Current Student Information

Dates and Deadlines

May 17, 2022 - Summer Semester Begins

June 1, 2022 - Fall Registration Opens

August 6, 2022 - Summer Semester Ends

August 22, 2022 - Fall Semester Begins

September 1, 2022 - WCS-AIP Applications Open for 2023 Cohort

November 1, 2022 - Spring Registration Opens

December 2, 2022 - Fall Semester Classes End

December 9, 2022 - Miami University Commencement Ceremony

January 21, 2023 - WCS-AIP Graduation Event

January 23, 2023 - Spring Semester Begins

February 28, 2023 - WCS-AIP Applications Close for 2023 Cohort

March 1, 2023 - Summer Registration Opens

May 5, 2023 - Spring Semester Classes End

May 6, 2023 - New Student Orientation for 2023 Cohort

May 13, 2023 - Miami University Commencement Ceremony

May 16, 2023 - Summer Semester Begins

June 1, 2023 - Fall Registration Opens

July 8-11, 2023 - Foundations of Inquiry (BIO 654) Intensive

August 5, 2023 - Summer Semester Classes End



Fall 2022 Elective Courses and In-Person Dates

Human Dimensions of Conservation Psychology - BIO 623

3 Credits; Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 8/30, 9/10, 10/2, 10/29, 11/3

Conserving wildlife and wild places is a complex endeavor that requires the integration of sound science from both the social and natural sciences. This course will explore how the social sciences can inform conservation. A growing field of study that draws from several of the social sciences is human dimensions of wildlife. This course will examine how human dimensions emerged as a field of scientific inquiry and why it is important. It will provide an overview of the social science concepts and methods that are the foundation of human dimensions. Students will consider how current conservation issues can be addressed through an understanding of human thought and action. Students will use the human dimensions approach to address a current conservation issue and by the conclusion of the course, they will be able to identify tools, frameworks, and concepts that can be used to influence human behavior to effectively conserve wildlife. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Interpret the foundational social science concepts and theories of human dimensions of wildlife conservation.
  • Compare approaches for influencing human behavior and propose considerations for increasing their effectiveness.
  • Interpret diverse conservation issues and justify human dimensions science applications.
  • Engage in reflective and evaluative peer review in face-to-face environments and on the web to provide colleagues with personal insight, new perspectives or analyses, ideas for useful applications, and connections to other research and projects.

Climate Change - BIO 638

3 Credits; Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 8/31, 9/18, 10/22, 10/30, 11/9 Note: All classes will take place at Central Park Zoo, except 10/22, which will take place at the NY Aquarium.

Anthropogenic global warming (AGW), or climate change, has grown to be one of the largest issues, if not the largest issue, in biological conservation for the upcoming century. Its effects are pervasive and will occur across the planet, at global, regional and local scales. However, it is necessary to grapple with the specific effects of AGW, as it will not affect all parts of our planet equally, nor will it affect all systems equally. Moreover, it is critical to identify the specific inequalities of the impacts of AGW on both biological and human systems, and their interactions, as a precursor to addressing AGW.

In this course, we will study the science of AGW and its predicted effects. We will examine the evidence for AGW, and how communication and media coverage help shape public perception. We will consider what climate change models predict at the local scale, and consider what potential impacts this might have. We will also consider global conservation efforts related to AGW – a highlight of this portion will be an in-depth dive into a cutting-edge climate vulnerability assessment being performed by WCS in northeastern Afghanistan. Additionally, through project assignments and research, at the end of this course participants not only have a solid understanding of current issues surrounding climate change but will also have considered and developed strategies for taking action. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Engage with each other and with experts in the field to investigate and interpret global climate change issues.
  • Critically analyze primary research on the causes, impacts, and proposed solutions to climate change.
  • Evaluate methods by which public perception is formed and consider and critique the polling process, including national and international media and social interaction.
  • Gain an understanding of climate change and global warming as a field of study locally and assess how to apply the tools of conservation science in their own communities.
  • Become more proficient employing local resources, including the AIP Master Institution environment, exhibits, and community partnerships, to increase public engagement in climate change issues.
  • Engage in reflective and evaluative peer review in face-to-face environments and on the web to provide colleagues with personal insight, new perspectives or analyses, ideas for useful applications, and connections to other research and projects.

Spring 2023 Elective Courses and In-Person Dates

Graduate Research: Science Literature – BIO 620
1 credit; Pass/Fail

In-Person Dates: 1/31, 2/16, 3/16, 4/23
Spring Topic: Indigenous Wisdom & Scientific Knowledge

Students may repeat this course when offered with different topics; topics offered rotate every year.

In this seminar style class, students will explore contemporary conservation and education issues by reading and discussing current literature. By delving deeper into multi-faceted conservation concerns, participants will have the opportunity to explore how they would respond to controversial problems and conflicts, and how they would help their audience respond. This course will provide participants the opportunity to think critically about the environment and the challenges that arise when striving to deal with complex conservation issues. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Examine contemporary conservation and education issues within historical and present day frameworks
  • Develop critical review skills when reading technical and/or popular literature
  • Increase leadership skills as moderators of reading discussion

Environmental and Informal Science Education – BIO 625
3 credits; Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 1/29, 2/11, 2/25, 3/19, 4/15, 4/24

