Graduate Course Descriptions

GR 5043 GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental Solutions

Course Description: This course is intended to introduce students to GIS and remote sensing software and tools used to solve real-world environmental problems. Students will learn concepts and data sources and formats used in environmental research they may encounter in careers in environmental science. This course introduces the fundamentals of cartography, photogrammetry, geographic information science, and remote sensing through maps and spatial analysis used to answer various environmental and ecological issues. This course will also introduce students to use map and data outputs in the decision-making process that can impact environmental assessments and determinations.

GR 5143 Advanced GIS and Remote Sensing for Ecological Applications

Course Description: This course is intended to build upon introductory course knowledge. This course will teach students to understand and apply more advanced methodologies using GIS and remote sensing technologies. They will apply knowledge gained in this course to environmental concepts they may be exposed to in their careers. Types of data used will include vector and raster spatial data, imagery, maps, and topographic data to examine environmental problems. Data assessed will include spatial information regarding human and natural hazards and disasters, land use and land cover, surface temperature, climate change, wetland delineation, wildlife corridor mapping, coastal erosion, human impacts on the environment, and more. Students can use this data to gain insights and make problem solving decisions regarding real-world environmental issues they may encounter during their careers.

GR 5343 Environmental Research Methods

Course Description: This course will expand upon GIS and remote sensing concepts, techniques, and tools used in environmental research. Students will gather, process, and analyze data from a variety of sources. Data sources will include GIS and remotely sensed data from online repositories like USGS Earth Explorer, Google Earth, state GIS repositories, the National Atlas Viewer, the NPS IRMA Data Portal, the NRCS Soil Data Viewer, and the USDA Geospatial Data Gateway. Types of data examined will include vector and raster spatial data, imagery, maps, and topographic data. Students will also learn to gather, process, and analyze basic geographic data using tools they have access to including GPS devices including watches, smartphones, cameras, and trackers.

GR 5443 Creating Maps and Graphics of Ecosystem Change

Course Description:  This course is intended to introduce students to theory and practice of cartography and visualization. This course will teach students to learn, to think, and to communicate visually using a variety of environmental GIS data. Activities and a final project will teach students to visually display and examine environmental problems. Students will learn symbology, coordinate systems, map projections, topographic representations, interpolation, classification schemes, and more to effectively visually communicate real-world environmental problems and solutions to scientific and general public audiences.

GR 5503 Project Development for Environmental Problem Solving

Course Description: This course will apply all the knowledge and skills students have learned in the Professional Skills and Environmental GIScience core courses. Students will work with faculty or a government or private institution to solve a real-world environmental problem. Faculty will work with each student to identify an area of interest or need and begin to put together a portfolio of professional work for student’s intended or current careers. Note: Must be scheduled by an advisor in accordance with academic plan.

GR 6143 Modeling Our Changing World

Course Description: This course is intended to continue to build on the concepts and techniques learned in previous GIS and remote sensing courses. Students will learn to model and analyze real-world environmental science problems (e.g. past and future impacts of climate change on the Earth). A model is a simulation of the real-world. Students will model raster and vector data using algorithms and basic programming language. Students will use various proprietary and/or open source software to model and analyze environmental data including ArcGIS, R and QGIS.

GR 6503 Environmental GIScience Capstone

Course Description:  The Capstone course project will be the culmination of the knowledge and skills learned throughout the Environmental GIScience program. Students will complete processing, analysis, and interpretation GIS and remotely sensed data to solve the real-world environmental problem of interest identified in the Project Development course. Students will present their final projects in oral, visual, or written form to a public audience. This can include conferences, industry professionals, community town hall meetings, and more. Examples of final projects formats can include factsheets, peer-reviewed articles, project reports, interactive graphics or animations, poster presentations, YouTube videos, PowerPoint presentations, websites, and more. Note: Must be scheduled by an advisor in accordance with academic plan.

MG 5063 Accounting and Finance for Sustainable Business

Course Description: This course examines the principles of financial and managerial accounting for strategic decision-making and assessment of the financial strength of sustainably-minded organizations. Discussions will include the essentials of cost accounting, minimizing the costs and risks posed by operations and environmental liabilities, developing effective operational planning and capital budgeting processes, and effectively managing a firm’s investments.

