Catalog: Fall 2007 - Spring 2008

2007-08 Catalog: T

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Taking Things Apart: A Scientific and Artistic Exploration

Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Bob Haft (visual art, photography, expressive arts), Donald Morisato (biology)

Major areas of study include biology, drawing, history and philosophy of science, literature and photography.

Class Standing: This all-level program offers appropriate support for freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.

Prerequisites: One year of high school biology or chemistry. Faculty signature required (see below).

Faculty Signature: No new students will be admitted into this program spring quarter

Both science and art take things apart. In some instances-like the evisceration of a frog or an overly analytical critique of a poem or a piece of visual art-the process can result in the loss of the vital force. But in the best scenario, for both art and science, carefully isolating and understanding the individual parts actually reconstitutes the original object of study, bringing a greater appreciation for the whole that is greater than the parts. And sometimes, taking things apart results in an entire paradigm shift in our consciousness: suddenly, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

In one strand of this program, we will be using a biologist's tool kit and the scientific method to take apart living organisms and to explore how they function. Science relies on making careful observations, formulating predictions, testing hypotheses with experiments, and placing those results within the framework of a conceptual model. We will learn how biology takes apart and studies life at many different levels. In the laboratory, we will examine structures down to the level of individual cells by using microscopes, and even find ways to isolate and visualize the underlying molecules. We will investigate how defects produced by genetic mutations can reveal the function of normal biological processes. Another strand of the program takes visual art as its point of departure. Here, we will work with different sorts of tools-camera and charcoal pencils, for example-both to take things apart, and to construct new things. We will learn the basics of drawing and photography in order to study life at a more macroscopic level than in the biology lab. Ultimately, our goal here is the same as that of the scientist: to reconstitute and reanimate the world around us. By doing so, we hope to enhance our connection with and appreciation of the mysteries of life.

Finally, there are some ideas for which literature provides a far more sophisticated and satisfying approach than either science or the visual arts. Thus, in a third strand, we will examine how literature depicts and takes apart that complex set of emotional and behavioral interactions that we call "love." Authors that we may read include Shakespeare, Henry James, Milan Kundera, Nadine Gordimer, John Berger, Haruki Murakami and Louise Glck.

Our goal is to weave these three strands together, in the hopes of producing a fabric of understanding about the world that is informed by both cognition and intuition.

Total: 16 credits each quarter.

Enrollment: 48

Special Expenses: $150 to $200 for art supplies.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in art, science and the humanities.

This program is also listed under Programs for Freshmen and Expressive Arts.

Program Updates
The faculty signature requirements have been changed to reflect that no new students will be accepted spring quarter.


Temperate Rainforests

Fall quarter

Faculty: Dylan Fischer (forest ecology), Paul Butler (geology)

Major areas of study include forest ecology, ecosystem ecology, landscape processes, weather and climate.

Class Standing: Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome.

Prerequisites: One year of college-level science required.

What are the structure, composition and function of temperate rainforests? How does this relate to the ecology of other systems, land management and the physical environment? We will explore how diversity and physiology of temperate rainforests relates to these questions. Specific topics will include forest nutrient cycling, ecophysiology, sampling, land management effects on ecosystems and the relationship between forests and the physical environment. Our focus will be on the ecosystem ecology of rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, but we will also consider their counterparts in other parts of the world.

Weekly seminars will focus on reading primary scientific literature related to the structure, composition, function and management of temperate rainforests to elucidate current scientific knowledge of these systems. We will also investigate interactions between humans and forests to consider the broader impacts of ecological research. Students will undertake organized group projects in ecology and natural history and develop an independent study project that requires the development of research and quantitative skills. We will use The Evergreen State College campus as a field laboratory. The program will also take a field trip to the Olympic Peninsula to study natural history and field ecological aspects of temperate rainforests. In addition, we will work with a local landowner to characterize and evaluate ecological structure and nitrogen cycling in a 200-acre forest that has a diverse mixture of wetlands, riparian zones, mature second growth and recent harvest units.

Total: 16 credits.

Enrollment: 50

Special Expenses: Approximately $160 for a five-day field trip to the Olympic Peninsula. The deadline for payment of the field trip fee is September 28, 2007.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in ecology, education, environmental studies and earth science.

