Initial Publication Date: March 18, 2011

About this Project

Comparative Environmental Issues - Diverse Study Solutions is a four-year project between the partner colleges of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), and the Universidade de Brasilia (UnB). The exchange program is distinctive in its focus on "tropical to temperate" curriculum and in its collaboration, providing science students an opportunity for first-hand field experience in a comparative and inter-disciplinary context, and in its geographic focus defined by specific environmental zones to develop region-to-region expertise.

Project Goals
  1. Broaden students' environmental field experience and comparative understanding of tropical (Brazil) and temperate (U.S.) natural, political, and cultural settings.
  2. Provide a context for focused curricular study on how environmental issues are defined, analyzed, and addressed in different contexts.
  3. Establish new student-faculty collaborations in the enhancement of course work and field work distinctive to the natural settings of the host institutions.
  4. Establish faculty-to-faculty collaboration on the design of innovative, inquiry-based environmental field experiences, data-driven modules, and course materials.
The program will provide special opportunities to explore the interaction among environmental resources, agriculture, and the push for bio-fuels and other alternative energy sources.

  • The core strategy is to exchange at least sixteen students from each country during three years, for a semester of environmental study at a partner institution abroad.
  • The consortia partners will convene annually to oversee the development of integrated curricula that are explicitly interdisciplinary, comparative and problem-based.
  • The project will build a web-based "course bank" or shared database, to disseminate new curricular and field study ideas and to help students and their advisors identify appropriate courses of study in preparation for the exchanges.
  • Annual project meetings involving faculty from ACM colleges, UFJF, and UnB will bring together faculty that have a stake in establishing cross-cultural collaborative curriculum.
Approaches to Research and Learning about the Environment: A Three-Day Workshop in Juiz de Fora, Brazil
Workshop Goals
  • Enable a broader, collective understanding about the environment by engaging participants to share their expertise on environmental themes.
  • Provide a context for how environmental issues are defined, analyzed, and addressed in Brazil.
  • Establish faculty-to-faculty international collaboration for the design of innovative, inquiry-based environmental field experiences, learning modules, and course materials for undergraduates in both English and Portuguese.
  • Develop an action plan that advances research on environmental studies and student learning.
Possible Environmental Themes for the Workshop
  • Water Resource Management
  • Natural Heritage and Environmental History
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development
  • Environmental Approach and Decision Making