Feb 25, 2020  
2019 - 2020 Cowley College Academic Catalog 
2019 - 2020 Cowley College Academic Catalog



3 Credit Hours

Student Level:  

This course is open to students on the college level in either the freshman or sophomore year.

Catalog Description of the Course:  


Topics include the relationship of the human species to the environment. Emphasis is placed on the understanding of the basic and ecological principles and the ecological crises confronting the human species. Survey studies of bodily, aquatic, and terrestrial ecosystems are included. Aspects of health ecology also are covered in the course.

Course Classifications: Lecture



Controlling Purpose:  

This course is designed to treat environmental science as an interdisciplinary study, combining ideas and information from natural sciences (such as biology, chemistry, and geology) and social sciences (such as economics, politics, and ethics) to present a general idea of how nature works and how things are interconnected.  This study of connections in nature examines how the environment is being used and abused, and what individuals can do to protect and improve it for themselves, for future generations, and for other living things.

Learner Outcomes:  

Upon completion of this course students will have an understanding of the integrated study of environmental problems, connections, and solutions: biodiversity, pollution prevention and waste reduction, population, exponential growth and runaway feedback, science systems and technology, sustainability, energy and energy economics, environmental politics and laws, and individual action.

Unit Outcomes for Criterion Based Evaluation:

The following defines the minimum core content not including the final examination period. Instructors may add other material as time allows. Evaluation Key:

UNIT 1: Humans and Nature

Outcomes:  The student will gain an overview of environmental problems and their causes and a brief history of resource use and conservation.

  • Describe a sustainable system and how it survives and functions over some specified time.  
  • Describe a sustainable society and how it manages its economy and population size.
  • Explain Growth and the Wealth Gap including linear and exponential growth, human population growth and economic growth.
  • Distinguish between nonrenewable resources and renewable resources, and demonstrate the connections between renewable resources and the Tragedy of the commons.
  • Describe pollution and its sources, the effects of pollution, methods of dealing with pollution and prevention and cleanup.
  • List environmental resource problems and their root causes.
  • Give a brief history of resource use and conservation and cultural change.
  • Distinguish between hunting and gathering societies, agricultural societies, and industrial societies.
  • Explain Resource conservation and environmental protection in the United States.

UNIT 2: Scientific Principles and Concepts

Outcomes:  The student will gain an overview of science, models and systems, matter and energy resources, ecosystems and how they work, climate, weather and life, changes in populations, communities, and ecosystems and geologic processes.

  • Describe what scientists do and outline the scientific methods.
  • Distinguish between mental models, conceptual models, graphic models, physical models, and mathematical models.
  • Explain the properties of atoms and ions, compounds, and matter.
  • Describe the nature of science, technology and environmental science, system models, and basic and complex system structures and their behaviors.
  • Explain matter and energy resources, types and concepts.
  • Describe Ecosystems and how they work. 
  • Explain life and earth=s life-support systems including metabolism, reproduction, mutation and evolution.
  • Be able to describe connections between climate, weather and life.
  • Describe biomes, including deserts and semi deserts, grasslands, and forests. Distinguish between polar, subpolar, temperate, and tropical climates.
  • Describe life in aquatic environments including the coastal zone, coral reefs, open sea, freshwater lakes, freshwater streams, and freshwater inland wetlands.
  • Explain changes in populations, communities and ecosystems.
  • Explain the responses of living systems to environmental stress.
  • Describe geologic processes.
  • Distinguish between internal and external earth processes.
  • Explain mineral resources and the rock cycle, and crustal resources.
  • Distinguish between and list natural hazards

 UNIT 3: The Human Population

Outcomes: The student will gain an overview of factors affecting human population size and urban living.

  • Explain the factors affecting human population size, including birth and death rate, fertility, age structure and solutions.
  • Describe urbanization, urban growth and population distribution.
  • Describe the urban resource and environmental problems associated with it.
  • Explain urban land use, planning, control, and solutions to making urban areas more livable and sustainable.

UNIT 4: Ultimate Global Problems

Outcomes: The student will gain an overview of deforestation and loss of biodiversity, global warming and ozone loss.

  • Describe the types and importance of forests.
  • Explain tropical deforestation and the causes and consequences of biodiversity losses.
  • Explain global warming and its effects, and list solutions dealing with the threat of global warming.
  • Explain ozone depletion and solutions for protecting the ozone layer.

 UNIT 5: Energy Resources

Outcomes: The student will gain an overview of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and nonrenewable energy resources.

  • List and describe energy resources and understand the importance of improving energy efficiency.
  • Compare and contrast solar energy, moving water, heat stored in water, wind and biomass for producing heat and electricity.
  • Distinguish between oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy as nonrenewable energy resources.

 UNIT 6: Risks, Health, Resources and Pollution

Outcomes:  The student will gain an overview of risk toxicology and human health; air and air pollution; water resources; water pollution; minerals and soil; solid and hazardous waste.

  • Explain the atmosphere, outdoor air pollution, indoor air pollution, the effects of air pollution on living organisms, and materials and solutions for preventing and controlling air pollution.
  • Explain water=s importance and unique properties, including the supply, renewal and use of water resources, water resource problems and solutions.
  • List and describe types and sources of water pollution.

UNIT 7: Sustaining Biodiversity and Biological Integrity

Outcomes:  The student will gain an overview of food resources, protecting food resources, sustaining ecosystems and wild species.

  • Describe food production, world food problems, methods of increasing world food production, agricultural policy, food aid, and land reform.
  • Distinguish between pesticide types and uses and the regulation of pesticide in the United States.  Describe other ways to control pests.
  • Explain managing and sustaining forests, rangelands, national parks, biodiversity sanctuaries and public lands in the United States.
  • Describe wildlife management, protection of wild species from extinction and fishery management.

 UNIT 8: Environment and Society

 Outcomes:  The student will gain an overview of economics and environment, politics and environment and environmental worldviews, ethics, and sustainability.

  • Explain economic goods, resources and systems, growth and external costs.
  • Describe politics and environmental policy and anti-environmental groups.
  • Describe human centered environmental worldviews in industrial societies.
  • Describe life-centered and earth-centered environmental worldviews.

Projects Required:



Contact Bookstore for current textbook.

Materials/Equipment Required:

Compound microscopes

Dissecting microscopes

Audio-visual materials (slides, tapes, charts, films, power point)

Demonstration collections of local flora and fauna

Overhead projector

Slide/filmstrip projector

Attendance Policy:  

Students should adhere to the attendance policy outlined by the instructor in the course syllabus

Grading Policy:

The grading policy will be outlined by the instructor in the course syllabus.

Maximum class size: 

Based on classroom occupancy (24)

Course Time Frame:

The U.S. Department of Education, Higher Learning Commission and the Kansas Board of Regents define credit hour and have specific regulations that the college must follow when developing, teaching and assessing the educational aspects of the college. A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit or an equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time,  The number of semester hours of credit allowed for each distance education or blended hybrid courses shall be assigned by the college based on the amount of time needed to achieve the same course outcomes in a purely face-to-face format.

Refer to the following policies:

402.00 Academic Code of Conduct

263.00 Student Appeal of Course Grades

403.00 Student Code of Conduct

Disability Services Program:   

Cowley College, in recognition of state and federal laws, will accommodate a student with a documented

disability.  If a student has a disability which may impact work in this class which requires accommodations, contact the Disability Services Coordinator.