News & Resources


New Courses Added to Au Sable’s Academic Offerings in 2016

Mar 07, 2016

The face and work of creation care is changing. This means that people working or planning to work in the field of environmental conservation are going to need new arrays of knowledge and skills to further the work of Au Sable serving, protecting, and restoring God's earth. To better prepare students to be effective earthkeepers, the Au Sable Institute is adding new courses this summer to reflect both the changing needs of environmental stewardship and its new opportunities.

Environmental Law and Policy (ENVR 310) will be offered in 2016 May Term at Au Sable's Great Lakes Campus by Rachel Lamb M.S., M.P.P., National Organizer and Spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. Experienced in advocacy work through her efforts with congressional representatives and heads of federal agencies in Washington D.C., Rachel will teach students about the policy making process, environmental, political and legal challenges to effective policy formation, and how to gain experience and effectively interact with regional, national, and global policy makers. Taught from the perspectives of both faith and science, students will learn to engage both the Canadian and American environmental policy process, and Rachel will share her perspectives on global policy gained through her overseas experience. Rachel explains, "The Environmental Law and Policy course highlights the vital points of connection between good public policy and the scientific study that informs it...students will be able to recognize the roles of ethics, science and analytical tools such as economics, and how their own vocations can positively contribute towards addressing significant environmental policy changes."

Many people do not yet realize that a knowledge of the ecology, identification, and management of insects represents one of the most useful and employable skill sets in the field of biology today. Insect Ecology of Streams, Forests and Fields (BIOL 365), also offered during May Session at the Great Lakes Campus, will be taught by Dr. David Hoekman of Southern Nazarene University. Holding a Ph.D. in Ecology from Notre Dame and having extensive research experience as an Ecologist in Colorado and Iceland, David's expertise will serve students well. Dr. Hoekman says, "Insects are very important for the functioning of virtually every ecosystem and food web on earth. They are also absolutely beautiful...Once you learn even a little bit about insects, they are a wonderful way to learn about the systems in which they interact. They are a window into the world of biology." In Insect Ecology of Streams, Forests, and Fields, students will explore the life history, behavior, and ecology of terrestrial and aquatic insects and learn how to apply techniques in the growing field of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). A valuable array of practical knowledge and skills will be the result of this field-based course.

Plant Ecology (BIOL 368), taught by Dr. Andrea Nord and Dr. Eric Nord, will be offered at the Pacific Rim Campus on Whidbey Island of Washington State during Summer Session II. Andrea and Eric will be the first ever wife and husband team on Au Sable's faculty, both currently working as professors in the Department of Biology at Greenville College (Illinois, USA) with Ph.D.s in Ecology. Plant Ecology will be a truly modern, cutting edge ecology course, with valuable instruction on experimental design, data organization, and statistical analysis of ecological information, as well as studying how plants interact with both their abiotic environment and other organisms in it. This interdisciplinary course will provide students with opportunities to learn both in the field and in the classroom, and field trips will allow students to examine various physiological adaptations and population processes of local plant species in the beautiful, unique and diverse plant communities of the US Pacific Northwest.

Intellectually challenging and engaging, as well as offering a wealth of employable knowledge and skills, Au Sable's new course offerings in 2016 will allow students to gain specialized knowledge in new areas of study to further the work of creation care. These initial offerings of Environmental Law and Policy, Insect Ecology, and Plant Ecology begin a new phase of Au Sable's educational program for students in participating colleges throughout the US and Canada. Hope to see you in class!