We are a fully interdisciplinary program
As a fully interdisciplinary program, we consider environmental issues within the framework of a broad, interdisciplinary education. The ES program draws on and integrates knowledge from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Such a program develops the student’s ability to recognize and deal effectively with the full complexity of environmental issues: scientific facts, political theories, economic principles, ethical issues, aesthetic values, etc.
The ES program develops the student’s ability to:
- recognize how ideas, values, and practical problems require knowledge of various disciplines
- integrate knowledge from various disciplines in understanding ideas and values and in solving practical problems
- evaluate differing positions and arguments in a rational and open-minded way
- “think out of the box.”
We are a liberal arts program
The ES program also is firmly based in the liberal arts at UW Oshkosh.
What is Liberal Arts?
“A liberal arts education transcends preparation for specific careers. A liberal arts education prepares students to be responsible citizens who understand and contribute to the changing world in which they live. It exposes students to a broad spectrum of knowledge about the human experience and the natural world, from contemporary science to literature, music and art. It enhances the skills of communication and critical thinking. It challenges students to appreciate their cultural heritage, to be sensitive to diverse traditions and opinions and to value truth. It encourages students to develop a lifelong commitment to inquiry. In sum, a liberal arts education develops the whole person who values knowledge for its own sake as well as for the achievement of specific objectives.”
Placed within the framework and goals of liberal arts, our ES program challenges students:
- with a variety of approaches, genres, and sensitivities to nature, from science to poetry, in order to develop a more rounded perspective on nature and society
- by studying the way various cultures and historical periods have thought about and interacted with nature and society
- by exposing them to a variety of environmental and political perspectives, some of which are very different from the dominant ideologies of our time.
We are a career focused program
“Green jobs” are among the fastest-growing areas of the job market, and the ES Program prepares students to go into this rapidly expanding field. As they move through the program, students will:
- explore environmentally-focused career resources
- participate in in-class workshops on writing resumes and cover-letters, interviewing, and networking
- have practice job interviews
- network with ES alumni working in a range of fields.
Career preparation in an interdisciplinary, liberal arts program is not limited to vocational training. Our ES Program also aims at developing the ability of students to become creative in their fields, and to become leaders in their fields. In addition, the interdisciplinary nature of the program gives students a greater ability to change fields during their career. Changing fields, and even careers, is not uncommon, and environmental careers are rapidly expanding and diversifying. Thus it has been argued that “environmental studies should educate students for careers that don’t yet exist.” We believe a fully interdisciplinary, liberal arts program is the best way to do that.
We are a dynamic program
UW Oshkosh’s ES program is challenging in various ways.
- The courses themselves are rigorous, demanding substantial study time and high-level intellectual engagement.
- Students must be able to do well in a broad range of courses, including the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
- Students are challenged to consider a wide diversity of political, philosophical, and cultural perspectives and various approaches to environmental problems.
- Students must be able to integrate knowledge from various disciplines, particularly in the interdisciplinary seminars
- In the capstone Senior Seminar, students put their knowledge into action by tackling real world sustainability problems on campus and in the community
- Students must take the initiative to follow through with the ES career preparation program, which encourages students to gain practical experience and gives guidance on learning about ES careers and jobs.