Watershed-Based Integrated Field Semester

"The Luce Semester"

Dickinson College Environmental Studies Department

Goals and Structure of Program

In 2004 The Environmental Studies Department at Dickinson College was awarded a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to develop a single interdisciplinary, integrated course, for the equivalent of a student's normal 4-course load. This initiative combines classroom activities, community-based fieldwork research, independent study, and extensive travel and immersion in two comparative watershed regions: the Chesapeake Bay and the lower Mississippi River Basin. Offered during the fall semesters of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009 to 15-21 Dickinson students, the course work focuses on aquatic science, environmental justice, coastal geomorphology, resource-dependent communities, and environmental policy and management. One of the main goals of the course is to connect students with affected communities, building on relationships already established through the ALLARM program, and by having students do research projects related to the communities' needs.

Students spend a week in September in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic coast and three weeks in November in southern coastal Louisiana, studying the ecosystems and the communities dependent on local natural resources, learning from the residents, as well as scientists conducting research, and spokespersons for various interests in the two regions. The remaining nine weeks of the semester are spent closer to campus, in the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin. All students also complete an independent research project in consultation and collaboration with a community group.

The Chesapeake Bay and the lower Mississippi River regions represent the two largest estuarine regions in the US, and both are being seriously threatened by human activities, resulting in loss of biodiversity, commercial fisheries, land, and serious threats to the local human communities dependent on these resources. If you would like more details on the "Luce Semester", click on the menu to the left!

Model Curriculum
Schedule, Syllabus and Field Trips
Luce in the News
Faculty, staff and students
Alumni Reflections
Student-written blog
Field Photos
Senior Seminar Research Websites
Luce Independent Research
Photo by Candie Wilderman
Photo by Candie Wilderman
A view of Fox Island, Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay.
A view of a cypress-tupelo swamp near Laffaytte, Louisianna

Environmental Studies homepage / Dickinson College homepage

For further information, contact Prof. Candie Wilderman or Prof. Michael Heiman

Website updates in progress as of May 19, 2009