Rawlins Endowed Professor of Environmental Literacy

An endowment has been established to create a position for a faculty member whose responsibility will be to prepare all students of all majors, across the campus, for dealing with a world environment which is being continually diminished by loss of species, disappearance of habitats, and degradation of air, water, and soil.

Each of us must be made to realize that we are part of the environment and part of the problem, regardless of what career we choose or life style we maintain. Through an education that examines ecological, environmental, conservation, and preservation issues from all aspects - biology, chemistry, sociology, economics, history, ethics, and law, to name a few, all students will be better prepared to work as a whole towards a solution.

A faculty member will be provided a three-quarters time position as an Endowed Professor of Environmental Literacy who will be assigned to the College of Natural Sciences. The professor will teach one conservation or similar course the other one-quarter. (The funding mechanism will be flexible so that the College of Natural Sciences may use part of the endowment to support students via scholarships, internships, or special projects at times when the budget allows -i.e. the College of Natural Sciences may pay for more of the position one year, allowing the expenditure of a portion of the endowment on student support).

Goal: the Professor of Environmental Literacy will have the primary responsibility of assuring that all students who enter California State University, Chico are exposed to a variety of learning experiences which inform them of the state of the environment and why it is important that everyone participate in some way to reverse the decline. The Professor may address this goal in a variety of ways, such as:

  1. Working with faculty in and out of the College of Natural Sciences to create courses with a conservation ethic or to change courses to include such.
  2. He/she would work with the campus-wide academic senate to instill an academic campus climate of environmentalism.
  3. He/she would design, invent, organize, and coordinate curricula in this area across campus with the goal of assuring that every student be environmentally literate. Students should be able to make informed decisions based upon a knowledge and understanding of environmental issues.
  4. He/she would work closely with existing environmental groups on campus such as the Associated Students Environmental Committee and the Bid well Institute for Applied Environmental Research.
  5. He/she would work with environmental groups off campus such asK-12 schools, the Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, and any other similar group that supports environmental efforts and find ways for University students to participate in these efforts.
  6. The Professor would seek internal and external funding to support environmental literacy, such as scholarships, funding for student research, etc.
  7. The Professor would arrange for speakers, seminars, workshops, and other extra-curricular events relating to the environment.
  8. The Professor would seek out environmentally related internship experiences for students.
  9. Work with the English and/or Math Departments to develop environmental curricular units that every student must take.
  10. Expanded thought: Train a cadre of student interns to peer-engage students in learning about the environment through: housing programs (on- and off-campus), food services, or other programs reaching large portions of the student population.
  11. Pursue a campus leadership program grant to enhance student abilities in solving environmental problems.
  12. Use the current book-in-common program to expose incoming students to environmental issues and problems.
  13. Above all else, stress programs encouraging students to seek solutions to problems rather than simply engaging in polarized debate.
  14. Direct more attention to the disease (end of life on earth) and less on symptoms throughout the entire program.
  15. Demonstrate the current failures of national and international organizations to cooperate, and the resulting treatment of symptoms instead of the disease.
  16. Emphasize the urgency and the lack of time factor and the "Battle for Survival" between the people and the large corporate entities.

An advisory committee, chosen by the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences, will oversee the position and determine processes and priorities.