a capstone course for Spring 2021?  Here are your capstone options!

  • ENVS 314 Man & Environment- online/ synchronous option
  • ENVS 491 Invasive Species Management in Urban Parks- in person option
  • ENVS 491 Urban Ecology- hybrid/ asynchronous (partially in person) option
  • ENVS 491 Avian Ecology & Conservation (lecture + lab)- in person option
  • ENVS 492 Independent Study (this requires you to line up an ENVS-related independent study with a faculty member and talk to Lindsay ahead of time about paperwork and approval!)
  • ENVS 493 Internship (this requires you to line up an ENVS-related internship and talk to Lindsay ahead of time about paperwork and approval!)

After you register for a capstone course, please contact Lindsay Freeman at envsadvising@vcu.edu to request an override into ENVS 499 Capstone Experience (0 credits- this simply checks the “capstone box” on DegreeWorks if you are on the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 bulletin for the ENVS major).  If you are on an older ENVS major bulletin (2018-2019 or earlier), you most likely don’t need to register for ENVS 499 (your capstone course will sub in for ENVS 490 on DegreeWorks instead), but check on this with Lindsay just in case!


Graduating in Spring 2020?

If you plan to graduate this spring, you must do the following:

 

  1. The graduation application will be available on eservices starting January 13th, 2020. You must apply to graduate by Friday, January 24th, 2019.
    If you have already discussed waivers/ substitutions for ENVS major requirements with Lindsay (for example, subbing in an ENVS elective for the discontinued ENVS 411) but they still need to be processed, she will take care of this by late January/ early February after seeing that you have applied to graduate. If you are waiting on transfer courses to come to VCU or still need to submit the HS foreign language waiver, please follow the instructions included below. You should apply to graduate on time even if you are waiting on issues like these to be resolved!
  2. If you are not 100% sure you are on track for graduation this spring, please email Lindsay Freeman (envsadvising@vcu.edu),  schedule an advising appointment, and/or come to ENVS walk in advising hours by January 17th (the last business day before the add/drop deadline for spring 2020) to make sure you are all set.  Remember, you must earn at least 120 total credits to graduate with any bachelor’s degree at VCU. At least 45 of these credits must be upper level.
    Regarding capstone:
    If you did not already complete a course that qualifies to count as a capstone during your senior year, you must do so this spring!  For those of you on 2018-2019 (or earlier) bulletin, I will sub in your capstone course for ENVS 490 on your DegreeWorks if you are taking a course other than ENVS 490 as your capstone.  Those of you who have switched to the 2019-2020 bulletin must take ENVS 499 Capstone Experience (0 credit placeholder “course”) in addition to your capstone elective in order for things to slot in correctly on your DegreeWorks.  Please email me ASAP if you need an override into ENVS 499!

To access the application to graduate:
Log into your MyVCU Portal.  Click on eServices–> Student–> Student Records–> Apply to Graduate.  If you are graduating with a double major, dual degree, or certificate (like the Certificate in Sustainable Innovation), please complete an application for each major.

Regarding transfer credits that haven’t been sent to VCU:
If you need to transfer any credits from other institutions to VCU (if you took a summer course at a community college, for example), please take care of this as soon as possible.  Transcripts should be sent to: VCU Transfer Center, 900 Park Avenue Box 842532, Richmond, VA 23284-2532. 

Regarding the VCU Life Sciences Foreign Language Requirement:
If you successfully completed three levels of one foreign language in high school, you qualify to have the VCU Life Sciences foreign language requirement waived.  Please go to this page and follow all instructions under the “High School Foreign Language Waiver Information” heading if you qualify for this waiver but your foreign language requirement has not yet been waived on DegreeWorks.


COVID-19 Update 3/23/20:

VCU Life Sciences will no longer be holding a departmental commencement ceremony for spring 2020 graduates. We will be inviting all spring and summer graduates to participate in our fall ceremony. Please see below for updated information from the VCU Commencement office:

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health officials, the university’s Commencement exercises will no longer be held as planned on May 8-9. All 2020 graduates and their guests are now invited to participate in the university’s Commencement ceremony on Dec. 12, 2020. The university is planning additional opportunities to recognize May graduates and the individuals who supported our graduates through the years. More information is forthcoming.” 

