The Great Lakes Research Consortium (GLRC) proposes to immerse 20 undergraduate faculty in a 3-week summer practicum that demonstrates environmental problem-solving as an effective teaching strategy to stimulate undergraduates' interest in environmental science. This model has proven to be effective during a summer practicum for undergraduate environmental science teachers of two and four year colleges who, as a result of the practicum, successfully incorporated environmental problem solving curriculum into their courses. Undergraduate faculty participants learn environmental analysis techniques and prepare environmental impact statements (EIS) for a hypothetical development project in a contaminated harbor of Lake Ontario. As they are being exposed to new innovative theoretical concepts and techniques developed by the Great Lakes research community to understand and solve environmental problems, participants are shown how to integrate environmental problem-solving into curricula at their home institutions. Special topics, based on the Great Lakes experience, will include the theories and applications of cascading trophic interactions and particle-size spectra in community ecology; analytical methods for determining toxic chemical concentrations in sediments and fishes; and the use of microcomputers for massbalance and bioenergetics modeling of large lake systems. Through preparation of environmental impact statements for a realistic project, these techniques will be integrated into the overall environmental analysis and problem-solving approach that has stimulated undergraduate interest in science at two GLRC campuses for a decade. Participants in the practicum will return to their home institutions with expanded and updated professional skills and new strategies, methods and techniques for improving undergraduate education and addressing environmental problems in local communities.
Great Lakes Research Consortium Practicum in Applied Environmental Problem-Solving: New Approaches and Techniques for Undergraduate Teaching Faculty