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Academic Goal

Showing students the necessity of approaching coastal and ocean (headwaters to oceans – H20) issues from an ecosystem, holistic perspective and to steward coastal and ocean species through an adaptive management strategy. The basis for these types of discussions is the creation of the Graduate Research to Researcher (GR2R) initiative in which interested graduate students meet with me each week to discuss their research and also learn more about an ecosystem approach to coastal and ocean stewardship from and international and nation-specific perspective. In turn, this goal supports the concept underlying the IDP-MARB and the MARM Programs: an integrative, interdisciplinary approach.

Graduate Courses Developed (distance Learning)

These courses were developed in response to the new Marine Sciences’ (MARS) Graduate “Marine Resources Management” Thesis Option and Marine Biology’s (MARB) Graduate “Interdisciplinary Program.”  (These courses are formatted into 12-16 Distance Learning Modules and offered via WebCT. The strategy is to focus support for academic, career, and personal flexibility of graduate students in these two programs as well as provide alternative learning strategies post Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike.)

• Wildlife Law and Ethics (MARS 645) – Credit 3. This course is designed to provide a broad overview of major wildlife laws including international regimes, federal law, select state laws, and cases dealing with conservation, preservation, and management of wildlife species. Ethical dimensions of wildlife law and management will also be explored. The goals of the course are two-fold: first, the student will be given a broad overview of wildlife law; secondly, the student will develop and/or improve analytical skills by looking at the position of all stakeholders in wildlife law issues including ethical conundrums.
• Environmental Law (MARS 610/MARA 470) – Credit 3. This course is designed to give an overview of the substantive areas of environmental law. Both federal and international laws will be addressed including federal statutes, case law, administrative law, and international treaties and conventions. The course is also designed to increase analytical and professional skills.
• International and Federal Environmental Legal Regimes (MARS 676/OCNG 676) – Credit 3. This distance learning course is designed to give students a working understanding of the international and federal legal regimes and associated stakeholders that have an impact on marine resources and environmental law. In particular, the student should learn the various anthropogenic stressors on the marine environment as well as the law and management strategies used to address these impacts. Further, the student will also understand how science-based decisions are made on the international and federal level. The course should also help the student to speak and write about international and federal law and management and its interaction with science.
• Invasive Species: Vectors, Impacts, Theories, and Management (MARS 648) – Credit 3. Interest in the science and management of biological invasions is rapidly expanding. This course explores the current knowledge base that focuses on vectors, impacts, theories and management. The course will include discussion of the positive and negative biological, ecological, economical, and societal impacts. It will look at: a) the history and success rates of invasive species including a review of literature including exploration documents; b) the characteristics of invasive species and the communities invaded; c) why invasive species are tied with habitat-destruction as threats to natural areas; d) what management theories have been applied or are being considered; e) what regulatory strategies have been applied and their effectiveness; and f) whether there are conflicting interests among stakeholders. Particular emphasis will be on marine invasive species.
• Environmental Management Strategies for Scientists (MARS 675/OCNG 675) – Credit 2. The course is designed to provide a scientist with EMS strategies’ skills.  This includes knowing what environmental laws ma be triggered by activities; the fundamental structure of an EMS; EMS alternatives; concepts in an audit; and how an effective EMS can reduce costs and increase profits. Environmental Management Strategies have become a critical component of business and organizational strategies.  This course explores the development and implementation of this management system.
• International Environmental Business Transactions and Ethics (MARS 620) – Credit 3. This course is designed to provide an overview of those legal regimes involved in international environmental business transactions; and to identify those ethical issues which are triggered when business is conducted internationally.
• Environmental Administrative Law (MARS 640) – Credit 3.  Environmental law is governed, in large part, by administrative law.  This course covers the processes involved in administrative environmental law.  The primary focus will be on the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Corps of Engineers, and NOAA.  A review of international administrative bodies will also be included.

Graduate Courses Developed (non-distance learning)

• Environmental Alternative Dispute Resolution (MARS 660) – Credit 3. This course provides an overview of alternative dispute resolution/conflict resolution as used in addressing environmental issues. It includes discussion of the fundamentals of the court system, description of the different alternatives for conflict resolution, a strong focus on mediation techniques, and an optional opportunity for mediation certification to Texas Guidelines.
• Environmental Law (MARS 610) (taught traditionally and through DL) – Credit 3.  This course is designed to give an overview of the substantive areas of environmental law (EL). The course covers all major environmental laws and seminal case law.  The coverage includes both international and federal law. The course is also designed to increase analytical and professional skills.
• Biotic Indicators of Marine Ecosystem Health (MARS 689) (Field Course, Nova Scotia, Canada) – Credit 3. In this special topics course, we will investigate the life history strategies of select groups of marine organisms and discuss the application of environmental monitoring of marine ecosystems. We will place particular emphasis on marine birds and examine a cold water system (North Atlantic). We will also cover issues related to conservation biology, population dynamics, foraging ecology, and environmental toxicology of marine organisms. Included in the course will be the application of international and regional law to marine biota including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Canada’s Endangered Species policy, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  For the latter regime, particular emphasis will be placed on practical alternatives used by conservation and preservation groups to protect these species including petitions to NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

Example of Interactive Distance Education: Green Chemistry Module

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