Course Information

The following is a list of courses that are part of the curriculum of the M.Ed. Residency Program. You can also download the current Western Washington University General Catalog at

ENVS 597: Place-Based Learning in the North Cascades (6 cr./summer #1: July 28 – Aug. 22, 2014)

This masters program uses a focus on place as an organizing theme for environmental education. The place is the North Cascades region, and this one-month summer block provides an intensive, field-based introduction to the region and its natural, cultural and social history. The course will also examine the ways that the field of environmental education has explored use of place as a means to learn about the environment. Assignments will involve a journal, group projects, discussion and application of knowledge about place to an instructional situation. (NCI)

ENVS 581: Practicum in Teaching Natural and Cultural History (5 credits/fall #1)

While in residence at North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, students will conduct supervised teaching for adults and youth about natural and cultural history. In this and other practica students will be instructors, have their instruction evaluated and develop instructional skills. They will also design, implement and evaluate instruction. (NCI)

ENVS 582: Curriculum in Environmental Education (5 credits/winter #1)

The 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. (NCI)

ENVS 583: Natural History and Science of the North Cascades (4 credits/spring #1)

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. 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. Students will develop specialties on aspects of North Cascades natural history and/or natural science, and assist in instructing the rest of the group. (NCI)

ENVS 584: Leadership and Nonprofit Administration (5 credits/summer #2)

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 will be spread out over several quarters and will provide opportunities to study the organization in which they are participating as well as the structure and administrative approaches of other organizations. (NCI)

ENVS 585: Environmental Education Foundations (4 credits/fall #2)

The emphasis of this course is the theoretical foundations of the broad field of environmental education. Topics will 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 will be required. (WWU)

ENVS 586: Language and Discourse of the Environment (4 credits/fall #2)

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. (WWU)

ENVS 587: Conservation Psychology (4 credits/fall #2)

This course is a critical examination of the psychological and educational research bases for environmental education. 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 will be covered. Course employs lecture, discussion, student presentation and research practica. (WWU)

ENVS 588 : Assessment, Evaluation and Research in EE (4 credits/winter #2)

Assessment of learning, evaluation of programming and research concerning causes, processes and impacts are discussed in this course. The bulk of students’ work will focus on the challenges and techniques of evaluation of programming in the nonprofit EE sector. Attention will be paid to making evaluation a habitual and iterative process in organizations, and to making it useful to stakeholders. Designing and conducting evaluations will be examined in principle through case studies and by undertaking a group project. Study and practice of techniques will be balanced with broader discussion of evaluation guiding questions and methodological concepts. (WWU)

ENVS 589: Professional Writing and Presentation (Capstone) (4 credits/ winter #2)

Each student will produce a portfolio of their work during the seven quarters of their master’s study, 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. (WWU)