Environmental Policy Graduate Seminar

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EVS 6937

CRN 81552

Online Course


Graduate Seminar in Environmental Policy  


Department of Marine & Ecological Sciences

College of Arts & Sciences

Fort Myers, FL


Terry Wimberley, Ph.D., Professor

twimber@fgcu.edu                  239-405-4164              Office: 209 Seidler Hall

Office hours:  Thursday 9-12 and by appointment.



Course objectives.

Students participating in this policy seminar will:

  1. Gain an understanding of the concepts and structure of policy and regulatory systems for environmental protection; and how those concepts have been applied in the U.S., including evolution of regulatory systems to address emerging environmental problems and the institutional factors that shape these decisions.

  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the scholarly literature and with the types of government agency documents that embody U.S. environmental policy.

  3. Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze selected particular policy issues using case study analysis.

This is an advanced course. The readings, discussions, and assignments are structured with the expectation that the student has some understanding of environmental policies and some proficiency in policy analysis.

  Required  Texts: (NOTE: All texts are available in electronic format for use on an Ipad, Kindle, Nook or any laptop or desk top computer that can use Kindle, Nook or other ebook reader that supports these texts. What this means is that there is no reason for any student to report to me they are unable to fully participate in this course during the very first class session due to lack of a textbook).

Smith, Zachary (2018) The Environmental Policy Paradox. New York, NY: Routledge.

Layzer, Judith A. (2011) The Environmental Case: Translating Values into Policy (3rd Edition). Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Wimberley, Edward T. (2018) Homegrown Ecopragmatics. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Publishing. Serban, Madlen (2015) Supporting Public Policy Making through Pollicy Analysis and Policy Learning. Brussels: European Training Foundation.


 Structure of the Class.

Each week you will be given case studies dealing with contemporary environmental policy issues and will be given reading assignments from The Environmental Policy Paradox (Smith, 2018) that will provide background information and context for the case studies you will investigate. Case studies will be employed from Judith Layzer's The Environmental Case (2011) and from Edward Wimberley's Homegrown Ecopragmatics (2018). Students will learn about policy development, conceptual approaches to environmental regulation, and about the history and structure of U.S. environmental policies and regulations. Student assessments of the case studies they evaluate will be written using the Framework for Case Analysis developed by the School of Mangement at the University of Massachusetts - Boston.

Grading basis.

Student Activity Grade Points/%
Short Writing Assignments (3 assignments) 30% - 30 points
Comp Exam 40% - 40 points
Policy Research Paper 30% - 30 points
Total Points/Percentage 100% or 100points

Class Participation

The class has an orientation toward analysis and discussion, so your active preparation and participation are a key part of your grade evaluation. I encourage questions and discussion. It is crucial that you complete the readings before they are discussed in class, and that you prepare intelligently for class before discussing and analyzing the material and related concepts. This includes the readings assigned for each class session. Students are expected to actively engage in thoughtful discussion that is on topic and makes critical use of the scholarly readings. Students must complete all readings before coming to class and will be penalized for coming to class unprepared.

 Attendance & Classroom Setting

Students are expected to participate in all class sessions. If some unavoidable circumstance results in your missing a session, please confer with the instructor before class if at all possible, or immediately after class. Students who expect to miss class for reasons related to observance of religious holidays should inform the instructor no later than the second week of class.

  Short Written Assignments

Students will complete brief papers on assigned topics, to be selected. Written assignments are to be submitted in Word or Rich Text Format, double-spaced, 10 point type, with ample margins (no less than 1 inch), and no more than 10 pages in length.  Students should pay attention to organization and clarity of writing and all work must strictly adhere to APA format.

 Research Paper

The research paper will address a topic derived from the case studies found in The Environmental Case by Judith Layzer (2012). Class will begin with a lottery and the student will develop their research paper around the case study chapter they draw from this text . Students will thoroughly research the literature around which the case has been developed and will update information on the case whenever that information is available. They will also compare the case they are working on to similar cases that have dealt with similar issues and critique similarities and dissimilarities.  The research case analysis must be well-supported with full citations and references.  The paper should provide a careful critical analysis of the policy and/or scholarly issue you are working on. You should cite (and make analytical use of) supporting documents from the scholarly literature and/or appropriate texts, as well as primary sources for government policy, in addition to the main document you are critiquing. The paper must be no more than 30 pages in length, double-spaced, with ample margins for instructor’s comments.

 Research Paper Presentation

Students will be expected to present their research papers to the class in a 10 minute presentation and must be prepared to address issues and concerns raised by classmates as well as defend and critique the major assumptions of their paper. All students in the class are expected to study the case studies students will be presenting on prior to coming to the class and in preparation for critiquing their fellow students.

 Attribution of Ideas and Academic Honesty.

Take care to properly attribute text and ideas when citing published literature or other work, including Internet sources. Directly-quoted text and adapted ideas from previous work must be fully cited and documented. Failure to do this is not only careless scholarship but actually violates academic standards. Students are expected to understand the definitions of all forms of plagiarism. Students who violate the prohibition against plagiarism will fail the course with a “permanent F.” Please refer to in-class discussions, and feel free to discuss with me further, to be sure you understand proper use and attribution of ideas in academic writing.