Current Student Information

Dates and Deadlines

January 27th, 2020 – Spring Term Starts

January 29th, 2020 – WCS AIP Information Session Webinar

February 28th, 2020 – AIP Applications Close

March 1st, 2020 - Summer Registration Opens

March 15th, 2020 - Summer Internship Applications Due

March 30th, 2020 - Summer Registration Closes

May 9th, 2020 - Spring Term Ends

May 16th, 2020 - New Student Orientation

May 19th, 2020 - Summer Term Begins

August 8th, 2020 - Summer Term Ends

August 24th, 2020 - Fall Semester Starts

December 5th, 2020 - Last Day of Fall Classes

December 11th, 2020 December Commencement Ceremony



Spring 2020 Elective Courses and In-person Dates

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

In-Person Dates 2/18, 3/2, 3/17, 3/30, 4/11

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 1/30, 2/5, 2/29, 3/15, 4/2, 4/18, 4/27

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.

Summer 2020 Required Courses and In-Person Dates

Foundations of Inquiry – BIO 654

Required Summer #1 - 3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 5/21, 5/30, 5/31, 6/6, 6/7 , 7/9 and 8/6 Note: There are no excused absences from the May or 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 620

Required Summer #2 – 1 credit, Pass/Fail

In-Person Dates: 5/20, 6/2, 6/18, 6/25, 7/8, 7/23, 8/4

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: 5/23, 6/6, 6/13, 6/20, 7/11, 8/1

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 2020 Elective Courses and In-Person Dates

Project Design & Assessment - BIO 663

3 credits, Letter Grade

In Person Dates: 5/23, 5/26, 6/4, 6/14, 7/18, 8/5

This course instructs students about one of the most important scientific endeavors: evaluation to indicate whether their own work or the work of others is showing a trend and, thus, having an impact. The course is focused on two main sets of evaluation, natural science and social science studies. The course will review statistical thinking and discuss how to construct successful studies that will open students to accurate and effective evaluation. We will discuss how to choose between different statistical tests and the consequences for their experimental design. Students will be engaged in the different ways researchers and others apply statistics to natural science and social science studies. Students conducting social science research will determine whether to conduct qualitative or quantitative studies and will parse out the differences and values of each approach. 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 to interpret introductory statistical theory and assess statistical tests for their usefulness given different experimental models in a hypothesis testing format.
  • Design, conduct, and analyze a research project using appropriate experimental design and statistical analysis.
  • Evaluate, choose, and justify statistical tests based on sound experimental design.
  • Propose appropriate assessment techniques for a diversity of natural science and social science projects.
  • Engage the differences between qualitative and quantitative data collection efforts, and reflect on the appropriate analyses for a study question.
  • Interpret, represent, and communicate evaluation products to the public and peers
  • Employ community resources, including the AIP Master Institution environment, and outreach to create connections and use the network as a learning resource.
  • 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.

Fall 2020 Elective Courses and In-Person Dates

Climate Change - BIO 638

3 credits; Letter Grade

In Person Dates: 8/24, 8/31, 9/19, 10/17, 10/31, 11/14, 12/5

Global warming is irrevocably altering our polar ice caps, our oceans, our forests, and the world’s plant and animal life. In this course, participants study the science of climate change, the diverse causes of climate change, and the impact of climate change at local, regional, and global scales. Topics include global warming’s effect on weather and climate, ice caps, deforestation, and species conservation. Because the public plays a central role in how the world responds to climate change, students also investigate the factors that guide public perception, ranging from media to social interaction. Students explore the effect of climate change specific to the biology of their local region and consider what actions they and their communities can take locally. 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.

Human Dimensions of Conservation: Conservation Psychology – BIO 699.C

3 credits; Letter Grade

In Person Dates: 8/27, 9/5, 9/17, 10/3, 10/15, 10/24, 10/29, 11/12, 12/3

Conserving wildlife 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:

  • Support the role and importance of human dimensions research and application in wildlife conservation.
  • Interpret the foundational social science concepts and theories of human dimensions of wildlife conservation.
  • Assess natural resource issues from varying stakeholder perspectives.
  • Compare approaches for influencing human behavior and propose considerations for increasing their effectiveness.
  • Design a human dimensions study, propose possible methodologies and partnerships, and justify a plan by arguing how study results can be used to aid management decisions.
  • Interpret diverse conservation issues and justify human dimensions science applications.
  • Employ community resources, including the AIP Master Institution environment, to create connections and use the network as a learning resource.
  • 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.

WCS AIP Internship Program

WCS AIP students have excllusive 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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