The following is a list of major courses required for the M. Ed. Residency Option. You can also download the current Western Washington University General Catalog at http://catalog.wwu.edu.
ESTU 571: Environmental Education Foundations (4 credits)
The emphasis of this course is the theoretical foundations of the broad field of environmental education. Topics include the history of environmental education, its goals and objectives, its broad literature, the scope of its methodologies and broad trends in the field. The course process will involve reading and discussion, exposure to practitioners and critical analysis of EE theory. An in-depth investigation of a theoretical topic is required.
ESTU 572: Introduction to Place-Based Environmental Education (4 credits)
This masters program uses a focus on place as an organizing theme for environmental education. The place is the North Cascades region, and this course provides an introduction to the study of the region and its natural, cultural and social history. The course also examines the ways that the field of environmental education has explored use of place as a means to learn about the environment. The course is conducted partly on campus and partly in the field during the initial summer quarter, involving physical experience and exploration of the North Cascades as well as academic study. Assignments involve a journal, group projects, discussion and application of knowledge about place to an instructional situation.
ESTU 573: Resource Issues in the North Cascades (4 credits)
Along with place, human interaction with and management of nature is a thematic organizer in environmental education. This course is paired in the initial quarter with ESTU 572, and examines the particular situation of “resource management” in the North Cascades. The principal resources of the region include scenery, forests, minerals, water, wildlife, outdoor recreation and wilderness. What has been the history of development and exploitation of these resources? What have been and are the values and goals of stakeholders in the region? What problems and issues have arisen in exploitation and management of diverse resources? Conducted partly in the classroom and partly in the field, the course involves discussion with managers, journaling, development of a bibliographic resource database and application of knowledge to instruction.
ESTU 574: Cultural Studies of the North Cascades (4 credits)
The focus here is upon the cultural history of the North Cascades region from the earliest aboriginal habitation to the present. The cultural history of the place has gone through stages: home, resource, park and wilderness. Each stage is explored in literature and through interaction with specialists and residents of the area. Students examine various historical perceptions of the landscape by Native Americans, early explorers, early settlers and resource developers such as miners, loggers and water resource developers, resource management agencies, backcountry recreationists and tourists. They also develop skills for cultural study and interpretation of landscape that is transferable to other landscapes.
ESTU 575: Assessment, Evaluation and Research in Environmental Education (4 credits)
Assessment of learning, evaluation of programming and research concerning causes, processes and impacts are discussed in this course. The bulk of students’ work focuses on the challenges and techniques of evaluation of programming in the nonprofit EE sector. Attention is paid to making evaluation a habitual and iterative process in organizations, and to making it useful to stakeholders. Designing and conducting evaluations is examined in principle, by case studies and by undertaking a group project. Study and practice of techniques for all steps in evaluation is balanced with broader discussion of evaluation guiding questions and methodological concepts.
ESTU 576: Natural History and Science of the North Cascades (4 credits)
Natural history includes sensitivity to and familiarity with the patterns of nature in a given place and with the language used to describe them. Natural science deals with the concepts that explain the observed patterns, and their systematic testing against empirical data. Both are integral to interdisciplinary EE programs. This course encompasses field trips conducted throughout the first year of the program, covering basic concepts and methods in ecology, geology, botany and zoology, while also teaching the natural history of the region. No matter what their level of prior knowledge, students develop specialties on aspects of North Cascades natural history and/or natural science and assist in instructing the rest of the group.
ESTU 577: Nonprofit Administration for Environmental Educators (4 credits)
In the nonprofit environment, much of environmental education occurs outside of formal educational institutions. This course is an examination of the nature and qualities of nonprofit educational organizations and models of administering them. Leadership, management and partnership principles and strategies are studied. Topics examined include financial management, fundraising, organizational development, personnel management, marketing, public relations, program management and approaches to and uses of organization evaluation. Instruction is spread out over several quarters while students are in residence, which provides students opportunities to study the organization in which they are participating as well as the structure and administrative approaches of other organizations.
ESTU 578: Practicum in Teaching Natural and Cultural History (3 credits)
While in residence at North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, students do supervised teaching for adults and youth about natural and cultural history. In this and other practica, students are instructors, have their instruction evaluated and develop instructional skills. They also design, implement and evaluate instruction.
ESTU 581: Professional Writing and Presentation (4 credits)
Each student completes a write-up of all research and curriculum development projects undertaken during the program. They complete an oral and written comprehensive examination, and present a summary of their work using presentation skills developed during the course of their studies and supplemented by a study of professional presentation skills during this capstone course. The product of this course is a portfolio of their work during the seven quarters of their master’s study.
ESTU 587: Conservation Psychology (4 credits)
This course is a critical examination of the psychological and educational research bases for environmental education. It includes an introduction to research methods used to investigate environmental behavior change, learning about the environment, development of environmental responsibility, and the formation of ecological ethics across the lifespan. The course employs lecture, discussion, student presentation, and research practica.
ESTU 588: Language and Discourse of the Environment (4 credits)
Using the metaphorical nature of language (Lakoff & Johnson) as a critical lens, this course offers students the opportunity to analyze various strands of environmental discourse and environmental literature.
ESTU 589: Curriculum in Environmental Education (5 credits)
This course examines all aspects of curriculum for environmental education, especially in the non-formal setting of environmental learning centers, nature centers, and outdoor schools. Curriculum theory and methodology appropriate to these settings are studied, as are processes of curriculum design. Current programs and materials in environmental and place-based education are reviewed and critiqued. Students apply theoretical knowledge to problems of curriculum design and implementation and practice development of learning materials appropriate to field-based educational situations.