Courses I Teach
My U.S. Environmental Policy course (ESTU 464) surveys environmental policy politics, primarily in the United States. We will examine the actors, institutions, and processes involved in environmental policymaking giving students a solid foundation for understanding how we address our most pressing environmental concerns.
Each fall, I lead the Environmental Impact Assessment course (ESTU 436) where students traditionally work through the step of Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). However, this regulation just turned forty and is now joined by a host of new processes that offer alternative ways to assess environmental impacts. I therefore began allowing several student groups each year since 2008 to apply the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) assessment framework to class projects. Moreover, and in collaboration with our planning faculty, I have included the course in the third phase of a service-learning collaboration with the City of Bellingham in a program we call the Urban Transitions Studio (UTS). The course culminates in the preparation of a professional report and a public hearing at City Hall and mixes students from both environmental science and environmental studies.
I’ve developed a new course called Greening business policy and practice (ESTU 497e) with Management Professor Dr. Craig Dunn. I received a summer teaching grant in 2009 to develop a new course that integrates new developments in both environmental policy and business practices and better prepares our students to lead at the intersection of public and private greening strategies. Instead of meeting one economic bottom line or complying with a regulatory policy, environmental performance strategies now aim to meet a “triple bottom line” of economics, ecology, and equity. The greening of industry, according to Press and Mazmanian (2006), is neither just a private business matter nor a market failure requiring government intervention but requires novel thinking about finding synergies between government policy and voluntary business efforts.
I also developed an Environmental Policy Analysis course (ESTU 463) as an introduction to policy analysis process. Topics include: approaches to the study of public policy, policy formulation and adoption, methods for the assessment of environmental policy alternatives, ethics and policy analysis, environmental policy implementation and evaluation, and the utilization of policy analysis in decision making. Special attention is given to the issue of environmental justice, approaches and methods for critical analysis and evaluation of environmental policies, and practical applications of policy analysis.
Regulation is an important and pervasive force in American life affecting nearly every aspect of modern society. My US and WA Environmental Regulation course (ESTU 466) provides both a survey and applications of major U.S. and Washington state environmental regulations. Environmental regulations affect the quality of the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the existence of wetlands. We all travel through our environment on top of soil layers, in a layer of air, and it often seems like some kind of water layer. We also are passing through, metaphorically of course, many invisible layers of regulation that determine the quality of the environment and the risks we face from different products and activities. Our job here is to survey those layers of environmental regulation, peel them apart, and then provide a critical narration of those that envelop a major regional environmental issue.