Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 32.00
Liaison Kevin Moran
Submission Date May 22, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Drake University
AC-3: Undergraduate Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one sustainability-focused major, degree program, or the equivalent for undergraduate students (I.e. an interdisciplinary academic program that concentrates on sustainability as an integrated concept)?:
Yes

Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate degree program:
Environmental Science

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program:

This interdisciplinary science degree prepares students as part of a liberal arts tradition to understand connections between human beings and their effects on the Earth's environment.

Drake Environmental Science students are grounded in the natural sciences disciplines while also acquiring the ability to synthesize information across disciplines. Students develop technical and quantitative skills including laboratory and field methods, statistical analysis and the implementation of geographic information systems (GIS). Courses in the social sciences such as economics, politics, policy, and ethics provide an important link to the human element associated with environmental issues. As a graduate of the program, students will be well prepared to undertake graduate study in diverse fields of environmental sciences, as well as to work in governmental and nongovernmental capacities on environmental issues.

Field-work is a key component of this degree, featured in biology, geology, and environmental classes. Iowa's central location in the nation allows students to experience a diversity of ecosystems and human communities during frequently offered weekend and summer field trips. The program also connects students with ongoing environmental projects (for example an 8,000-acre prairie restoration project including bison and elk at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, 20 miles east of campus), with offerings at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory in Milford, Iowa (a biological field station), and with semester-long marine science experiences at the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Students who major in Environmental Science choose one of two tracks, and this helps them to develop deeper skills in their area of interest.

Biological Conservation Track:
The biological conservation track emphasizes field work and understanding interactions in living systems. Students will gain a strong familiarity with a range of organisms, although many will choose to focus more upon either plants or animals. Students who choose this track should be willing to spend time in the field and to endure heat, cold, rain, bugs, and other hazards of nature.

This track provides a broad background in human/ecosystem interactions and prepares you well for careers in, for example, natural resource management, parks, habitat surveys, environmental consulting, zoo conservation, as well as graduate study in conservation biology, environmental science, ecology, or natural resource management.

Hydrology and Geology Track:
The hydrology and geology track emphasizes an understanding of the physical world that supports and defines natural and human systems. Students will gain a strong familiarity with water chemistry, landscape geology, mapping techniques, and ways that water influences and is influenced by its environment.

Poor water quality is one of Iowa's most pressing environmental challenges, and there is very high demand for graduates with this background. The track also prepares students for careers in areas including water resources, environmental consulting, or regulatory enforcement, as well as graduate study in hydrology, geology, or environmental science.


The website URL for the undergraduate degree program:
Name of the sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
Sustainability and Resilience

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program (2nd program):

The S & R curriculum is built around the four major outcomes of developing students’ abilities to analyze choices, think holistically, engage diverse stakeholders, and build the skills they will need to succeed in the workforce. Each year in the S & R major is organized around one or more central courses.

In their first year, students will take an introduction to environmental sciences to familiarize themselves with local and global issues and how to think about the science behind these topics. They also generally take earth science and economics, as both underlie the work they will be doing later on.

The sophomore-level organizing course is called Environmental Case Analysis, and it uses real-world local, national, and international cases to get students started working with scientific data and competing stakeholders to solve complex environmental problems. Sophomores also take courses in environmental sociology and learn to use software (Geographical Information Systems) in the analysis of spatial data.

Juniors take Sustainability and Resilience, where students develop their theoretical understanding but also collect and use data to create a climate footprint for the University and to build a sustainability blueprint for a subset of campus.

Seniors finish their studies with the Capstone, where external stakeholders bring real problems to Drake students. With the oversight of ENSS professors, students use this experience to prepare for post-Drake careers and to demonstrate their mastery of the curriculum. Previous capstone projects have included creating a “net zero” plan for the Des Moines Arts Fair (one of the top art festivals in the nation) to become carbon- and waste-neutral, and developing a green stormwater management plan for the city of Perry, Iowa.

In addition to these courses, students customize their curriculum by choosing upper-level classes that meet the four outcomes but combine to create a unique profile that suits their goals in the rapidly growing S & R field. At the same time, Drake’s location in Iowa’s capital city provides opportunities for internships with governmental agencies, advocacy organizations, businesses, and environmental consulting firms. These internships develop skills, allow students to explore career options, and provide contacts and job references for the future.


The website URL for the undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
Name of the sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
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A brief description of the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
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The website URL for the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
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The name and website URLs of all other sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program(s):
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Does the institution offer one or more sustainability-focused minors, concentrations or certificates for undergraduate students?:
Yes

Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate:
Environmental Science

A brief description of the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate:

This interdisciplinary science degree prepares students as part of a liberal arts tradition to understand connections between human beings and their effects on the Earth's environment. All minors must have an adviser in the program and must successfully complete a minimum of 22 credit hours of course requirements.


The website URL for the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate:
Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):
Sustainability and Resilience

A brief description of the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):

The S & R curriculum is built around the four major outcomes of developing students’ abilities to analyze choices, think holistically, engage diverse stakeholders, and build the skills they will need to succeed in the workforce. All minors must have an adviser in the program and must successfully complete 22-23 credit hours of course requirements.


The website URL for the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):
Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (3rd program):
Zoo and Conservation Science & Comparative Animal Behavior concentration

A brief description of the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (3rd program):

Zoo and Conservation Science concentration:
This interdisciplinary concentration prepares students in a liberal arts tradition for entry level positions leading to leadership positions in zoos and conservation organizations. Coursework in this concentration is strongly interdisciplinary, drawing upon biology, psychology, and environmental science classes. Students develop technical and quantitative skills including laboratory and field methods, statistical analysis, and professional communication. Hands-on experience is a key component of this concentration. The program includes a sophomore practicum and a junior-year internship; this provides real-world experience in zoo and conservation settings and connect students with ongoing projects at the Blank Park Zoo and the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative, both of which are Drake partners located in Des Moines.

Drake’s Zoo and Conservation Science concentration is distinguished by its fundamental interdisciplinarity, emphasis on field experiences, opportunities for research and independent study, and service learning approach in the practicum and internship sequence. (This concentration is available only to students majoring in Biology, Environmental Science, Psychology, or Neuroscience.) Graduates of the program will be well prepared to work in work in the areas of animal behavior, wildlife rehabilitation, and animal conservation, or to pursue graduate study in diverse fields of zoological and environmental sciences.

Comparative Animal Behavior concentration:
The Comparative Animal Behavior concentration offers a coherent interdisciplinary program of study intended to prepare students for employment or advanced study in fields including components of the behavior of captive animals and wildlife. These fields include – but are not limited to – psychology, ethology, neuroscience, veterinary medicine, conservation biology. All students are encouraged to seek laboratory and field experiences in addition to required course work.


The website URL for the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (3rd program):
The name and website URLs of all other sustainability-focused undergraduate minors, concentrations and certificates:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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