A pioneer in academic environmental programs in the early 1970s, Colby continues its leadership in the field, offering rigorous and distinctive programs in environmental studies and environmental science. Colby also has embraced sustainability and resource conservation as core values and has garnered statewide and national recognition for those efforts. As the College approaches its bicentennial, new initiatives promise to enhance and cement Colby’s stature as a worldwide leader in environmental studies and sustainability among liberal arts colleges.
Colby’s Environmental Studies Program employs a project-based approach to learning that immerses students in research and analysis. This use of research, the introductory course Environment and Society, and the capstone Problems in Environmental Science course all are national models. Curricular innovations include a focus on environmental justice and the addition of courses titled The Environment and Human Health and Environmental Activism.
Environmental studies majors collaborate on research with faculty members, working in locations ranging from the on-campus arboretum to South America and Africa. Some students have used their skills to develop Geographic Information System (GIS) maps and models to support student and faculty research.
To support a new academic concentration in marine conservation, Colby recently formed a partnership with Bigelow Laboratory in Boothbay Harbor. The alliance gives Colby faculty members and students access to marine research facilities, ocean environments, and exciting new research experiences. The new track will deepen Colby’s already strong programs in environmental studies and will make Colby a leader among liberal arts colleges in marine conservation and science. Bigelow’s Executive Director Graham Shimmield said, “We essentially are going to deliver education through the lens of frontline research activity.”
The partnership calls for Bigelow faculty members to teach two courses each January for the next three years and for greater opportunities for Colby students to conduct independent research mentored by Bigelow scientists. Colby professors have collaborated with Bigelow research scientists in the past, but the new partnership will result in closer collaboration and the development of a semester-away academic program at Bigelow for Colby students.
Campus green initiatives »