Across disciplines, Barnard's coursework incorporates the natural world and climate change into its teaching and research. These courses allow students to explore and grapple with our human interactions with the natural world from a variety of perspectives, ranging from the hard sciences to the fine arts. Read our full list of Spring 2020 courses related to environment and sustainability. Here are a few highlights:
- Scarcity: Economy and Nature, taught by Carl Wennerlind in the History department. Explores the history of how social and economic theorists have conceptualized the interaction between the economy and nature, focusing on the concept of scarcity as a way of understanding the relationship between economic growth and environmental sustainability. (offered Spring 2020)
- Bird, Plant, and Land Use Dynamics taught by Terryanne's Maenza-Gmelch in the Environmental Science department. This class looks at the response of wildlife (birds and plants) to climate change through field trips and data collection. (offered Spring 2020)
- Compositions: Site Specific and Environmental Methods taught by Jody Sperling in the Dance department. This class seeks to explore the relationship between our dancing bodies and the world we inhabit, through collaborative projects that engage with physical sites and ecological concepts.
- Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, taught by Belinda Archibong in the Economics department, applies economic theory to to environmental issues. (offered Spring 2020)
- Conservation and Preservation: The Materiality of Art and Architecture, taught by Peter Bower in the Environmental Science department. Students study our waste systems through hands-on projects and analysis. Students study earth materials, their transformation into art objects and architectural structures, and the philosophy and analytical techniques required to prepare conservation and preservation strategies. (offered Spring 2020)
In 2017, the Environmental Science department created a new major, Environment and Sustainability, to engage with the interdisciplinary work of maintaining a sustainable environment. Two non-science departments offer an environmental concentration: an Urban Studies specialization in Environment & Sustainability and a minor in Environmental History.
This spring, the Center for Engaged Pedagogy will host a workshop series in the spring on the development of new coursework and support for existing coursework centered on the environment, sustainability, and/or climate change.
Barnard's faculty research crosses similar disciplinary boundaries, engaging with scientific and cultural concepts of nature and the environment within a wide range of fields. Here are some highlights:
- Professor of Environmental Science, Martin Stute, focuses his research on water resources, carbon sequestration, and the social and economic impacts of climate change. He is currently involved in a project determining the greenhouse gas footprint of NYC.
- Professor of Professional Practice in Architecture, Kadambari Baxi, uses architectural visualizations to examine toxic emission flows and climate justice. She is displaying these multimedia projects in a variety of exhibitions.
- Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures, Orlando Bentancor, teaches on the emergence of capitalism in sixteenth century Latin America, specifically looking at the relationship between the commodification of nature and the transformation of indigenous peoples into workers. His book, The Matter of Empire, examines conceptions of metal resources in early colonial mining.
- Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Jonathan Snow, researches the cellular stress responses of honeybees, a species crucial to our agricultural systems.
- Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Theatre, Sandra Goldmark, teaches design, and focuses her research on circular economy solutions to overconsumption and waste. She is the founder of the social enterprise, Fixup, which employs local technicians to repair household items, re-envisioning repair as a part of a sustainable circular economy. She also serves as Barnard's first Director of Sustainability and Climate Action.
Through the Provosts Office, faculty have access to external funding opportunities to support and develop their research. Learn more about the research being done at Barnard, as well as opportunities for student research.
Alumnae, Careers, and Internship Opportunities
Barnard's engagement with climate action does not end at the borders of our campus. Barnard alumnae move on to internships and careers in these fields. Our career development office, Beyond Barnard, helps direct students towards opportunities, build their resumes, and prepare for interviews. Here are a couple of alumnae who have found success in this field:
- Annie Leonard, Barnard '86, is the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, and creator of the book/animated film, The Story of Stuff.
- Rhea Suh, Barnard '92, is the former president of the National Resources Defense Council.
- Sue Chiang, Barnard '93, works as Pollution Prevention Director at the Center for Environmental Health, where she leads work on market incentives for companies to manufacture products safe for public health.