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Introduction to Ecopsychology - ENVS 195 Z4 - Course Syllabus or Other Course-Related Document

Introduction to Ecopsychology - ENVS 195 Z4 - Course Syllabus or Other Course-Related Document

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Ecopsychology expands the focus of psychology to include the human relationship with the natural world, placing all psychological and spiritual matters within an ecological context. This course introduces students to the full sweep of what is currently meant by ecopsychology, covering the fielda??s psychological, philosophical, practical, and critical dimensions. It includes personal exploration of the human-nature relationship, concluding with 2 days of experiential exercises in a nearby wilderness setting. The course director, Dr. Andy Fisher, is one of the leading theorists in the field.
Ecopsychology expands the focus of psychology to include the human relationship with the natural world, placing all psychological and spiritual matters within an ecological context. This course introduces students to the full sweep of what is currently meant by ecopsychology, covering the fielda??s psychological, philosophical, practical, and critical dimensions. It includes personal exploration of the human-nature relationship, concluding with 2 days of experiential exercises in a nearby wilderness setting. The course director, Dr. Andy Fisher, is one of the leading theorists in the field.

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03/17/2013

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UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
ENVS 195 Z4
CRN 60767
INTRODUCTION TO ECOPSYCHOLOGY
3 Credits
Dr. Andy Fisher
Andy.Fisher@uvm.edu
613-268-2531
June 7\u2013 June 18, 2010
MTWRF 8:00\u2013 12:30
(Will finish on June 16 if students elect to meet for 3 all-day sessions
in order to accommodate the course\u2019s experiential exercises, TBD)
Location: Kalkin Room 300
A. DESCRIPTION AND AIMS OF THE COURSE
This course introduces students to the full sweep of what is currently meant by the term
\u201cecopsychology.\u201d Ecopsychologists assert that the relationship between humans and

nature is definitive of human psychology, viewing all psychological and spiritual matters
within the context of our membership in the natural world. By expanding the focus of
psychology to include the relationship between humans and nature, they aim not only to
develop a truer picture of human psychology but also to draw attention to the
psychological dimensions of the ecological crisis. As a field, ecopsychology is
increasingly making its way into the academy, consulting room, and popular imagination.

Covering the psychological, philosophical, practical, and critical dimensions of
ecopsychology, the course aims to foster an appreciation for the significance and exciting
nature of this new field. Ecopsychology has gained popularity in the form of

\u201cecotherapy,\u201d whether as wilderness therapy or psychotherapy for \u201ceco-anxiety\u201d and
\u201ceco-despair.\u201d Beyond such practice, however, a number of thinkers have developed eco-

centric psychological theories that fundamentally reconceptualise humans, nature, and
psyche. Ecopsychology has, moreover, been envisioned as a psychological politics
dedicated to creating the subjective conditions for an ecological society. The course will
progress through these various topics, allowing students to determine for themselves the
relevance of ecopsychology to their own interests. Specific topics to be covered are listed
in Section E below.

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A final goal of the course is to introduce students to the experiential dimension of
ecopsychology. Ecopsychology is a whole-person response to the ecological crisis rather
than a strictly intellectual or managerial one. Students are therefore expected to engage in
personal explorations and to share some of their experience with the rest of the class.

Specific learning outcomes intended for the course include the following:
\ue000

A solid introductory knowledge of the range of thought and activity associated
with ecopsychology, including a familiarity with the main figures to have
developed the field to date.

\ue000

An ability to situate ecopsychology relative to conventional psychological approaches, including specific philosophical, methodological, and political differences.

\ue000
A familiarity with the experiential practices of ecopsychology, gained in part via
first-hand experience.
\ue000
Improved interpersonal and oral skills, and an improved ability to draw on
subjective or personal material in a scholarly way.
B. ORGANIZATION OF COURSE

The course is an eight-day summer intensive consisting of six days of classroom sessions
followed by two days of experiential ecopsychology practice. The course begins on a
Monday and finishes two Wednesdays later. Students are expected to dedicate the eight
days exclusively to the course in order to benefit from its intensive format.* The course is
limited to 14 students.

A typical classroom session includes: a) presentations on the day\u201fs topic by the course

director; b) class discussion on the topic; c) discussion of the assigned readings; d) an
experiential exercise (generally related to theda y\u201fs topic) and/or a video; and e) an
orientation to the readings for the next day, including questions to consider for class

discussion and for the student\u201fs reflection journal.
The final two days of experiential practice are designed to bring the course material out
of the classroom and into a wilderness setting. Students are expected to engage in group
\u201ccouncil\u201d processes, as well as structured exercises involving the natural, more-than-
* NOTE: This description assumes that all students agree to extend the meeting time for

the last three days of the course beyond the morning time-slot, into the afternoon. If all do
not agree to this, then the course will meet for 10 days, continuing to meet in the
mornings until the Friday of the second week. The course content would be preserved,
but scheduling would be revised accordingly.

3

human world. Such experiential work is a distinguishing feature of ecopsychology. The course concludes with students presenting their ideas-in-progress for their final project (due three weeks following the completion of the course).

C. EVALUATION AND COURSE POLICIES

In addition to the following material on evaluation and course policies for the course,
students should be aware of the requirement to follow the University of Vermont\u201fs Code
of Academic Integrity, covered under Section F below.

Attendance and Class Participation (25%).

The class has a seminar format. Students are expected to attend each day of the course, to
have completed the required readings for the day, and to actively participate in the
discussions and exercises. The course material comes alive only if it is engaged
personally by the students.

Students are evaluated based on their attendance and punctuality, and on the level and
quality of their participation. Students receive a participation grade of zero for any missed
days that are not excused by the course instructor. Quality of participation is assessed
according to the degree of thestudent\u201fs: knowledge of the readings, demonstrated
thoughtfulness, ability to relate the course material to their lives, engagement with the
experiential exercises, and contribution to a healthy exchange of ideas that support the
class dialogue.

Reflection Journal (10 readings x 2% each = 20%).

Students are expected to keep a journal in which they reflect on the course readings.
Reflections are based on questions provided by the course director specific to each of the
readings. Journal entries for each reading should be between \u00be and 2 pages long, single
spaced, using full sentences.

Journal entries are graded based on: evidence that the readings have been completed and understood (or wrestled with); thoughtfulness of the reflection (demonstration of critical thinking, open-mindedness, insight); and how well the student has related the reading to their own life experience and development. Late journal entries are not accepted, and the student receives a zero grade for that reading.

There is a bonus reading for Class 2, for an additional 2 marks.

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