Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS) courses are designed to link coursework and critical thinking skills developed and practiced by Bard undergraduates in the classroom with civic and other forms of engagement activities that contextualize course materials and enhance learning. A significant portion of the learning takes place outside of the classroom: students learn through engagement with different geographies, organizations, and programs in the surrounding communities or in the national and international venues in which Bard is involved. ELAS courses challenge students to develop creative approaches to social, cultural and scientific issues. Students are exposed to an array of perspectives and contexts and given the opportunity to apply theory to practice.


Engaged liberal arts and sciences classes may involve a variety of activities, but emphasize reflective learning. Community engagement is not based on “service,” but on respect and reciprocity. Such an emphasis encourages open exchanges, collaboration, and the potential to produce new forms of knowledge.





ANTH 324

 Doing Ethnography:  Fieldwork and Representation

Michele Dominy

   Th    10:10 am-12:30 pm

OLIN 202





Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Human Rights  What are the ethical stakes, practical questions, and methodological tools that we use when we practice ethnography? Ethnography is the cornerstone of contemporary cultural anthropology, and includes both fieldwork and representation. This course is a survey of, and practicum in, ethnographic field methods. We will study and critique traditional ethnographic methods such as participant-observation, interviewing, archival research, visual, sonic, textual and spatial analysis, and address the challenges of doing fieldwork in a variety of contexts, including the virtual domain. A series of sequenced intensive research exercises will raise guiding questions about how ethnographic research can be ethically and effectively “translated” into written text. We attend also to emergent ethnographic forms and methods, such as multi-sited ethnography, critical moral anthropology, and indigenous methodologies and critiques. To complement the fieldwork projects, we will also read exemplary, and sometimes controversial, texts of ethnography in practice. Students will develop a community- or environmentally-based ethnographic research project of their own design throughout the course of the semester. Ethical aspects of conducting ethnographic fieldwork, including preparing for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, will be addressed. This course satisfies the “field methods” requirement for moderation in anthropology and/or environmental and urban studies. Prerequisites: Introduction to Anthropology 101 and/or EUS 101. Class size: 15



ART 205 ED

 Sculpture II: Air, Earth, Water

Ellen Driscoll

  W      1:30 pm-4:30 pm




Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies  We will look at earth, air, and water as sites, subjects, and material for making sited sculptural installations with a particular focus on waste and hazards to our ecosystems.   We will look at artists whose work addresses environmental issues such as Eve Mosher and Mierle Ukeles among many others.  Students will learn to create site installations responsive to both architectural scale and to the scale of nature. We will research food waste, wastewater, and other forms of waste on campus as well as in nearby New York City as catalysts for making socially engaged, responsive, and responsible art.  Throughout the semester we will overlap and share with Professor M. Elias Dueker’s class in microbiology entitled “Waste”.  Class size: 14



BIO 202

 Ecology and Evolution

Cathy Collins

  W  F  8:30 am-11:30 am

RKC 114 / 115



Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies  This core course for biology majors is an introduction to the general principles of ecology and evolution that, with genetics, form the core of biological understanding. In addition to studying foundational ideas in both ecology and evolution, we will explore modern topics at the boundary between these two areas. We will consider, for example, how genetic variation among individual organisms can influence ecological interactions, and how these interactions can influence fitness. We will focus on a mechanistic understanding of processes, using model-building to inform that understanding.  Prerequisite: Successful completion of a course in biology numbered 140 or above.  Class size: 18



BIO 311

 Field Ornithology

Bruce Robertson

 T  Th 1:30 pm-2:50 pm

      F   8:30 am-11:30 am

RKC 115

RKC 112



Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies  This course will present birds both as a unique group and as representative of vertebrates.  It will emphasize adaptation, ecology, and behavior of birds, the physical basis of flight, and introduce students to laboratory and field methods used in modern ornithology. We also will consider current views of the systematic relationships among living birds, and the evolutionary history of birds, including the debate regarding their origin in relation to dinosaurs and the origin of flight. Finally, we will examine case studies in bird conservation to understand the interaction of human and biological causes of, and solutions to, those problems. The laboratory portion of the class will include instruction in identification of all regional bird species by sight and sound. This will include field trips to local habitats / biological reserves and the study of museum specimens. Students will design and conduct small-scale behavioral research experiments (e.g. bioacoustics) with on-campus bird populations and will exploit publicly available and continental-scale databases to ask questions about bird ecology, evolution or conservation which will be submitted as both an oral report and scientific research paper.   Class size: 16



