Santa Clara University

Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

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Environmental Studies and Sciences News & Events

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Letter from the Chair

Friday, Aug. 5, 2011

Welcome back from what I hope was a terrific summer break. There are many changes underway for SCU’s environmental program.

New Department of ESS

This year Santa Clara University welcomes a new Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences (ESS). The establishment of this new department both demonstrates and deepens SCU’s commitment to fashioning a world that is just, humane, and sustainable.

Interest in environmental fields has been growing rapidly both nationwide and here at SCU. When the university first offered environmental science and environmental studies as majors in 1999, only one student studied it. Currently more than 125 students are majoring in either environmental science or environmental studies.

Dr. Michelle Marvier (that’s me!) will serve as the first official chair of the Department of ESS. The department also welcomes Dr. Virginia Matzek as a new Assistant Professor of Environmental Science.

Environmental Studies Becomes a Stand-alone Major

As a part of creating the Department of ESS, the university has also transformed the environmental studies companion major into a stand-alone major, giving the university depth to offer a robust coursework that focuses on societal responses to environmental problems.

In the past, students could major in environmental studies only in addition to some other primary major. Environmental studies is now recognized as a coherent and rigorous curriculum that includes environmental law, policy, and economics, as well as sustainable development.

Changes to Environmental Science and Studies Course Requirements

All newly enrolled majors in both Environmental Science and Environmental Studies will fall under a revised set of course requirements. Continuing students who were declared before September 1, 2011 will continue under the old set of requirements but can elect to switch to the new requirements if desired. Your advisor will be in touch via email with details.

ESI Lives!

Santa Clara University’s Environmental Studies Institute (ESI) will continue to operate as a separate entity under the direction of Dr. Leslie Gray. ESI will focus on outreach programs in the community such as AmeriCorps, sustainability across the curriculum, campus sustainability, healthy food systems, and urban gardening.

Best wishes for a successful, inspiring academic year!

Michelle Marvier, Chair of the Dept. of ESS