RES Courses

All RES students must register in the appropriate RES thesis course below for every term of their program, including all summer terms:

  • RES 599 for master’s students
  • RES 699 for doctoral (PhD) students

 

2019W Term 1 (September 2019 – December 2019)

RES 500B: Directed Studies

Directed Studies courses are designed by a student and faculty instructor to meet the needs of a student in an area that is not addressed in the current curriculum. RES students may register in an RES Directed Studies course with the approval of their supervisor and the RES Graduate Advisor. You must have an approved RES Directed Studies Form prior to registering in this course.

RES 500E: Exploring the food-water-energy-nexus

Instructor: Mark Johnson

Day/Time: Tuesdays 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Location: AERL 107

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

Feeding one billion people requires the annual provision of one quadrillion (10^15) calories (kcal). Because plants use an average of 1 L of water during crop growth for each calorie of food energy produced, the projected growth in the global population from today’s 7.5 billion to 9.5 billion in 2050 will increase agriculture’s portion of the water footprint of humanity by two quadrillion L – or more, since meat has a water footprint 20X greater than cereal grains. These changes will greatly increase agriculture’s impacts on the water cycle, deepening its effects on surface water flows, water pollution and groundwater levels. Global food security is thus intimately tied to freshwater availability, with increasing challenges due to declining water tables and issues related to water quality and changing precipitation patterns. Coupled to that are energy considerations – energy required to produce fertilizers, operate farm equipment, process and distribute food, as well as food used as energy (i.e. biofuels). In this graduate seminar course, students will explore these and other dimensions of the food-energy-water nexus.

2019-20 RES 500E Course Outline

RES 520: Climate Change: Science, Technology and Sustainable Development

Instructor: Navin Ramankutty

Day/Time: Tuesdays 9:30am - 12:30pm

Location: AERL 107

Enrollment: RES Graduate Students. Non-RES graduate students or advanced undergraduates may register with instructor approval.

 

Description

This course will introduce students to the policy debates and responses created by climate change, which has emerged as the most complex environmental challenge facing the planet. On the one hand, changes in global climate are likely to have significant impacts in many parts of the world, and while a small number of regions / sectors may benefit many others could be devastated. On the other hand, reducing greenhouse gas emissions poses significant technological, economic and political challenges. Reductions of greenhouse gas gases will be made in the presence of incomplete information and continued scientific and economic uncertainty. Changes in human behaviour and technological innovations of the magnitude needed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions may be difficult to achieve.

2018-19 RES 520 Course Outline

RES 500D: Navigating the divide between scientific practice and science studies

Instructor: Gunilla Oberg

Day/Time: Thursdays 9:00am - 12:00pm

Location: AERL 416

Enrollment: Graduate students that either conduct natural science studies or study scientific practices (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

For science students, the aim of this course is to grapple with the role of value-judgements in science and how it is plays out in their own field of research

For humanities students studying the scientific enterprise, the aim is to grapple with the communication barrier between science studies and the scientific practice.

Through the use of historic and contemporary cases, students will work in mixed groups to jointly seek ways to navigate the divide between the two communities.

Background: It is well documented that scientists on opposite sides of a policy-relevant scientific controversy commonly perceive the other side as biased but see themselves as objective. More data and rigorous analysis rarely resolve such conflicts, yet the expectation is that it is possible to reach consensus. This expectation hinges on the idea that the scientific enterprise is free of values and that science is a deliverer of irrefutable facts. Numerous studies show, however, that value-judgements are not only unavoidable but also a necessary component of rigorous science, particularly in areas defined by uncertainty (known unknowns) and ignorance (unknown unknowns), which are common in complex fields such as health, environment, communication, safety and planning. Value-judgements are a necessary part of rigorous science in such fields because 100% certainty will never reign. Different scientists will need to decide how much evidence --- and what type – that is needed to draw a conclusion, and an inductive leap must be made from evidence to conclusion. Consensus is therefore not always possible and probably not even desirable. Yet, little is known about how to sensibly navigate this terrain.