For the latest information, graduating students and their guests are encouraged to visit the university’s COVID-19 website and VCU Health’s COVID-19 website, both available from the vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org homepages. For questions, please email UNIVevents@vcu.edu.

Q: Will the spread of the COVID-19 virus impact the university’s commencement exercises?

A: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health officials, the university’s Commencement exercises will no longer be held as planned on May 8-9. 

Q: Are the spring college and school ceremonies also cancelled?

A: Yes. This decision includes all school, college and special ceremonies. If there are any alternative plans to recognize graduates, they will be shared by the sponsoring school or office.

Q: How will the university celebrate May 2020 graduates?

A: All 2020 graduates and their guests are now invited to participate in the university’s Commencement ceremony on Dec. 12, 2020. The university is planning additional opportunities to recognize May graduates and the individuals who supported our graduates through the years. More information is forthcoming. 

Q: What details can be shared about the December Commencement ceremony?

A: Planned for Dec. 12, 2020, VCU Commencement will bring graduates from all schools and colleges together to celebrate their academic achievements. The biannual ceremony will feature the president of the university and a keynote speaker. More details about VCU Commencement and other school and college ceremonies will be forthcoming.

Q: Does the cancellation of Commencement exercises affect my degree conferral or diploma?

A: No. The cancellation of Commencement exercises will not affect degree conferral or diploma for graduating students. The official conferral date for May 2020 degrees is May 16. Degrees will post to your record on Tuesday, May 26. Degrees will not appear on academic transcripts until this date. Degrees will only show for those students who have satisfied all degree requirements and receive final approval. Students should check their academic transcript via eServices to ensure your degree has been posted before requesting official transcripts. 

Diplomas will be mailed beginning June 22, to the address provided during graduation checkout. To receive your diploma, you must meet all financial obligations to the university. Diplomas will not be released for those students who have not met their financial obligations. Please contact the Office of Records and Registration at (804) 827-1673 or graduation@vcu.edu once those obligations have been met.

Q: Will students have the opportunity to order academic regalia (caps, gowns, hoods, cords, tassels, etc.)?

A: Students will be able to purchase their academic regalia and other Commencement items. The university is working with its partners to finalize details. More information is forthcoming. 



Spring 2020 Commencement is the weekend of Saturday, May 9th, 2020. 
Graduates have the opportunity to celebrate their achievement at two ceremonies: the university-wide ceremony and their school or department’s ceremony.  At departmental ceremonies, graduates will be recognized individually and will walk across the stage.  At the university-wide ceremony, graduates are recognized collectively by school, with the exception of Ph.D. and Ed.D. candidates, who will be recognized individually.

University-wide ceremony (please RSVP here by early May)
Saturday, May 9th, 2020 at 10:00 am
Greater Richmond Convention Center

VCU’s university-wide Commencement ceremony brings graduates from all schools and colleges together to celebrate their academic achievements. The annual ceremony features the president of the university. This event is open to the public. Tickets are not required and seating for guests is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at [TBD].

VCU Life Sciences Ceremony
Friday, May 8th, 2020 at 6:00pm (graduates must arrive by 5:30pm)
VCU W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, Concert Hall
922 Park Ave., Richmond, Va. 23284

Tickets may be required for guests.  If tickets are required, Amie Knapp (aknapp2@vcu.edu) will contact all pending graduates via email with more information about ticketing in April.

Please refer to the VCU Commencement Website for additional information (the website should be up to date by sometime in March). You may also contact the Graduation/ Degree Audits Office with questions at (804) 828-1917 from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Spring 2020 Advising Updates


ENVS majors/minors: Please schedule advising meetings by clicking here.  Prospective ENVS majors/ minors should email envsadvising@vcu.edu to set up an appointment with Lindsay Freeman.

Walk in advising will begin on Tuesday, January 7th  Walk ins are first come, first served and are meant for quick advising check ins (10-15 mins).  If you need to meet for longer than 10 minutes, it is best to schedule a full advising appointment.  Walk in advising as well as advising appointments for ENVS majors are held in room 107 of the Trani Life Sciences Building.  The walk in schedule is posted below.

Spring classes start on January 13th, 2020

The last day to add or drop spring 2020 courses is Sunday, January 19th.

The last day to withdraw from spring 2020 courses is Friday, March 20th.  Read about withdrawals at VCU (including information about tuition refunds) here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions? Please email undergraduate academic advisor Lindsay Freeman at envsadvising@vcu.edu.

