SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions

Spring 2003 (FOR 496-10 & 797-2)

Class meets Tuesdays, 4:00 – 5:00, 213 Marshall Hall unless there is a speaker

Instructors:                     Updated 05/05/03
Heather Engelman Diane Kuehn
218 Marshall 205 Marshall
315-470-4877 315-470-6561  

Course Overview:  Women in Science and Environmental Professions is a 1-credit college-wide seminar geared towards a diversity of students from various departments at ESF. The main goal of the course is to provide an open forum for female and male faculty and students to interact and discuss gender issues pertaining to academia and other professional arenas. The course consists of one hour of lecture or discussion per week, with opportunities to interact with female professionals outside of class. Updates to this syllabus can be found at: .

Course Objectives:

After completing this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Articulate the issues and obstacles facing female professionals.
  2. Discuss career strategies for professional development.
  3. Formulate insightful questions that elicit discussion.
  4. Demonstrate professional presentation skills.
  5. Critically evaluate pertinent literature.

Course Layout:

The schedule consists of two types of meetings:   general interest topic discussions and the ESF public lecture series of the same name ( There will be additional opportunities to interact with the visiting scholars in a mentoring atmosphere.

General interest discussions will focus on topics pertaining to women in science and environmental professions. The class as a whole will discuss several readings on a given topic.   These sessions will be facilitated by members of the class.

Expectations of Students: First and foremost, this is a seminar.  Traditionally, this means that students have primary responsibility for for organizing, choosing readings to supplement or replace those listed below, and leading sessions on selected topics.  In addition, we have recruited some of the most well-respected female professionals in different fields to visit ESF. Students will share responsibility for making arrangements for the speakers. We expect that students will seize the opportunity to interact extensively with the speakers during their visits, and to help make their visits to ESF memorable and productive.

Specifically, students are responsible for the following:

1.  Assist in speaker arrangements (1).   Students will develop a schedule for one speaker during her visit.  "Instructions for Student Hosts" offers tips and recommended timelines.   Specifically, students are responsible for arranging meetings with interested students and faculty and making arrangements for a post-lecture reception and one mentoring dinner with the speaker and class participants.  To assist you, the instructors will arrange these aspects of the speaker's visits:  arranging overnight accomodations, parking, publicity, reimbursements to the speaker for travel expenes, and students for reception and any other out-of-pocket expenses associated with these visits.  

2.  Press release on speaker presention (1). Following the speaker's visit, students will write a brief press-release or summary of her presentation.  Press releases are to be submitted electronically to the instructors one week after the speaker's presention; the instructors will then forward to the Knothole and sponsors on your behalf. 

3.  General interest topics (2).  Additionally, each student will lead or co-lead a discussion on two general interest topics and select 2-4 articles for their classmates to read.  The articles listed below have been considered very informative by previous classes; however, if you find articles that better answer your own questions about the topic or that could better elicit discussion, please substitute them. Student facilitators are responsible for developing questions that will be used to foster discussion in class.  Questions should be typed for distribution in class at the beginning of each discussion (or distributed electronically the day before).  You may find Bloom's taxonomy ( useful in developing questions that elicit discussion rather than clarification.

4.  Class participation (weekly):  Every student is expected to participate in class discussions on a weekly basis, by:

i.  Reading the assigned articles and participating in the class discussion.

ii.  Completing a discussion assessment form at the end of each session.  Anonymous copies will be given to the discussion facilitator to improve facilitation skills.   The instructors will assess and grade the original assessments and return them for the purpose of improving constructive commentary. Addendum (1/28/03):  Students have the option of returning forms to the instructor later in the week.

Grades will be assigned based on the 2 class presentations (45% total), class participation 20% (half of this is assessment of classmates presentations), hosting of a speaker (20%), and the press release (15%).

Expectations of instructors:

The primary instructor for each session (indicated in parentheses below) will assist the facilitator(s) in the selection of articles appropriate to discussion topics,  organization of topic discussion questions, and will facilitate interations between the speaker and the sponsors.  This instructor will evaluate assessments and written assignments and will provide constructive commentary in a timely manner.  Both instructors view this syllabus and its development as a work in progress, and we expect to modify it for clarity and to better meet the needs of the students and speakers. 

Schedule for Spring 2003

Jan 14: Introductions and Expectations (DK and HE)

Jan 21:  Discussion: Career patterns of women (HE).

Readings (students will read selected articles and be prepared to discuss with the class.)

Jan 28: Prepare for Powers (HE) and Musacchio (DK)

Feb 4: Seminar: Susan Powers, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, Ethanol in your Gasoline:  Energy and Environmental Implications.  140 Baker. 

Feb 10 Optional:  Life as a Tempered Radical-What I have learned about working with people not particles. Dr. Patricia Rankin, University of Colorado at Bouler, will speak about the advancement of women in science, math, engineering, and technology fields.  This Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) seminar will be at 3:30 pm in Hall of Languages room 500.  A reception will follow.

Feb 11: Discussion: Mentoring (HE)

Feb 18: Discussion:  Women's Voices and/or learning styles (DK) AND Musacchio discussion follow-up

Feb 25: Seminar: Dr. Laura Musacchio, Assistant Professor, School of Planning and Landscape Architecture, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, The Dynamics of Cities as Ecosystems and Places:  The Challenge of Integrating Ecological Knowledge into Urban River Corridor Design, Planning, and Policy.  140 Baker.

Mar 4: Discussion: Campus Climate (DK)

Mar 11: Spring Break

Mar 18: Mid-course evaluation (DK and HE)

Mar 25: Discussion: Productivity differences in women and men (HE)

Apr 1: International perspectives:  an invited panel

April 8: Seminar: Ms. Virginia Silver, Laboratory Director, Research and Development, Corporate Research Center, International Paper, Tuxedo, NY,Career Paths in Science:  Who leads?  Who manages? MLCR.  Potluck supper with the Women's Caucus and Graduate Student Association tentatively scheduled to follow the reception.

Apr 15:  Discussion:  Balancing work (getting tenure) and family (DK)

Apr 22: Seminar: Dr. Christiane Hudon, Research Scientist and Research Program Coordinator, Centre Saint-Laurent, Environment Canada, Montréal, QC, Managing St. Lawrence River discharge in times of climatic uncertainty:  how water quantity impacts wildlife, recreation, and the economy, 140 Baker.

Apr 29: Discussion: Campus life part 2 & Course Wrap-Up (DK and HE)