The Eisenhower Institute

Environmental Leadership

Environmental Leadership Program 2016-2017:

Troubled Waters:
From the Bay to the Ocean, Assessing Coastal Policy in the U.S. and the Caribbean (with Fieldwork in the Caribbean)

Program Summary

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 and to develop their social science research skills. These objectives are achieved through guided discussion sessions, readings, and the completion of an original research project, as well as real world experiences that will provide students with opportunities to understand coastal problems and solutions. Students are provided meaningful opportunities to interact with environmental policy leaders and to learn from leading scholars in the field. 

Each student will propose an environmental policy research project at the end of the fall semester and will conduct their original research projects during the spring fieldtrip to the Caribbean.

Caribbean Sea

A view of the Caribbean Sea.

The program concludes with student presentations during the 7th Annual Environmental Student 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, regardless of their major or previous course work. Due to the nature of the spring field experience, participants are required to hold a passport. Hiking and swimming are elements of the program. The program is for full 2016-2017 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

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

  • The major environmental threats facing coastal regions today (e.g., eutrophication, agricultural runoff, sewage, coastal development, marine resource management…).
  • 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 the Caribbean.
  • Discuss complex environmental policy readings in a seminar setting.
  • Plan and lead a group field experiences related to the Caribbean field study.
  • Conduct in-depth elite interviews with leading authorities in Caribbean.
  • Publically present the findings of their research at the student-led 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.

Eisenhower Institute Fellow, Howard Ernst, Ph.D.

Howard Ernst is a full Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy (where he teaches popular energy courses and environmental policy courses).  He is also a Senior Scholar at University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and the Seiden-Levi Fellow of Public Policy at Gettysburg College’s Eisenhower Institute. Professor Ernst is the author of six books and is best known for his work in the area of environmental politics. His publications in this area have been adopted by environmental policy courses throughout the country and highlighted by numerous media outlets: including the Washington Post, National Public Radio and PBS Frontline. Professor Ernst will lead the program by delivering relevant lectures, guiding student discussions, organizing and attending field experiences, and facilitating the student research symposium. Professor Ernst will also be teaching Gettysburg College’s Public Policy Capstone course in the Spring of 2017.


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.

Key Dates: Discussions, Case Studies, Field Labs, & Research



300 N Washington St, Box 2988
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400
Tel 717.337.6685 Fax 717.337.8459

818 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Tel 202.628.4444 Fax 202.628.4445