In 1986 the School of Natural Resources (SNR) embarked on a project to define and implement an undergraduate core curriculum that integrates natural and social science in the context of natural resource education. Currently this curriculum includes seven courses (21 credits) taken over five semesters beginning in the student's first semester and ending in their last year. At the outset, the students take two separate introductory courses, one introducing them to concepts in natural science and the other introducing them to natural resources from a social and cultural perspective. This paper describes the next phase of their curricular experience, a set of three courses taken concurrently. The overall goals of the courses are to introduce and integrate theories and approaches to analysis in ecology and social science as applied to environmental issues. This paper describes our use of the concept of integration in the context of natural resource education and three models for incorporating it into this portion of the SNR Core Curriculum. Our working definition of integration involves three levels: (1) process-logistics integration, and (3) framework integration. The first is related to the process of establishing and delivering the courses including management of instructor, student, and teaching assistant roles across the disciplines. The second is related to bringing together ecological and social science knowledge to provide different views of a single natural resource case or issue. The third is related to recognizing and using conceptual frameworks shared across ecological and social science.
Ginger, Clare and Wang, Deane
"Experience and experiments in integrating ecology and environmental policy in an undergraduate curriculum,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 7, Article 50.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol7/iss1/50