MG 5123 Humans, Climate, and Business

Course Description: Climate change is the defining environmental issue of the 21st century. Environmental managers should be able to follow the emerging science and communicate it to a wide variety of audiences. This course begins with the science of climate and climate change and the anthropogenic contributions to that change. The course then examines the technical and economic challenges society faces with regard to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and strategies to increase the resilience of natural and human communities. Throughout the course, we will examine the historical and emerging responses to aspects of climate change mitigation and adaptation and how it relates to business.

MG 5133 Ecological Economics

Course Description: Economic systems influence how society understands its relationship to the environment. From the neo-classical synthesis to socialism, none of our contemporary economic systems seems to provide the social and environmental resilience that sustainability theory demands. The interdisciplinary field of ecological economics attempts to overcome the deficiencies in traditional economic theory, first by recognizing the physical limits in which any economic system operates and then by including normative values into a holistic economic system. Students will learn the basic principles of ecological economics, evaluate the framework, and learn to apply its principles to sustainability work.

MG 5163 Global Impact of Capital Markets

Course Description: This course explores the foundations of financial markets, how they operation, and how to assess performance. Students explore market behavior from a global perspective and how financial institutions operate. Key concepts include economic instability, government intervention, and how to value sustainability.

MG 5263 Designing Successful Teams & Organizations

Course Description: This course covers some of the skills that help organizations to thrive in a multicultural business environment, such as effective teamwork, the ability to set and reaching goals, and effective human resource strategies. Students will learn about leadership and communications skills for business leaders, group collaboration, and engaging employees and stakeholders to reach their full potential.

MG 5363 Business Ethics for 21st Century Leaders

Course Description: Recent events have demonstrated that ethical failures by business leaders can have major consequences across the globe. It is important for businesses to identify when ethical issues emerge and how to address them. Organizations can create a strategic advantage by taking a triple bottom line approach to business by considering social, environmental and economic factors.

MG 5463 Marketing & Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility

Course Description: Effective marketing is essential for overall business success. This course explores marketing in a sustainable organization and creating beneficial relationships with stakeholders. Students learn how to brand an organization, determine consumer demand, identify target markets, create brand positioning, and develop pricing strategies.

MG 5503 Sustainable MBA Capstone I: Planning Green Business Initiatives

Course Description: This course involves applying knowledge from other courses and integrates finance, communications, marketing, sustainability, and strategic management skills to develop an applied project that will be implemented in the following section of the class. Students work with an organization and possibly other Unity MBA candidates to design a plan that is guided and approved by a faculty member and an expert in the field. A project proposal must include the needs of an organization, the goal of the project, and relevant research findings. Note: Must be scheduled by an advisor in accordance with academic plan.

MG 5563 Quantitative Methods for Sustainable Solutions

Course Description: This course enables students to applying business data to solve organizational issues. Organizing and interpreting relevant information allows organizations to make informed business decisions and make sound forecasts.

MG 6503 Sustainable MBA Capstone II:  Implementing Green Business Initiatives

Course Description: Building upon the work completed in the Planning Sustainable Business Initiatives course, students work with an organization to implement a business project. Students work with their academic advisor as a mentor and present the project to the organization and produce a written report. Note: Must be scheduled by an advisor in accordance with academic plan.

NR 5213 Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management

Course Description: This course considers the human dimensions aspects of natural resource management. Topics include approaches to stakeholder involvement in management, conflict resolution, and decision-making approaches through case studies and human-dimensions research. Students learn principles that are needed to find science-based and socially acceptable solutions to natural resource management problems.

NR 5223 Landscape Ecology

Course Description: Landscape ecology focuses on the relationships between scale, spatial pattern, and ecological processes. Emphasis will be placed on landscape perspectives and practices as they relate to the management and conservation of populations and communities. This course will explore the importance of scale in assessing pattern and process and how landscape structure is characterized. We will examine the abiotic and biotic drivers of landscape patterns including land- use legacies and disturbance regimes. Other topics to be addressed include how populations and communities are structured across the landscape and respond to landscape change.

NR 5233 Conservation Ecology

Course Description: This course presents concepts from multiple biological disciplines, including population ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, behavioral ecology, sociology, as well as sociology and policy. Discussion illustrates the value of transdisciplinary thinking in solving conservation challenges. Students practice management and conservation problem solving by integration and application of course concepts to real-world case studies with an ecological focus.

NR 5243 Quantitative Methods

Course Description: This course provides managers with a basic quantitative literacy to enhance their ability to evaluate and interpret current ecological literature, and to implement management procedures that help advance understanding of the systems they manage. Topics include ecological study design, use of models in ecology, and advanced statistical approaches such as information-theoretic and Bayesian methods.

