2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 31
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


DONOVAN, R. Nowell1, SLATTERY, Michael C.1, DONALDSON, Sara E.1, DRUMMOND, Norman2, CHISHOLM, Ian2, ADAMS, Larry3 and ABARCA, Lilliana4, (1)Geology, Texas Christian Univ, Box 298830, Fort Worth, TX 76129, (2)Columba 1400, Community and Int'l leadership centre, Isle of Skye, Staffin, IV51 9Je, United Kingdom, (3)Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, Texas Christian Univ, PO Box 297024, Fort Worth, TX 76129, (4)Vice President - Research and Extension, Costa Rica Institute of Technology, PO Box 159-7050, Cartago, Costa Rica, m.slattery@tcu.edu

An appreciation of Environmental Stewardship is a hallmark of the educated, responsible citizen. The concept arises from the recognition that the dynamics of modern society have placed limits on the growth that our planet can support. Responsible citizenship requires that these limits be identified, understood and factored into ethical decisions. Stewardship leads to vigorous debate within decision-making cadres and leads to confrontation with societies that have a different cultural perspective. Presentation of the concept in an educational setting presents challenges, because much of the knowledge base is cross-disciplinary in nature and may require unusual combinations of faculty, depending on course design. The working model presented here [an on-campus seminar series, utilizing a variety of faculty expertise, followed by an off-campus "experience"] is flexible, distinctive, and has received considerable student acclaim. Course design takes advantage of off-campus sites, in particular the Monteverde Research Institute in Costa Rica and the Columba 1400 centre on the Isle of Skye, Scotland The objectives desired for the course are (i), that students understand that the processes which shape the natural world are complex, in a delicate balance at any given time and in constant flux, and that (ii), they understand the basis for and need to make informed, responsible decisions. The seminars are shared by all students: the "experiences" reflect the stewardship 'properties' of each site. Both sites have a magic of their own that plays a significant, perhaps critical, part in engaging the interest of the student. Following initial success, the potential of further sites is being developed. Critical to initial success has been the sympathetic conceptual and financial underpinning of the seminars by an administration that stresses the global scope of education.