EUS 222


Elias Dueker

 T  Th 1:30 pm-2:50 pm

        F 1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 101

RKC 112



Cross-listed: Biology   This course offers a detailed exploration of the earth’s atmosphere and its interactions with the biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere with a strong emphasis on climate change. Topics will include origins of the atmosphere, origins of life, anthropogenic influences on the atmosphere, and connections and exchanges with the hydrologic cycle. We will further explore pressing global environmental issues associated with the atmosphere: climate change (extreme weather events, shifting precipitation patterns), air pollution, acid rain and recovery, and depletion of the ozone layer. Lab work will be guided by scientific questions related to these issues, and will focus on detection of anthropogenic influence on air quality.  Specifically, students will manipulate models to conduct field sampling, and utilize microbiological and chemical assays in the lab to better understand sources for and tracking of contaminants in air and the implications for people.  Class size: 16



EUS 308

EUS Practicum: Culture through Nature: landscape, environment and design into the 21st century

Margie Ruddick

M         1:30 pm-3:50 pm

HDR 106



This course expands on the Fall 2017 course Art Through Nature:  Landscape, Environment and Design in America, from the perspective of landscape planning and design.   We will take the study of the relationship between nature and culture into the 21st century, looking deeply at the way we make sense of sites, questioning conventional conceptions, methods and processes that can distance the actor from the landscape. We will work together to arrive at ways of taking in, reading, and organizing the landscape that disregard the artificial boundaries between art, ecology and design. We will integrate the many disciplines – science, ecology, sociology – that make up the field of landscape architecture and have in the past decades come to the foreground as agents in design. The first half of the semester will be spent developing a practice of site readings, from literal readings to mapping to bioacoustical recordings and other methods of documentation and interpretation.  The second half will be spent studying and immersing ourselves in Montgomery Place from many perspectives, preparing a series of readings of existing systems and conditions as well as future uses, and addressing the need to adapt landscapes for new stewards, new inhabitants and visitors, and new ages. Upper College status. Class size: 15



EUS 316


Elias Dueker

 T  Th 3:10 pm-4:30 pm

    W    1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 101

RKC 112



Cross-listed: Biology This course takes a close look at the long-term implications of our standard approaches to handling human waste. Innovations in waste treatment are required as we rapidly reach saturation, resulting in increased air and water pollution and decreasing space for land fills. Students in this class will learn the science behind current waste treatment technology (water, air, and land-based) and be exposed to cutting-edge alternative approaches (water reclamation, living machines, etc.).  Lab work will be microbiological and field-based, and will allow students to become familiar with the bacteria and biogeochemical processes we rely on for most current and cutting-edge waste-treatment approaches. This class will include engagement with local and regional communities and will include joint classroom and field experiences with Prof. Ellen Driscoll's ART206 Sculpture II:  Fluid Dynamics class.  Prerequisites: Either  EUS 221, EUS 222, BIO 202, or permission of instructor.   Class size: 16



HIST 117

 Inclusion at Bard

Myra Armstead

 T        1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 101




Cross-listed: American Studies  2 credits The nation's colleges and universities have clearly served as stepping stones, remediating against racial inequalities by providing pathways toward upward mobility for blacks and other minorities.  At the same time, historian Craig Wilder's EBONY AND IVY (2013), linking elite American institutions to slavery, Brown University's disclosures of the fortune made in the transAtlantic slave trade by its founders, and the recent acknowledgement by Georgetown University of its sale of slaves to pay off antebellum debts are just a few examples of the ways in which the role played by institutions of higher learning in reproducing racial and other social hierarchies in the United States has been proven.   How have these contradictory dynamics manifested themselves at Bard College?  In this Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS) course, we will explore this question by reviewing the College's evolving admissions policies toward blacks and the experiences of alumni of color at the College, and after graduation over time.  Social profile, oral history, and mapping methodologies will be utilized. While the focus will be primarily on African Americans, we will also consider the history of similar student populations at the College. Class size: 22



MATH 209


Lauren Rose

     F    1:30 pm-2:50 pm

HEG 204



2 credits  In this course students will explore problem solving techniques in mathematics, and use them to develop an engaging activity or project that involves serious ideas in mathematics and encourages the development of mathematical reasoning, analytical thinking, and open ended exploration. This course will also address the culture of mathematics, designing workshops to engage students of differing backgrounds and abilities.  Through readings and short written assignments, students will explore the factors that lead to fear and anxiety about mathematics and lower rates of participation by women and minorities in mathematics and other STEM fields. Class activities include guest speakers and visits to venues such as mathematics classrooms in local schools, Bard Math Circle events, and the National Museum of Mathematics, with an eye toward developing ways to bring math to the public in a serious and fun way.  This 2 credit course is recommended for any student who is eager to engage with mathematics outside the classroom, and to help create a more mathematically literate populace.  Math and science tutors, Bard Math Circle volunteers, and students interested in pursuing careers in STEM education may find this course of particular interest, but all students with a calculus background are welcome to join the class. Prerequisite:  Math 142, or the equivalent. Class size: 20