ENVIRON 201: Integrating Environmental Sciences and Policy

Reader requirements: professional experience in environmental science and/or policy with regular experience reading or writing policy memos.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Emily Klein and Prof. Rebecca Vidra

Interaction between the natural and the social systems as they relate to the environment.  Focus on ecological and earth system cycles, processes, and fundamental relationships.  The environmental impact of human-induced change at the local, regional, and global levels.  The role of technology and the policy process in determining how environmental problems evolve and are addressed.  Use of ethical analysis to evaluate environmental tradeoffs. Use of case studies to integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives on environmental problems and to address issues of environmental justice.

Student Writing Assignment

What are students writing? Policy memo.
For whom? Experts working in environmental science, environmental policy, or environmental health; or state, local or federal legislators and others working on environmental policy.
Where would such writing typically be found? In the workplace; for a decision-maker in an ENV not-for-profit, advocacy group, legislative body, etc.
Why would someone usually read it? In order to make an informed decision on an environmental policy issue.

See examples of bios of possible readers for this course


Student – Reader Interactions

Students work with readers on assignments #1 and #3 out of 4.
*Students will post brief summary of action points/revision plan after feedback meetings*

Intro meeting:

  • before 9/22
  • discuss overall assignment for policy memo #1
  • schedule next meeting

Feedback on Assignment #1:

  • Between Sept 30 – Oct 7: discuss draft of policy memo #1–cold read
  • Oct 2: draft of policy memo #1
    • For students not in Reader Project: final due Oct 6
    • For Reader Project : due Oct 9
  • schedule next meeting, optional

Public Comment Writing Assignment on Fracking: (optional interaction with reader)

  • Students email draft to reader when due to prof: Wed, Nov 20
    • Set up meeting ASAP for verbal feedback
  • Final Comment Due: Wednesday Nov. 27 by 11:55 pm

Link to full Syllabus:

[syllabus title]

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More

Instructor’s response questions:




Quality Reader Feedback Example

ENV 201_model FB_early draft

ENV 201_model FB

ENV 201_model FB-2