The Integrative Land Management emphasis prepares students for careers in public lands management, private land conservation, onservation advocacy Integrative Land Management focuses on the content and skills necessary for understanding and facilitating the integration of land, water, energy, wildlife, and human societies; the integration of public and private land decisions; and the integration of the wild land-urban interface to manage diverse stakeholder values and interests toward sustainable and resilient environmental relationships. This track takes advantage of Gunnison County having 80 percent of its acreage as public lands and numerous private land possibilities in the form of conservation easements and agreements; tremendous natural resource wealth and thus tensions among diverse stakeholders concerning the best use of those resources; and numerous government agencies, environmental nonprofits, extractive industries, recreationalists, and ranchers all negotiating actively over the values of these lands. There is no better laboratory for graduate level study and application of these practices than the lands surrounding Western. Integrative Land Management looks specifically at management issues through the lens of environmental resilience, understanding how landowners and public lands agencies can build upon the land’s adaptive capacity in the face of climate, ecosystem, and socio-economic change. This approach enhances and challenges traditional notions of the management of dwindling finite natural resources, facilitating the development of management schemes that enrich the ability of ecological and socio-economic systems to adapt. This program also focuses specifically on Integrative Land Management in the face of climate change—an emerging reality already influencing most public and private land management decisions. Studying first-hand how to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of an increasingly volatile climate in one of the coldest spots in the nation offers a unique opportunity for training innovative professionals in environmental management.
The Sustainable and Resilient Communities track prepares students for careers in environmental nonprofit development, sustainability consulting and coordinating (businesses, towns, universities), sustainable and resilient community advocacy, environmental organization management The Sustainable and Resilient Communities track focuses on the emerging interdisciplinary study of “sustainability.” This field examines and experiments with best practices in balancing ecological, economic, and social values for developing communities and socio-economic systems. This field raises tough questions about how to enhance the ability of future generations to continue a way of life in a place, without unjustly contradicting the ability of other cultures and species to do the same, locally and globally. The ecological concept of resilience, the ability of a system to absorb disturbance and maintain function, has complicated and strengthened sustainability studies. Students examine how human and ecological communities adapt, and perhaps thrive, in the face of the possible disturbances of climate change, economic boom and bust cycles, unsustainable energy or food systems, and water scarcity. This track provides the graduate-level content and theoretical understanding of sustainability studies, applying systems thinking and resilience theories to the field in a way that is unique to Western’s liberal arts traditions and the learning laboratories of the Rockies. Moreover, this track delivers entrepreneurial management and organizational skills that 21st century environmental managers need in order to build resilient communities, businesses, or organizations from diverse stakeholder groups.
Colorado Commission of Higher Education accredited.
Higher Learning Commission accreditation pending
Please contact program director, Dr. John Hausdoerffer for more information