RENR400: Study Abroad in Natural Resources – North Queensland (6 credits – Summer I)

Program Dates 2015: May 24 - June 18

Program Itinerary - click to view the 2014 syllabus and itinerary

Course description

This Australia study abroad program will examine the natural (and related social) history and environmental conservation of Queensland, Australia. Queensland has a wonderful year-round tropical climate and boasts some of the most diverse and remarkable natural resources in the southern hemisphere. An initial stay at James Cook University (Cairns) will be followed by an exploration of the network of national parks, reserves, offshore islands, and coastal areas of norththeast Queensland, before returning back to Cairns for a couple of days to complete the program. In the field, we will snorkel (scuba diving is optional) and explore the marine wildlife and coral of the Great Barrier Reef, learn about Aboriginal culture and history, investigate costal management practices of the offshore islands, and explore the rainforest of Daintree National Park to study the diverse flora and fauna of northeastern Australia. Our program will focus on topics related to sustainable development (sustaining human societies and the natural environment) through educational travel, field trips, active participation, lecture presentations and seminars, and coursework exercises.

Course Objectives

  1. Understand the natural history, biogeography, ecological diversity, and related social and cultural contexts of Australia through an exploration of Queensland’s network of national parks and protected areas, which encompass the Outback, rainforests, coastlines, marine reserves, and offshore islands;
  2. Understand the impacts of human actions on the natural systems, and human responses to those changes, using the case of Queensland, Australia;
  3. Develop an understanding of ecological education practices, integrated natural resource management, and conservation actions throughout Queensland, Australia;
  4. Be able to address relationships between human societies and their natural environments from multiple disciplinary perspectives and to develop a complex, multi-faceted and holistic view of human – environment connections that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Students must register for a total of 6 Summer I semester credits in RENR:400: Study Abroad in Natural Resources (Australia). 

There are no pre-requisites, but eligible students must be in good academic standing (GPR > 2.0).

Attendance and Lateness Policy 
Punctual attendance at all scheduled, program–related activities is required, including group meetings, discussions, field excursions, as well as lectures and any other scheduled activities. Participation in field activities (such as hiking, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, etc) is voluntary and at the discretion of the student; however, should you wish not to participate you must inform the instructor and an alternate activity will be assigned. An excused absence or decision not to participate in one or any of these field activities will not affect your grade for the course. During the field studies, no student is to leave the group without the consent of the faculty supervisor. Unless an absence is approved by one of the instructors or the program directors, students will lose 10% of their final grade for each day or part‐day they fail to participate. Any unexcused absences or continued late arrival to program activities may, at the discretion of the faculty supervisor, be grounds for dismissal from the program.

Academic Honesty 
Upon accepting admission to Texas A&M University, a student immediately assumes a commitment to uphold the Honor Code, to accept responsibility for learning and to follow the philosophy and rules of the Honor System. Students will be required to state their commitment on examinations, research papers, and other academic work. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the Texas A&M University community from the requirements or the processes of the Honor System. For additional information please visit: 

On all course work, assignments, and examinations at Texas A&M University, the following Honor Pledge shall be preprinted and signed by the student: 

“On my honor, as an Aggie, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work.” Cheating encompasses the following: 

1. The willful giving or receiving of an unauthorized, unfair, dishonest, or unscrupulous advantage in academic work over other students. 
2. The above may be accomplished by any means whatsoever, including but not limited to the following: fraud; duress; deception; theft; trick; talking; signs; gestures; copying from another student; and the unauthorized use of study aids, memoranda, books, data, or other information.
3. Attempted cheating. 

Plagiarism encompasses the following: 
1. Presenting as one's own the words, the work, or the opinions of someone else without proper acknowledgment. 
2. Borrowing the sequence of ideas, the arrangement of material, or the pattern of thought of someone else without proper acknowledgment. 
3. Depending on the severity of the indiscretion, cheating and plagiarism may result in automatic course failure. 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement 
The following ADA Policy Statement (part of the Policy on Individual Disabling Conditions) was submitted to the University Curriculum Committee by the Department of Student Life. The policy statement was forwarded to the Faculty Senate for information. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal antidiscrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Department of Student Life, Services for Students with Disabilities in Room B118 of Cain Hall or call 845‐1637.

Students going to class in Australia
Local fish waiting for 'school' to start in Australia.