|Submission Date||March 19, 2014|
Twelve Outcomes for Student Learning
University of Vermont Environmental Studies
Our students graduate with broad educational abilities as well as competency in specific foundational approaches, content areas, and skills (listed below). Broad educational abilities include the capacity to draw on diverse skills and knowledge gained from core courses and to be able to work independently and collaboratively in environmental problem-solving. Students develop effective communication skills (written, oral, electronic) that emphasize analytical, persuasive, collaborative, and expressive forms of communication.
1. Interdisciplinary Thinking
Students have the ability to integrate knowledge across disciplines and to apply an interdisciplinary perspective, one that conceptually organizes and links theories, methods, and data from several disciplines and distinguishes between reductionist and holistic approaches. At advanced levels, they are able to apply an understanding of systems dynamics and sustainability principles to environmental problems across scales.
2. Critical Thinking
Students develop and practice the capacity to think critically, to reason well, to be open-minded, and use evidence-based arguments in analyzing environmental problems and patterns. They are able to identify the rationale behind decision-making and implementation of policy and cultural change. They understand the role of individual and organizational agents in determining environmental outcomes.
3. Global Consciousness
Students appreciate global and regional environmental differences, perspectives, and experiences, including economic and political histories and their impacts on specific communities and resources. They are aware of patterns of injustice, wealth distribution, and global conflict over environmental resources. They apply systems and sustainability perspectives on local-global links regarding climate, energy, water, and food issues.
4. Cultural Competence
Students appreciate the values of diversity within and between cultures as well as biological systems. They are able to recognize, accept, and respect the different values, beliefs, attitudes, and actions among racial, ethnic, religious and social groups. They have cultivated behaviors and skills to function effectively in cross-cultural situations, particularly in environmental education, activism, development projects, and domestic and international research projects.
5. Ethics and Values
Students gain familiarity with personal and social values and their history and role in environmental decision-making. They develop confidence in investigating moral and ethical dimensions of human-environment relations and recognizing the capacity of aesthetics and narrative to convey environmental values. They are conversant with the role of environmental values such as dignity, justice, equity, compassion, and beauty in shaping personal and global worldviews.
6. Ecological Principles
Students are practiced in asking ecological questions and understanding scientific methodologies and theories. They are able to articulate a systems perspective on the nature of environmental problems, especially ecosystem principles and functions at various scales. They demonstrate familiarity with the natural science basis of current environmental issues and are able to approach problems from a pattern perspective.
7. Social Behavior
Students are able to analyze the social dimensions of environmental behavior, using perspectives and tools drawn from the fields of sociology, political science, social psychology, anthropology and economics. They are familiar with social science discourses, research methods and their applications in studying environmental behavior. They understand the dynamics of social and cultural systems, social movement theory, and the role of environmental drivers in human behavior.
8. Governance Processes
Students understand basic processes of environmental organization and governance such as administration, policy, planning, budgeting, regulation, law, and enforcement. They are able to think organizationally and analyze institutional relationships and power dynamics in environmental problem-solving. They understand the role of citizens, elected and appointed officials, and government agencies in developing sustainable environmental solutions.
9. Problem Identification and Solving
Students develop analytic skill in identifying scope and scale of environmental problems and the role of political, economic, social, and cultural drivers. They are able to propose solutions appropriate to specific problems, based on in-depth investigation of local and global factors affecting human-environment systems. They develop imagination and creativity in framing problems, solutions, and visions of an environmentally resilient future.
10. Social Change Agency
Students develop leadership and decision-making skills to achieve environmentally beneficial outcomes. They gain facility in team projects and the ability to work constructively with diverse perspectives, personalities, and groups. Through participation in student and other advocacy activities, they develop pre-professional confidence in future options for environmental work. They gain the capacity to work as effective citizens and social change agents in a range of business, government, education, and non-profit contexts.
11. Communication and Information Literacy
Students develop a clear understanding of the breadth and depth of environmental information, across a variety of disciplines and formats. They are able to frame a research question or information need in clear terms and can locate, access and retrieve information and make informed critical judgments about its quality and usefulness. They are able to synthesize, present and use this information in a way that helps answer a question, solve a problem, or educate self or others.
12. Reflective Learning
Students engage in high impact experiential learning opportunities to increase their depth of experience and motivation through community engagement, internships, service learning classes, field-based learning, study abroad and exposure to diverse cultures. They develop the capacity for peer feedback, self-reflection and assessment of learning impacts to help determine future academic, career, and lifestyle choices.
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE
staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.