Why Rhodes for Environmental Studies & Sciences?


The Environmental Studies & Sciences program at Rhodes offers several distinct ad-vantages to students.

1. All students take a broad range of coursework which requires them to think across disci-plinary lines. Twelve different departments participate in the program. Our team-taught core course, Environment and Society, creates a context for students to think about envi-ronmental issues past and present from a humanities/social sciences perspective as well as a natural science perspective. All students in the program take this course as well as a cap-stone Senior Seminar, so students in Environmental Studies & Environmental Sciences come into contact and dialogue with one another and are not separated into distinct groups. Regardless of which major one pursues, students must also take courses in the other half of the program, so students are always involved in an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the environment.

2. All students in both majors must take Geographic Information Systems, a crucial skill for anyone working with environmental issues today.

3. Rhodes is well-situated for a range of research and study since it is both in the Mississippi River ecosystem and on top of the New Madrid fault, and also located in a major urban area with all of the associated environmental issues that come with cities. Thus Rhodes students encounter a wide range of environmental issue in their own back yard.

4. As a result of its location, Rhodes students have a broad range of internships and volun-teer opportunities in the Memphis region. We have partnerships with organizations like Shelby Farms Park Conservancy (the largest urban park in the US), Bridges USA, Wolf River Conservancy, Livable Memphis, Project Green Fork, and many other local organizations where we place interns, and there are more all the time.

5. Rhodes emphasizes student research, and the Environmental Studies and Sciences pro-gram has embraced that goal as well. Students have participated in the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, an 8 week summer research experience; they have presented work at our Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Symposium (URCAS); and they have presented research in local and national conferences.

6. We encourage students to study abroad/away when possible. The biology department regularly takes students to Namibia in May as part of a course on Environmental Issues in Southern Africa. We have a growing partnership with the Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming, where we offer a Maymester course called Rocky Mountain Ecology. Students go on the SEA Semester program and any number of other study abroad programs and often count those courses toward their Environmental Studies or Environmental Sciences majors.

7. For the last few years, the Environmental Studies & Sciences program has been able to offer travel grants to majors and minors attending conferences or doing research off-campus, and we have also provided grants to majors and minors doing environmental study abroad programs. We will keep funding these student opportunities as long as we are able.

8. Finally, as part of a rigorous small liberal arts college, students in this program get lots of personal attention and mentoring. Those personal connections with professors lead to richer classroom and research experiences as well as more detailed and personal letters of recommendation.