Stephen Pacala Awarded Funding For New Course: The Environmental Nexus

Holly P. Welles ・ High Meadows Environmental Institute

Stephen Pacala, the Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and former director of the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), has been awarded funding through Princeton University’s 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education to create a new Environmental Studies course, ENV 200 “The Environmental Nexus”, to examine a collection of global environmental crises.

The objective of the fund is to support the University’s “central and enduring commitment to outstanding undergraduate teaching.”

“When today’s undergraduates reach the peaks in their careers,” said Pacala, “four global environmental problems involving our climate, food, water, and biodiversity will also approach their peaks. The world will need to deal with the environmental nexus of climate change, biodiversity loss, and challenges to our supplies of food and fresh water.” This new course will address multiple dimensions of the issues, including scientific, political, social and ethical aspects and will be accessible to all majors and classes.

In addition to the lectures, each student will enroll in one of six (6) different sections designed to fulfill a range of distribution requirements including: science and technology with laboratory (STL); science and technology without laboratory (STN); quantitative reasoning (QR); ethical thought and moral values (EM); literature and the arts (LA); and social analysis (SA).

By engaging high numbers of students from multiple disciplinary backgrounds, PEI aspires to create the largest possible conversation within the University community about climate change and other pressing environmental challenges.

The course will be taught for the first time in the spring of 2017. More information will be available in the fall of 2016.