Environmental Studies

Faculty Bios & Courses
Program Advisor:
Environmental Studies combines a core of
environment-centered courses in biology, economics,
philosophy, chemistry, politics, geology, and literature
with a concentration of the student’s own design.
olving complex environmental
problems requires knowledge
and expertise from the sciences,
social sciences, arts, and
humanities. Cornell College’s emphasis
on the liberal arts and our highly
individualized educational approach
are ideally suited to preparation for
advanced study and careers in the
environmental field. Our goal is to
provide a broad understanding of the
interconnectedness of environmental
issues and an understanding of the
complexities of individual issues.
Students amplify their coursework with
capstone experiences that allow them
to put into practice the knowledge and
skills they gain in the classroom. Recent
examples include studying endangered
species, gender roles associated with
agriculture in developing nations, recent
and prehistoric changes to tropical
climate, and environmental politics.
Cornell’s One Course At A Time
curriculum makes it easier for courses
to be taught in parallel, meaning
that students gain exposure to the
issues presented in a partner course
covering similar issues from a different
perspective. The courses share field
trips, readings, and sometimes projects.
One Course is also ideal for extensive
off-campus learning. Programs at
two remote sites allow faculty to offer
several environmental studies courses
during the same block. The Wilderness
Field Station in the Boundary Waters
of northern Minnesota hosts courses
including Ecology, Wilderness Politics,
Environmental Ethics, Entomology,
American Nature Writers, and Plant
Morphology. The Bahamas Term on the
island of San Salvador includes Modern
and Ancient Carbonate Systems of the
Bahamas, Applied Anthropology, and
courses in literature and history, as well
as a class in biological research. Other
off-campus courses are held in Costa
Rica, Ecuador, and New Zealand.
Students are allowed the flexibility
to create an environmental studies
concentration of their own design,
using courses from any department
or combination of departments. A
capstone experience gives each major
the opportunity to pursue an in-depth
project to complement and complete his
or her concentration. These capstone
projects can include student-faculty
research, an internship, or a fellowship.
Senior capstones utilize real world
experiences in solving environmental
problems, such as investigating nitrogen
levels in local streams, measuring food
waste in the Hilltop Café, reconstructing
past changes in Australian monsoon
rainfall, and examining women’s roles
in farming across rural India.
Environmental Perspectives (ENV 101)
introduces students to the breadth of
environmental issues and represents a
novel classroom model. The course is
co-taught by two faculty members, one
from the natural sciences and one
cont. >
Rhawn Denniston
Professor of Geology
Teaches Climate Change,
Climates of the Ice Age,
Environmental Geology,
Earth Surface Systems, and
co-teaches Environmental
Perspectives. Conducts
research with students on
stalagmites and ancient corals
to understand prehistoric
climate conditions around the
world including Portugal, the
Australian (sub)tropics, and the
Dominican Republic.
Affiliated Faculty:
Craig Allin
Professor of Politics
Teaches Wilderness Politics at
the Wilderness Field Station
in northern Minnesota. Author
of “The Politics of Wilderness
Marty Condon
Professor of Biology
Collaborates with professional
and student researchers
around the world to study the
evolution and ecology of plantanimal relationships in
the tropics.
A’amer Farooqi
Professor of
Economics and Business
Co-teaches Environmental
Perspectives. Research
interests include environmental
issues as they relate to
economic growth in developing
Glenn Freeman
Associate Professor of English
Teaches American Nature
Writers at the Wilderness Field
Station in northern Minnesota.
Ben Greenstein
Professor of Geology
Teaches Modern and Ancient
Carbonate Systems of the
Bahamas. Researches
modern and ice age reef coral
community compositions in
coastal Western Australia and
the Caribbean.
social scientist or humanist. The class hosts
guest speakers, field trips, readings, and
regular discussions.
Other innovative class linkages in environmental
studies involve courses taught in parallel, where
two classes share field trips and/or readings, as
is done with Ornithology and American Nature
Writers. Alternatively, students may participate
in sequenced classes, in which the same students
move from one class to the next as a group, and
which include contributions from both professors
in each class. Sequenced environmental studies
courses include Introduction to Sociology and
Physical Geology. Linking courses allows students
to develop a more holistic perspective on the causes
of and solutions to environmental problems.