Participants will explore strategies in Informal Science Education (ISE) and Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) programs that not only achieve educational goals but also result in positive environmental impacts. This course will include practical applications and hands-on approaches for conducting ISE and ESE with a wide range of audiences. Participants will explore current and recent historical environmental education research and will create an analytic review of literature related to an area of interest they identify. Putting their new knowledge to work, participants will complete an action research project and measure the impact of the project on their audience.This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Examine the history of and evaluate the current body of research on Environmental and Sustainability Education and Informal Science Education as national efforts and fields of study (EPA/NEEA, CAISE, NSF, etc.);
  • Research an environmental or sustainability education topic of interest using clear, bounded search parameters and create an analytic review synthesizing the research for a general academic audience;
  • Compare the value and use of inquiry in a variety of outdoor and other informal science learning settings (e.g. zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, out-of-school
  • programs, film and broadcast media, cyber-learning and gaming)
  • Choose an audience, and create multiple strategies to engage that audience in a local
  • and/or global conservation action;
  • Employ community resources, including the AIP Master Institution environment, and outreach to create connections, build community partnerships and use the network as a learning resource; and
  • Engage in reflective and evaluative peer review in face-to-face environments and on the web to provide colleagues with personal insight, new perspectives or analyses, ideas for useful applications, and connections to other research and projects.

Summer 2023 Required Courses and In-Person Dates

Foundations of Inquiry – BIO 654
Required Summer #1 - 3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 5/25, 6/8, 6/9, 6/10, 6/11, 7/13, 7/25
Note: There are no excused absences from the June dates.

This course will engage participants in exploring the foundations of inquiry-based learning and teaching while gaining a new familiarity with the Bronx Zoo as an informal science education setting, and with the AIP learning model and online platform. This course will guide students through making observations on zoo grounds, and using those observations as a foundation for completing an independent scientific inquiry project. Participants will further learn how to guide this process with others and how to apply these skills for use in their communities or classrooms to create change and become local leaders. This type of first-hand, experiential learning encourages independent and critical thinking, increasing awareness and concern for the local environment and its inhabitants. We will engage in activities that demonstrate the universal applicability of inquiry in a wide range of settings. Participants will come away with information and techniques for utilizing inquiry in their AIP journey and beyond. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Construct an understanding of the nature of science, and investigate models of inquiry in the life sciences
  • Create and conduct their own field research projects
  • Engage in reflective and evaluative peer review

Master Plan in Action – BIO 655
Required Summer #2 – 1 credit, Pass/Fail

In-Person Dates: 5/30, 6/8, 6/15, 6/27, 7/6, 7/18, 7/27

The AIP Master Plan (MP) represents a student’s ideas and areas of interest as those ideas relate to the student’s professional and community goals. By writing a Master Plan, students are able to focus their AIP journey and visualize the actions and steps that they might take toward completing their master’s degree. During this course, with guidance and input from peers and the AIP Cohort advisors, students work on completing their Master Plans. This method ensures that students have a workable plan that helps them anticipate ways to incorporate the projects they create as part of their AIP experiences into their professional and life goals. Students will also think about the common threads and program tenets which tie together the projects in their AIP journey, and that ultimately becomes their final master’s ePortfolio -- the culminating experience at the end of their degree. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop and expand a focused plan or strategy that includes a timeline for conducting anticipated projects
  • Examine, critique, and apply relevant research methodologies
  • Conduct critical peer-review of colleague’s work
  • Use networking and outreach to elevate the outcomes of the Master Plan
  • Begin developing a cohesive body of work for inclusion in ePortfolio

Environmental Stewardship in My Community - BIO 656
Required Summer #3 – 3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 5/18, 5/21, 6/17, 6/25, 7/9, 7/22

Participants will investigate and participate in conservation opportunities and solutions in their local communities, practice inquiry-based learning, develop a conservation project to be used in their community or classroom, and reflect on their ecological footprint. At the end of this course, participants have a solid understanding of current issues facing local habitats and strategies for empowering their community or students to generate solutions and take action. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Use inquiry to drive learning in science and integrated topics
  • Explore the principles of sustainability and community-based conservation
  • Use local community resources, including WCS facilities, as learning resources
  • Investigate local conservation issues to understand causes and impacts; analyze solutions to these issues
  • Develop strategies for engaging students or community members in conservation action

Summer 2023 Elective Courses and In-Person Dates

Regional Ecology: Ecosystems of the Northeast - BIO 657
3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 5/20, 6/8*, 6/9*, 6/10*, 6/11*, 7/30
*Note: This course includes a field experience that will take place from June 8 through June 11, 2023 in the Adirondacks. An extra experience fee of $600 will cover all food, transportation and lodging.

This course will explore key regional ecosystems and wildlife conservation issues in the Northeast as well as field investigation techniques that scientists and citizens alike can use to study and conserve our local ecoregions and wildlife.

Participants will be introduced to the work of zoo and aquarium based conservation biologists and researchers from some of WCS’s partner organizations to see first-hand how laboratory and field techniques are used to inform important conservation efforts in the Northeast. We will also explore urban ecology and conservation efforts in urban settings. Throughout the course, participants will gain important research skills, develop an understanding of regional wildlife issues and their solutions, and explore techniques to engage their audience in ongoing conservation solutions.This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand how scientific inquiry is used to address local wildlife conservation challenges
  • Develop, conduct, and analyze results from an original ecological field study
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of common field methods employed in wildlife
  • research and conservation
  • Investigate conservation practices and programs conducted by local and regional organizations
  • Evaluate ways to increase public participation and understanding of regional ecological studies and conservation issues (e.g., citizen science initiatives)

WCS AIP Internship Program

WCS AIP students have exclusive access to the WCS AIP Internship Program. Please contact tchudoba@wcs.org if you are interested in finding out more information.


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