 

PC 5023 Strategic Management of Innovation

Course Description: The course is designed to help students understand the strategic, organizational and human issues that can either help or hinder you (and the organizations, both private and public, you work for) in efforts to develop and implement science-based solutions to environmental and natural resource challenges. It combines the study of those principles needed to manage scientific innovation with an emphasis on how environmental innovation fits within an organization’s strategy and business model, and why they matter, and how one creates an innovative learning organization, drives change within an organization, and drives the adoption of the innovations the organization creates.

PC 6013 Communication for Environmental Professionals

Course Description: This course will provide students the opportunity to develop vital professional skills in oral and written communication while preparing them to communicate clearly about science, policy, and technology issues with demographically diverse and geographically dispersed audiences. Content will address mass media and public understanding of science; organizational communication issues such as structure and communication networks; rhetoric, advocacy, and strategic message development; the role of public opinion and public policy; innovation and decision making; crisis communication and conflict management; emerging communication technologies; and inter-organizational and cross-disciplinary communication.

PC 6023 Ethical Practice and Policy

Course Description: This course will investigate some of the ethical dimensions of a life in professional science, examining dimensions of environmental and natural resource science and policy in the context of globalization, global change, and climate change. The course builds on the communications skill set of the science communication course by including a module on the role of science in society. Students critically evaluate the ethical dimensions of common scientific practice and policy issues related to sustainability and natural resources.

PC 5503 Capstone I

Course Description: This course guides students through the creation of a capstone project. Students from all degree tracks solve real-world problems through application of the variety of skills and knowledge acquired during their master’s experience. Students work to develop projects that demonstrate transdisciplinary thinking, analyze complex systems, and develop and communicate solutions to posed problems. Note: Must be scheduled by an advisor in accordance with academic plan.

PC 6503 Capstone II

Course Description: This course is the culminating experience of obtaining the M.S. of Professional Science degree at Unity College. Students will work to solve real-world problems through application of the variety of skills and knowledge acquired during their master’s experience. Collaborators work to demonstrate transdisciplinary thinking, analyze complex systems, and develop and communicate solutions to posed problems. Students will complete their capstone  projects in their fields of interest. Note: Must be scheduled by an advisor in accordance with academic plan.

SS 5113 Thinking in Systems

Course Description: Ecological, economic, and social systems have complex interactions which can make management inherently difficult. Students will examine examples of these systems from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective. From a top-down perspective, student will use statistical tools to mine information about systems, as understanding system patterns and measures can help managers anticipate how systems will change under natural or artificially applied modifications. In some cases, modifying these interactions (due to variation in environment or natural or applied pressures) can produce unexpected results. Therefore, students will also examine systems from a bottom-up perspective, using quantitative tools to model systems and examine their responses under changing conditions.

SS 5123 Climate Dynamics

Course Description: Climate change is the defining environmental issue of the 21st century. Sustainability scientists and natural resource managers should be able to follow the emerging science and communicate it to a wide variety of audiences. This course begins with the science of climate and climate change and the anthropogenic contributions to that change. The course then examines the technical and economic challenges society faces with regard to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and strategies to increase the resilience of natural and human communities. Throughout the course, we will examine the historical and emerging responses to aspects of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

SS 6113 Leading Sustainable Change

Course Description: The community dimension of sustainability science sets it apart from historical scientific problem solving. Truly sustainable solutions need to meet economic and cultural acceptability to be implemented politically, and the process of seeking solutions can change community perceptions. Through techniques for understanding the nature of stakeholders and the use of social marketing, sustainability professionals can strongly influence perceptions and behavior. In this course, students will practice research-based stakeholder analysis and social marketing.

SS 6123 Community Planning for Resiliency

Course Description: It is increasingly essential that we couple our greenhouse gas reduction actions with preparations for climate extremes and other changes, both expected and unexpected. As the footprint of human society continues to grow, managing the built environment for resilience becomes one of the primary leverage points for mitigation of sustainability problems, and an important focus of adaptation. From buildings to transportation networks to the relationship between urban communities and their rural resource bases, a strategically developed built environment dramatically reduces the carbon footprint, protects open space, and fosters social cohesion. We will enlist successful frameworks used in community design and green building as we explore ways in which communities can anticipate and adapt to the consequences of climate change while contributing to global mitigation efforts.