graduate Conceptualizing Our Regional Environment (gCORE)

Fall 2014 quarter

Taught by

history of science and technology
climate justice, climate policy and politics, political ecology, environment and development
chemical oceanography, biogeochemistry, freshwater ecology

This program provides a framework for understanding current environmental issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will begin to develop the skills to become producers of new knowledge, rather than being strictly learners of information already available. Multiple methods of data acquisition and analysis will be introduced through examples drawn from many fields of study. The philosophy of science and the problematic relationship between science and policy are also introduced.

Faculty Biographies
Kevin Francis, Ph.D. , is a historian and philosopher of science, with particular interest in the development of the environmental sciences. Kevin studied biology and philosophy at Reed College. After graduating, he spent several years working as a wildlife biologist for Mt. Hood National Forest. His graduate studies at the University of Minnesota focused on history of science and medicine. His historical research concerns scientific efforts to understand the mass extinction of North American megafauna (e.g. mammoth, mastodon, giant ground sloth) around 12,000 years ago, especially the way that various disciplines approach this problem.

Shangrila Joshi Wynn, Ph.D., is a political ecologist with a particular focus on questions of justice and development in the context of climate change policy and politics. Recent research (Dissertation: Justice, Development and India's Climate Politics: A Postcolonial Political Ecology of the Atmospheric Commons ) has examined climate politics from a North-South environmental justice perspective. Her current research extends this focus by examining climate policy implementation as it intersects with development policy and practice in South Asia, most recently in the form of the Clean Development Mechanism. She is also interested in questions of diversity in higher education, and has conducted NSF-funded collaborative research on the experiences of US geographers of color. Shangrila is originally from Nepal, where she studied Environmental Sciences at St. Xavier’s College in Kathmandu, followed by a year of full-time work as an environmental reporter for The Himalayan Times. She came to the US for graduate studies in International Affairs with a focus on environment and development studies at Ohio University. She continued these interests in an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Environmental Science, Studies and Policy at the University of Oregon with Geography as the focal discipline.  While a doctoral student, she was awarded an OUS-SYLFF fellowship for international research and a Wayne Morse ‘Climate Ethics and Equity’ Dissertation Fellowship in support of her dissertation research and writing. Shangrila comes to the Graduate Program on the Environment with rich teaching experience at the private liberal arts college as well as the public research university educational environments.

Erin Martin, Ph.D. , is an aquatic biogeochemist whose research focuses on examining the role of rivers in the global carbon cycle. Rivers are large sources of carbon to both the atmosphere and the ocean and are consequently critical to our understanding of the global carbon cycle.  While working in the Amazon Basin, her research demonstrated that bacteria living in the river produce high levels of carbon dioxide through respiration, and this carbon dioxide is subsequently lost to the atmosphere.  Her current research in the Mekong Basin (i.e. Cambodia) focuses on characterizing the type of organic carbon that is exported by large rivers to the ocean.  Specifically, she uses molecular tracers to determine where in the watershed the carbon originates from, and uses radiocarbon analyses to determine the age of this material.  Such information is necessary in order to understand the preservation of terrestrial carbon in the ocean, which can affect atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over long time scales.  Through her training (master’s and doctoral degrees from the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington), Erin has research experience working in streams, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.  Additional interests include ocean acidification, estuarine ecology, evaluating the impacts of dams on downstream processes, and microbial ecology.  Her past and present research has been conducted through collaborations with colleagues in Brazil, Cambodia, and the Pacific Northwest.

Program Details

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening

Advertised schedule: 6-10p Tue/Thu


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$100 fee for overnight field trip to Pack Forest, October 16-17, 2014.

Registration Information

Credits: 8 (Fall)

Class standing: Graduate

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

(8 GR credits): 10101

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