This program is also listed under Environmental Studies.

A similar program is expected to be offered in 2009–10.


Thinking Straight


Spring quarter

Faculty: David W. Paulsen (philosophy and cognitive science)

Major areas of study include: informal logic and critical reasoning, ethical reasoning, statistical reasoning, and philosophy of science.

Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 25% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.

Do you want to work on improving your critical reasoning skills? This program will focus on techniques of understanding and criticizing arguments and theories. It will emphasize a cooperative, dialogic approach to deciding what to believe. Thinking Straight will cover standard topics in informal logic including argument reconstruction, assessment of validity and fallacies. We will explore statistical, ethical and scientific reasoning. We will apply critical reasoning techniques to a number of contemporary, contentious issues found in a variety of texts including selections from books, newspaper editorials and columns, Internet documents, and journal articles. We will discuss in detail the controversy over global warming and its policy implications as well as "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolutionary science.

Students will be expected to gather both quantitative and qualitative material and make frequent presentations that clarify and assess the reasoning underlying important current issues. They will be evaluated on the basis of performance on assignments, in class discussion and project work, an annotated portfolio of material they collect over the quarter, as well as exams and quizzes.

Students will deal with the elements of the program through a series of structured workshops, including small and large group discussion as well as mini-lectures and assignments. In addition, students will be expected to submit essays growing out of the topics covered in the ethics component of the program and participate in a team project leading to a cooperative, critical exchange that debates two sides of a question in front of the class by providing arguments and appropriate criticism.

This program is ideal for first and second year students as well as others with an interest in exploring techniques of critical reasoning. The program will be taught in a discussion/workshop format with only occasional mini-lectures to set the stage for class work.

Total: 16 credits.

Enrollment: 24

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in philosophy, science, the social sciences and law.

This program is also listed under Programs for Freshmen and Scientific Inquiry

Program Updates
This is a new program for Spring 2008.


Time and Place: Regional Environmental Histories


Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Robert Smurr (Russian studies, environmental history) and Peter Impara (geography)

Major areas of study include environmental history, history of the Pacific Northwest, basic ecology, field methods, environmental studies and geography.

Class Standing: This Core program is designed for freshmen.

Prerequisites: For entry into the program spring quarter, new students will be required to do some catch up reading from winter quarter's materials.

Faculty Signature: For new students seeking entry into the program spring quarter, a faculty signature is required. Interested students should contact Rob Smurr at or Peter Impara at, or speak with one of them at the academic fair on March 5, 2008. Qualified students will be accepted on a space available basis.

Rivers. Oceans. Forests. Mountains. Deserts. Earth existed for eons before Homo sapiens appeared on its surface, yet even though terrestrial landforms and water features gave rise to innumerable other life-forms, neither the planet's characteristic ecosystems nor the diverse species that evolved in them have ever remained stable. Rivers change course. Oceans rise and fall by hundreds of meters. Forests burn to the ground. Mountains erode into desert. Deserts uplift into the highest peaks. In short, our planet and all features of it have been, and continue to be, in continuous flux.

What, then, does time have to do with how we view our planet, its other species, and our very own? Join us as we use history, philosophy, geography, landscape and ecology studies to decipher human understandings of - and relationships with - this unique and infinitely changing planet. We shall seek answers to questions such as: Why is it important to understand how diverse ecosystems function? How did ecosystems change before humans appeared? How and in what ways have humans altered the "natural" development of ecosystems? How do ecosystems relate to the larger field of ecology? We will conduct several field studies to help us analyze firsthand the role of natural and human-induced events in various ecosystems, both in the Pacific Northwest and in the desert Southwest.

Agriculture. Cities. Hospitals. Dams. Strip malls. From the earliest days to the present, humans have always modified their immediate environment to better suit their needs. However, with increasing world population and an ever increasing ability to dramatically alter our environment, contemporary human society is radically transforming the planet in non-historic ways. We will look at some of these transformations and explore possible paths towards a more sustainable future.

