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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Physical and Biological Sciences Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENVS 312
Course Title: *Environmental Politics
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Study of environmental issues and policies from both a national and global perspective. Cross-listed as POSC 312. Prerequisite: POSC 111.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): POSC 111.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Occasional offering.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any appropriate text for a course in Environmental Politics.

Environmental Politics: Domestic and Global Dimensions
By Switzer, Jacqueline, & Gary Bryner (St. Martin’s Press)
Environmental Politics and Policy
By Rosenbaum, Walter (Congressional Quarterly Press)
The Environmental Case: Translating Values into Policy
By Layzer, Judith (Congressional Quarterly Press)
Environmental Policy: New Directions for the 21st Century
By Vig, Norman J., & Michael E. Kraft (Congressional Quarterly Press)
Global Environmental Politics
By Porter, Gareth & Janet Brown (Westview Press)
Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Environmental Issues
By Goldfarb, Thomas Easton (Dushkin/McGraw-Hill)
Course Objectives
  • To explain how environmental policies are made within the United States and in the international arena.
  • To assess the roles played by national political institutions, interest groups and social movements, as well as international governmental and nongovernmental organizations in the making of environmental policy.
  • To explore a number of contemporary environmental issues.
    Measurable Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe and contrast major eras in the development of environmentalism in the United States, including the origins of conservationism and preservationism and the rise of the ecology movement.
  • Identify and explain the features of ecology as an ideology.
  • Recognize the role of the President, Congress, the bureaucracy, the Courts, states, interest groups, and public opinion in the making of environmental politics in the United States.
  • Explain and assess the functioning of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Explain and assess how officials use scientific evidence in the making of policy, including risk assessment procedures.
  • Explain the development, implementation, and impact of selected environmental policies.
  • Describe environmental politics in selected industrialized countries, in particular the role of Green parties and social movements.
  • Identify the major international actors involved in making international policy.
  • Explain the processes of creating and implementing international environmental regimes.
  • Identify the factors leading to successful regime formation and implementation.
  • Describe the differences between northern and southern states on environmental issues.
  • Evaluate environmentalist criticisms of free trade regimes.
    Topical Outline:
  • History of environmentalism
  • Ecology as an ideology
  • The role of science in environmental politics
  • Domestic environmental policy-making institutions
  • Environmental policy issues in the U.S.
  • Environmental politics in other industrialized societies (Western Europe, Russia)
  • International environmental politics
    - Actors
    - Regimes
    - North-South dimensions
    - Trade and the environment

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Brian Kessel Date: February 14, 2006
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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