M.A., communication, culture, and technology,
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
(Class of 2006)
M.S., environmental science, Florida Gulf Coast
University, Fort Myers, Florida (Class of 2006)
Ph.D., paleontology, Yale University, New Haven,
Connecticut (Class of 2006)
Lab manager/field technician, Clear Air
Engineering, Spring, Texas (Class of 2011)
Well-site geologist, Columbine Logging, Inc.,
Boulder, Colorado (Class of 2011)
Staff environmental scientist, LT Environmental,
Arvada, Colorado (Class of 2008)
Alice Ganzel
Associate Professor of
Teaches Fundamentals of
Psychological Science and
Research Methods.
Leslie Kathleen
Professor of English
Teaches Modern American
Literature: Encountering the
Wilderness in Literature and
the Visual Arts.
Hans Hassell
Assistant Professor of Politics
Teaches courses in American
Grant research consultant, Lahaina Restoration
Foundation, Lahaina, Hawaii (Class of 2006)
Andy McCollum
Professor of Biology
Cornell offers Combined Degree Programs, leading
to the master’s degree in several environmental
fields, in cooperation with Duke University and the
University of Michigan.
Senior environmental coordinator, MidAmerican
Energy Company, Urbandale, Iowa (Class of 2005)
Co-teaches Environmental
Perspectives. Studies
endangered turtle species in
Iowa and the tropics.
Deputy associate director for energy and climate
change, Council on Environmental Quality,
Washington, D.C. (Class of 2000)
Cornell faculty members sponsor a number of
ongoing research projects, allowing students to
work collaboratively and build on results over
time. These projects include studies of species
diversity and plant-animal interactions in tropical
rain forests, the ecology and conservation of the
threatened ornate box turtles in eastern Iowa,
prehistoric climate conditions based on stalagmites
and ancient corals from the Australian tropics,
and the ecology and evolution of fire corals in the
Bahamas. Support for student capstone research
is available from a number of sources, including
an endowed fund overseen by the Environmental
Studies program, and through external grants
from the Mellon Foundation and the National
Science Foundation.
M.S., environmental sciences, Louisiana State
University at Baton Rouge (Class of 2012)
Ph.D., paleontology, Cornell University, Ithaca,
New York (Class of 2009)
Ph.D., ecology, University of Connecticut,
Mansfield, Connecticut (Class of 2007)
Environmental consultant, Alliant Energy,
Muscatine, Iowa (Class of 2000)
Environmental specialist, Fehr-Graham &
Associates, Freeport, Illinois (Class of 2000)
Natural resource management extension agent,
Peace Corps, Mali (Class of 1999)
Environmental public health specialist, Jefferson
County Health Department, Arnold, Missouri
(Class of 1996)
Director of polar expeditions, The Northwest
Passage, Wilmette, Illinois (Class of 1992)
Research associate, the U.S. Geological Survey,
Lawrence, Kansas (Class of 1992)
Environmental scientist, URS Corporation, Denver,
Colorado (Class of 1988)
Engineering geologist/environmental consulting,
Fox Engineering Associates, Inc., Ames, Iowa
(Class of 1987)
Integrated waste management specialist, California
Environmental Protection Agency, Sacramento,
California (Class of 1980)
Associate Professor of
Biology and Chemistry
Teaches Environmental
Mary Olson
Professor of Sociology
Conducts research on fishing
rights in the Pacific Northwest.
Craig Teague
Associate Professor
of Chemistry
Teaches Environmental
Chemistry. Conducts research
with students to better
understand the behavior of
polyoxometalates, a class of
materials that shows potential
for mitigating heavy metals
and nuclear waste in the
Emily Walsh
Associate Professor
of Geology
Teaches linked geologysociology courses focused
on use of natural resources.
Conducts research on the
mechanisms involved in
subduction zones.
Jim White
Professor of Philosophy
Teaches Evolution and