Message from the Chair

Welcome to Drake’s ENSP Program website! Let me take a moment to tell you a little about what we think makes our program special.

First, we strongly believe that the study of human and environmental interactions is a highly integrative and interdisciplinary process. The field is fascinating because solutions are necessarily multifaceted, usually drawing upon a mix of topics like biology, ecology, economics, politics, psychology, sociology, geology, and more. Even if we weren’t facing critical threats to our biosphere and human support-systems, this alone would be enough to make me love the topic! We have worked hard to build a program that will not only teach you to be an complex, interdisciplinary thinker, but one where you will be taught by a faculty with a strongly interdisciplinary background. At Drake, we don’t just put together a group of scholars from different disciplines and call ourselves interdisciplinary, all of the work we do takes this complexity into account.

Next, Drake is an integral part of the environmental community here in central Iowa. We think that our students will be best able to get meaningful jobs and understand where they want to go if they spend time solving real problems for real stakeholders while they’re here, but we also think service learning and applied research help students remember how significant what they’re working on really is. Because Des Moines is the capital city, the legislature, Department of Natural Resources, the Office of Economic Development, and most Iowa NGOs are all located here. These, coupled with the first-in-the-nation caucuses and the typical opportunities in a mid-sized city, mean that Drake is a fantastic place to make a difference. But we don’t just work here: ENSP students do important long-term habitat restoration in Rwanda and the Galapagos Islands, and beginning in 2016 we will be adding Belize to the list!

Finally, ENSP is a community. Whether or not you choose to attend ENSP camping trips, picnics, or pot-lucks, our goal is to integrate you with current students, our extensive alumni network, and of course our faculty, so that you have the support you need to succeed in a complex world that is relying upon you living up to your potential.

So, enjoy the website, but also feel free to email me with any questions that you have.


David Courard-Hauri

ArtSci News
October 25, 2016
A high-profile lecture by one of the world’s leading journalists on the topic of faith and religion will be preceded by an interfaith event designed to introduce visitors to the diversity of religious and faith communities in central Iowa.