Environmental Leadership


Troubled Waters: From the Bay to the Ocean, Assessing Coastal Policy in the U.S. (with Fieldwork in South Florida during Spring Break)

Program Summary

Led by Howard Ernst, Seiden-Levi Fellow, this program provides a select group of Gettysburg students (limited to 10 students) with a unique opportunity to gain a greater understanding of marine policy issues, to apply social science research methods, and to develop their leadership skills. These objectives are achieved through guided discussion sessions, readings, and the completion of an original research project in which participants plan and implement a rigorous field study. Students are provided meaningful opportunities to interact with environmental policy leaders and to learn from leading scholars in the field.

Each student will lead a major aspect of the environmental policy research project and will help plan and implement the spring field study.

Caribbean Sea


The program concludes with student presentations during the annual research symposium.

Please note that the program is taught from a social science perspective and is not intended for students who desire to conduct natural science research.

The Environmental Leadership Program is open to all students who have an interest in marine related policy issues, who want to gain research experience, and who desire to refine their leadership skills. Hiking, biking, and swimming are elements of the program, and students should be prepared to engage in these activities. The program is for the full 2018-2019 academic year and participation is required at all sessions.

Please note that the program is limited to 10 students and selection is done on a rolling basis. Students who are interested in the program should apply as soon as possible, but only if they are able to attend all components of the program (see tentative program schedule).

Learning Objectives:
Know, Do, Understand, Lead

Knowledge Based Objectives -
After completing this program, participants will know:

  • The major environmental threats facing coastal regions today (e.g., eutrophication, agricultural runoff, pesticides, sewage, coastal development, marine resource management, sea-level rise, acidification…).
  • How competing worldviews influence ideas regarding environmental management of coastal regions (e.g., shallow ecology, deep ecology, radical environmental thought…).
  • How market failures relate to environmental conditions in coastal regions (tragedy of the commons, negative externalities, weak property rights, trans-boundary disputes…).
  • The major policy options available for addressing market-based environmental problems in coastal regions (regulatory, consensus-based, market-based…).

Skill-Based Learning Objectives -
After completing this program, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Apply the social science policy model described in Chesapeake Bay Blues (by Howard Ernst) to a specific environmental problem faced by a coastal community.
  • Discuss complex environmental policy readings in a seminar setting.
  • Plan and lead a group field experience related to a coastal community.
  • Conduct in-depth elite interviews with leading authorities in the scientific and policy communities.
  • Publicly present the findings of their research at the student-led research symposium. 

Values-Based Learning Objectives -
After completing this program, participants will have a greater understanding of:

  • The connections between environmental management and economic, political, and cultural factors.
  • The tension between economic developing and achieving environmental sustainability in coastal regions.
  • The global nature of threats to marine resources and coastal environmental conditions.

Leadership-Based Learning Objectives -
After completing this program, students will develop the following leadership practices:

  • Practice Various Group Decision-Making Models (authoritarian, consultative, democratic, and consensus).
  • Experience Various Leadership Roles (self-leader, active-follower, peer-leader, group-leader)
  • Practice Leadership Self-Assessment (identify their personal leadership style, keep a leadership journal, and deliver a leadership talk).
  • Practice Leadership Peer-Assessment (Identifying blind spots and engaging in after action feedback). 

Program Components

The program is divided into three complementary parts: A) structured discussions that provide students with the conceptual grounding necessary to understand the annual theme; B) field experiences that enable students to research the annual theme; and C) a student run symposium in which seminar participants present the key lessons from their research.

2018-2019 Program Schedule

Please visit our Application Center to apply by September 14, 2018.