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Articles by Will Focht
Total Records ( 2 ) for Will Focht
  Will Focht and Charles I. Abramson
  Problem Statement: Interdisciplinary environmental education and research at American colleges and universities have been criticized for ambiguous focus, insufficient integration and lack of rigor. Part of the reason for a clearly articulated conceptualization of the field is the failure to reach a consensus among those in the environmental profession and academic community on an overarching paradigm of environmental education and research. Approach: This essay argued for situating interdisciplinary environmental education and research on the principles of sustainability. Results: We believe that sustainable solutions to the complex problems facing us at the interface of society and nature cannot be found using unidisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. Instead, what is needed is an interdisciplinary synthesis across a wide range of natural sciences, social sciences, applied sciences and the humanities. The appropriate mix of these depends on the particular problem being addressed. Conclusion: By focusing on human quality of life, the health of systems that supply the resources needed for quality of life improvements and the regulation of capital flows between and among these systems, we can devised an educational and research agenda that more efficiently meets the needs of today’s generations and those that follow.
  Will Focht and Talya Henderson
  Problem statement: Environmental science programs vary widely in their curricula and pedagogical approaches. In part, this is due to the lack of a unified agreement on field identity. However, program differences are also the product of variable program histories. Approach: This essay described the founding and subsequent history of the Environmental Science Graduate Program at Oklahoma State University, its oldest and largest interdisciplinary program. An evaluation of this history was conducted to discern what lessons could be learned that may prove valuable to the establishment and operation of interdisciplinary programs elsewhere. Results: The 31-year history of OSU’s environmental science graduate program can be described as occurring in six evolutionary stages-from the circumstances that created the opportunity for its establishment as a program located in the graduate college, through slow growth, rapid expansion and maturation, uncertainty and institutional change, retrenchment and revitalization, and finally, relocation within the college of arts and sciences. Each new stage was triggered primarily by decisions of university administration and to a lesser extent by a change in program leadership. Conclusion: The lessons learned from our analysis of this history suggests that the success of interdisciplinary programs hinges on energetic, dedicated and risk-taking program directors; political and financial support from higher administration; support of affiliated faculty; cooperation with, or at least tolerance from, traditional departments; and creation of a sense of community and shared purpose among faculty, students, alumni, employers and donors.
 
 
 
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