While science studies scholars have demonstrated beyond doubt that value-judgements are an integral part of science, most scientists define ‘good’ science as objective and value-free in part because few scientists are familiar with these findings and in part because of a wide-spread distrust among scientists about claims made by philosophers. Even so, philosophy of science education rarely includes questions related to communication obstacles between practitioners of the natural sciences and science studies scholars. In this course, students will grapple with this double challenge.

2019W RES 500D Schedule and Readings

RES 500X: Survey Design in the Environmental Social Sciences

Instructor: Terre Satterfield

Day/Time: Thursdays 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Location: AERL 107

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

Survey research is increasingly popular among interdisciplinary environmental social and natural scientists. This seminar aims to harness that interest to develop survey design skills appropriate to environmental social scientists. It is best suited for graduate level and senior undergraduate level students who have either minimal training in survey methods or are transitioning from disciplines not normally acquainted with these. We will address survey design fundamentals such as: hypothesis development, structure and question order, problems of validity and reliability, the problem of behaviour and choice in design contexts, and sampling strategies for different lay and expert communities.  A particular focus for design will theory and survey practice in the subfields known as: environmental values, attitudes and beliefs; perceived environmental risks; meanings of landscape and place; relational values; and indices of social-ecological and cultural-ecological well-being. Theory and practice for developing scales or indices where none exist or where the design involves ‘difficult to measure’ phenomena will also be examined. Students will also become familiar with and literate in practices pertaining to research ethics, including sensitivity to local norms, gender, power, data sharing and ownership. The course will be workshop intensive and thus is most suited for students who already have a particular field-relevant research objective or topic mind, broadly stated. One key end goal for the seminar is a fully theorized and realized survey instrument that is largely ready for data collection or piloting.

 

2019W Term 2 (January 2020 – April 2020)

RES 500B: Directed Studies

Directed Studies courses are designed by a student and faculty instructor to meet the needs of a student in an area that is not addressed in the current curriculum. RES students may register in an RES Directed Studies course with the approval of their supervisor and the RES Graduate Advisor. You must have an approved RES Directed Studies Form prior to registering in this course.

RES 507: Human Technological Systems

Instructor: Milind Kandlikar and Terre Satterfield

Day/Time: Wednesdays 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Location: AERL 107

Enrollment: RES Graduate Students. Non-RES graduate students or advanced undergraduates may register with instructor approval.

 

Description

The influence of science and technology on public policy is bidirectional. Science and technology (S&T) is influenced by policy decisions (policy for science) and in turn influences public policy (science for policy). The course introduces students to basic models for understanding this bidirectional interaction.  The approach is multidisciplinary, drawing upon literature in a wide range of disciplines including: economics of technological change, philosophy of science, environmental science and engineering, social studies of science, and history of technology. We will also rely upon the extensive literature written by scientists and engineers in their role as policy observers and advisors. While this literature tends to draws heavily on the North American and European cases, the course will strive to incorporate concerns of the developing world.

2018-2019 RES 507 Course Syllabus

RES 502: Master's Interdisciplinary Case Analysis and Research Design

Instructor:  Stephanie Chang

Day/Time:  Wednesdays 9:ooam-12:oopm

Location: AERL 107

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

This is a course in which case studies are used to teach how sustainability questions are turned into researchable topics and what research methods (qualitative and quantitative) are used to arrive at answers.  The case studies will reflect the various foci of research at IRES.  The case studies will begin with simple questions and grow in sophistication and complexity.  Case studies will be used to explore similarities and differences in how questions in different domains are structured and researched. The students in the class will then be encouraged to develop the research questions and proposed methods for their own thesis by work-shopping their ideas in the class setting and through one-on-one mentoring with class instructors.

The case studies will be selected with the aim of highlighting key features of good research design, how different perspectives (theoretically, conceptually and methodologically) can lead to different kinds of research and how there is value in these different approaches, and foster the search for even better hybrid approaches.

Given the wide range of incoming academic and professional backgrounds among the students, peer mentoring will be used within the class to help bolster knowledge of and familiarity with qualitative and quantitative methods.
The goals of this course are to:

  • foster literacy in research methods and bring about familiarity with good research design;
  • initiate design of the research proposals for every student.