Weekly seminars, lectures, workshops, field lab studies, critical film viewing, and several overnight fieldtrips will help us to integrate our textual analyses with hands-on fieldwork. We will strive to understand more fully concepts of place, recreation, adventure, eco-tourism, and the natural world at large. Travel and fieldwork are integral and required aspects of this two-quarter program, thus students are expected to participate in all fieldtrips, including several overnight trips.

Total: 16 credits.

Enrollment: 46

Special Expenses: Approximately $100 per quarter for several overnight fieldtrips.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in history, environmental history, ecology, resource management, environmental science and geography.

Program Updates
This is a new Core program for Winter and Spring 2008.
02.20.2008: Faculty signature requirements and prerequisites for spring quarter entry have been added.


Tropical Rainforests

Winter quarter

Faculty: John T. Longino (biology), Paul Butler (geology), David Phillips(Spanish)

Major areas of study include ecology and evolution of tropical ecosystems, statistics for field biology, landscapes processes, weather and climate of tropical regions and introductory Spanish. Upper-division science credit will be awarded in all science areas.

Class Standing: Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Environmental Studies or one year of college-level science. Spanish is highly recommended. Faculty signature is required (see below).

Faculty Signature: Students must submit an application. Assessment will be based primarily on writing skills and background knowledge in the sciences. Application forms are available from John T. Longino at (360) 867-6511. Applications received by the Academic Fair, November 28, 2007, will be given priority. Qualified students will be accepted until the program fills.

The tropics are the cradle of the world's biodiversity. This program will focus on Costa Rica, emphasizing biological richness, field ecology, the physical environment, statistical analysis of field data, conservation biology and Latin American culture. The first seven weeks of the program will be held on the Evergreen campus, followed by a three-week field trip to Costa Rica. The on-campus portion will include lectures and labs on global patterns of biological diversity, quantification and analysis of ecological diversity, an overview of major taxa of Neotropical plants and insects, and discussions of the physical environment of tropical regions. This material will be integrated with classes in introductory statistics and conversational Spanish.

During the Costa Rica field trip, we will visit four major field sites, including coastal habitats, tropical dry forest, cloud forest and lowland rainforest. Students will learn about common plants and animals in each area, dominant landforms and ecological processes, conservation issues and current biological research activities. Students will also learn techniques of field research by participating in quantitative field labs, both faculty and student led. In the evenings there will be a series of guest lectures by research scientists. The field trip will require rigorous hiking and backpacking in remote locations.

Total: 16 credits.

Enrollment: 24

Special Expenses: Approximately $2,200 for a three-week field trip to Costa Rica.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in environmental studies, ecology, conservation biology, evolutionary biology, geology, physical geography and Latin American studies.

This program is also listed under Environmental Studies.

A similar program is expected to be offered in 2009–10.

Program Updates
David Phillips has joined the program to provide Spanish language support.


Two-Dimensional Visual Art: Portraits

Spring quarter

Faculty: Lisa Sweet (visual art)

Major areas of study include drawing, painting and visual arts.

Class Standing: This lower-division program is designed for 50 percent freshmen and 50 percent sophomores.

Portraits are unique among artistic production: they are works that intentionally refer to a living or once living person by an artist who may know the sitter well or may never have met the subject. By capturing or presenting something of the aura of another human being, portraits are compelling images in what they tell us about the sitter and more often what they conceal. Moreover, the notion of artistic (self) expression is mediated by the presence/image of another. Thus the artistic relationship of artist/object/audience is expanded to artist/sitter/object and audience. In this sense, portraiture represents a complex arena of artistic practice and appreciation.

This program will explore the human portrait through studio assignments, readings and seminars, and a major visual studies research project. Our work in studios will focus on life drawing, painting and to a lesser extent collage. We'll read and discuss books and articles exploring the nature and theory of portraiture. Finally students will undertake significant research into the work of a portrait artist through writing a research paper and presenting a lecture in the learning community. Between studio assignments, readings, and research, students should expect to spend about 40 hours a week focused on class work. Students of all levels of artistic experience who share a commitment to, and enthusiasm for, both research and studio work are welcome.

Total: 16 credits.

Enrollment: 23

Special Expenses: Approximately $200 for art supplies

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in the arts.

This program is also listed under Programs for Freshmen and Expressive Arts

Program Updates
This is a new program for spring 2008.