Student Orgs for ENVS Majors & Minors

This page is under construction- Please stay tuned for updated student orgs and links


Please consider joining one or more of the following VCU Student Organizations this year!

Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) at VCU

Green Unity at VCU

Environmental Coalition at VCU

Epsilon Eta (NEW for fall 2020! A professional and honor fraternity at VCU that is specifically environmentally focused)

0-Waste RVA

109 World at VCU

The Wildlife Journal Club

ECO Fashion

USGBC-GV, VCU Chapter

ETC: Environmental Technology and Collaboration

Sustainability, Accessibility, and Partnership (SAP)

Non-VCU Organizations in Richmond:

Environment Virginia

James River Association

Richmond Audubon Society

Sierra Club- Falls of the James Group

Virginia League of Conservation Voters

Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Back to School Announcements!

BACK TO SCHOOL ANNOUNCEMENTS!

Before add/drop ends at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, August 26th, I want to remind you of several things that may impact your course schedule this semester.  This information could potentially impact your fall 2015 schedule as well as your graduation date.  If you have any follow up questions, feel free to come to walk-in hours next week or email me at envsadvising@vcu.edu.

Changes to Scheduled Walk-In Hours:
Walk-ins on 8/24 will be held from 3:30-5 pm instead of from 1-3 pm. All other walk-in hours for next week will continue as scheduled. I will not be in the office again until Monday afternoon, but will be responding to emails in the meantime.

Regarding Advising Appointments:
Please make appointments with me through UC Me- it’s much easier for both of us than emailing back and forth for an appointment time!  Just log onto your MyVCU Portal and click on “advising appointments” to see my availability.  You can view my schedule and make appointments up to two weeks in advance, and must book your appointment by 4pm the day prior to the appointment. 

 Appointment FAQs:

  1. What if I need to meet before add/drop, was not able to get an appointment on UC Me, and cannot make it to any of the walk-in times?  If this is the case, email me (let me know your situation) and I will do my best to fit you in at another time.  If you would like to meet about something that is not time-sensitive, please wait until there is an appointment available through UC Me or come to walk-in hours rather than emailing me to schedule an appointment (I will be much less busy after next week).
  2. Why aren’t there any available appointment slots for a particular week?  This means I am all booked up for that week.  Check the following week for availability. Availability may increase if an appointment is cancelled.
  3. How do I make an appointment if you are not my assigned advisor?   Scroll down on the “advising appointments” page, and click on the “Considering an Environmental Studies Major?” option in order to schedule your appointment.
  4. What if I schedule an appointment but end up needing to cancel?  If this is the case, please either cancel the appointment through UC Me or email me to let me know you need to cancel. As long as you do this before 4pm the day before our appointment, it will free up my schedule so another student can reserve an appointment at this time. Even if you end up having to cancel at the last minute, letting me know that you don’t plan to come is always very appreciated:)

Info about Fall 2015 Courses, ENVS Requirements, and Waivers:

1. ENVS 105 OR URSP 204 are prerequisites for ENVS 335/ENVZ 335 and ENVS 332, but you do not need to take the ENVZ 105 or URSZ 204 lab. These requirements still show up on your Degree Works because the bulletin has not officially been changed, but we will waive this lab requirement if you choose not to take the lab. 

2. We can substitute ENVS 201 for the LFSC 301 requirement on DegreeWorks in many cases, but it depends on what other courses you have taken towards other requirements (for example, ENVS 201 can’t fulfill both the LFSC 301 requirement and the “approved ENVS elective” requirement).

Please take note that this fall is the last time ENVS 201 AND LFSC 301 will be offered between now and next fall. Therefore, if you plan to graduate anytime before fall 2015 and have not taken either of these classes, you must register for one of these courses this fall.   If you are in this situation and still need to get into one of these classes, email me ASAP!  

3. ENVS 330/BIOL 332 is another course that will not be offered again until Fall 2016.  If you plan to graduate any time before December 2016 and have not taken this course, let me know ASAP so we can try to get you into this class before add/drop ends.