2018-19 RES 502 Course Outline *Master's

 

RES 510: Social Ecological Systems

Instructor: Leila Harris

Day/Time: Mondays 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Location:  AERL 107

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

Dynamics of environmental issues across temporal and spatial scales using disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to integrating sociological, cultural, and ecological perspectives.

2017-18 RES 510 Course Outline

RES 602: Doctoral Interdisciplinary Case Analysis and Research Design

Instructor: Kai Chan

Day/Time: Tuesdays 9:30am - 12:30pm

Location:  AERL 419

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

This is a course in which case studies are used to teach how sustainability questions are turned into researchable topics and what research methods (qualitative and quantitative) are used to arrive at answers.  The case studies will reflect the various foci of research at IRES.  The case studies will begin with simple questions and grow in sophistication and complexity.  Case studies will be used to explore similarities and differences in how questions in different domains are structured and researched. The students in the class will then be encouraged to develop the research questions and proposed methods for their own thesis by work-shopping their ideas in the class setting and through one-on-one mentoring with class instructors.

The case studies will be selected with the aim of highlighting key features of good research design, how different perspectives (theoretically, conceptually and methodologically) can lead to different kinds of research and how there is value in these different approaches, and foster the search for even better hybrid approaches.

Given the wide range of incoming academic and professional backgrounds among the students, peer mentoring will be used within the class to help bolster knowledge of and familiarity with qualitative and quantitative methods.
The goals of this course are to:

  • foster literacy in research methods and bring about familiarity with good research design;
  • initiate design of the research proposals for every student.

2017-18 RES 602 Course Outline *Doctoral (was previously named 502)

RES 500C: Advanced Topics in Conservation Science

Instructor: Claire Kremen

Day/Time: Tuesdays 2:00pm-5:00pm

Location:  AERL 107

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

2019-2020 RES 500C Course Outline

Description

This course is a graduate level seminar with lecture and discussion covering advanced topics in conservation of biological diversity.   We will read a mixture of foundational as well as recent papers covering a range of current topics within Conservation Biology.  One of the most exciting aspects of the course is that students will have the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams on an active conservation project, commissioned by international and local NGOs (for example, World Wildlife Fund and Delta Wildlife Farmland Trust).   Students will prepare deliverables that will help these organizations in their current on-the-ground work, under the guidance of the instructor and the project lead(s) from respective NGOs.  Group projects represent an exciting and unique opportunity to learn while contributing to conservation, and can lead to future projects or co-authored publications, resumé-building and networking.  Students will also gain experience leading discussions and developing interactive class exercises.

RES 505: Qualitative Methods in Interdisciplinary Contexts

Instructor: Leila Harris

Day/Time: Thursdays 9:00am - 12:00pm

Location:  AERL 107

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

Coming soon

RES 500H: Human Rights and the Environment

Instructor: David Boyd

Day/Time: Thursdays 2:00pm-5:00pm

Location:  AERL 107

Enrollment: RES Graduate Students. Non-RES graduate students or advanced undergraduates may register with instructor approval.

 

Description

One of the most dynamic and exciting areas of law and policy today lies at the confluence of human rights and environmental protection. Whether it is the right to a healthy environment, the right to water, or the rights of nature, the legal landscape is struggling to respond to the global environmental crisis precipitated by the new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene.

 

Through a critical examination of international, constitutional, legislative, and jurisprudential developments, the course seeks to provide participants with a strong foundation and new insights into this dynamic field. Innovative comparative research techniques made possible through the Internet and online translation tools will also be highlighted.

A central theme will be evaluating the differences between human rights on paper and their realization in practice. Students will be expected to engage in critical thinking about the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of laws, policies, and institutions intended to protect human rights, while considering the broader ecological, political, social, and economic context.

A major element of the course will be a collaborative research project that provides evidence about human rights violations stemming from sacrifice zones in various regions of the world. Sacrifice zones are communities that suffer from catastrophic levels of hazardous pollution. This research will feed into a report that will be officially presented to the United Nations (either the Human Rights Council or the General Assembly).

 

2020S Summer Session (May 2020 – August 2020)

 

No formal RES courses taught in the summer session.