4. Extra upper level (300+) ENVS and BIOL courses can usually be substituted for the SOCY/POLI 320 requirement in DegreeWorks, although you can still take the 320 course to meet this requirement if you’d like.  Your “approved ENVS elective” will not double-slot to fulfill this requirement.  An additional course is required; it just doesn’t specifically need to be SOCY/POLI 320.

5. If you took the Math Placement Test and either placed into MATH 200 or completed MATH 200, you do not need to take MATH 151- this is something we can waive.  However, if you place into MATH 200 and are interested in going to grad school, it is in your best interest to go ahead and take it. Keep in mind that you will still need to take STAT 210 and STAT 314.

6. We strongly recommend that Environmental Studies majors take ECON 325 during the spring semester (when a section is taught by ENVS faculty).   If you are currently registered for this class, consider replacing it with something else.  Those of you who plan to graduate this fall should not drop this course as it is a graduation requirement that cannot be substituted or waived.

7. Fulfilling a biology minor in addition to your ENVS major does not require many extra classes because most of the requirements overlap with those of the ENVS major (you already have to take BIOL/Z, 151, BIOL/Z 152, BIOL 317, and ENVS330/BIOL 332 for the Environmental Studies major).  If you switch to the new bio minor bulletin (2015-2016), it just requires two additional bio classes (most of which we can sub in for the ENVS elective and the 320 requirement) and one lab (most ENVS students choose ecology lab).  To formally declare the minor, you will need to turn in a Change of Major Form to the Biology Advising Office in room 118 of the Life Sciences Building. If you are on the old bio bulletin and would like to switch to the new requirements, please email bioadvising@vcu.edu.

I will be going through everyone’s DegreeWorks in the next few months and submitting all necessary waivers that I notice need to be done, but if you are planning to graduate this fall and have not yet discussed your pending waivers with an advisor, please email me.  If you have questions about what classes/requirements you can substitute or waive, please don’t hesitate to ask.

High School Foreign Language Waiver:
If you took 3 or more years of the same foreign language in high school, you do not need to take any foreign language at VCU in order to graduate with a B.S. in Environmental Studies.  The foreign language requirement can be waived by completing and turning in the high school foreign language waiver to the Office of Student Services for the College of Humanities and Sciences, which recently relocated to the first floor of Founders Hall at 827 W. Franklin St, Room 102. Transfer Students must include an official copy of your high school transcript in a sealed envelope, or have one sent directly to the Office of Student Services, P.O. Box 842507, Richmond, VA 23284­-2507. 

Back to School Announcements for Environmental Studies Majors

vcu

WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE!

As you probably know, Richmond is hosting the UCI Road World Championships this September, which will be impact VCU’s academic calendar for the fall semester. Click here for details.

One important change that you need to be aware of is that the first day of classes on the Monroe Park Campus, Wednesday August 19, 2015, will follow a Monday class schedule. Normal class schedules resume on Thursday, August 20. Classes scheduled for Wednesdays during the semester will meet for the first time on August 26, 2015. MCV Campus students should follow their departmental schedule. For more information visit academiccalendars.vcu.edu.

Add-Drop Week Schedule

The deadline to add/drop classes is Wednesday, August 26th at 11:59pm.  

If you have not finalized your schedule at this point, please do so ASAP and email me or make an appointment if you have any questions about what you should be taking. For those of you waiting for certain classes to open up, I recommend that you check eservices as often as possible between now and the 26th to improve your chances of getting into the courses you need.

You can now make appointments with me through UC Me! Just log onto your MyVCU Portal and click on “advising appointments” to see available appointment time slots. If I am not showing up as your assigned advisor, scroll down on the “advising appointments” page, and click on the “Considering an Environmental Studies Major?” option in order to schedule your appointment. You can schedule appointments up to two weeks in advance, and must book your appointment by 4pm the day prior to the appointment.  If you anticipate needing to meet for more than 45 minutes, please book two time slots in a row. If absolutely none of the available time slots work for you, email me and I will try to fit you in at another time.

ENVS Advising Walk In Hours- REVISED Walk-ins are first come, first serve, and will be held in room 107 of the Life Sciences Building.  Walk-in advising is for students with quick questions about scheduling/ fall registration (10-15 minute time slots).

Therefore, If you need a full 30-45 minute advising appointment, please do not expect to have all of your questions/concerns addressed during walk-ins. Book an appointment with me instead! 

Please email me at ENVSadvising@vcu.edu if you have any questions!