Current Student Information

Dates and Deadlines

August 23, 2021 - Fall Semester Begins

November 1, 2021 - Spring 2022 Registration Opens

December 4, 2021 - Fall Semester Ends

December 10, 2021 - Miami University Commencement Ceremony

January/February 2022 - WCS AIP Graduation Celebration (TBD)

January 24, 2022 - Spring Semester Begins

February 28, 2022 - AIP Applications Close

March 1, 2022 - Summer Registration Opens

March 15, 2022 - Summer Internship Applications Due

May 7, 2022 - New Student Orientation

May 7, 2022 - Spring Semester Ends

May 17, 2022 - Summer Semester Begins

June 1, 2022 - Fall Registration Opens

August 6, 2022 - Summer Semester Ends

August 22, 2022 - Fall Semester Begins

December 3, 2022 - Fall Semester Ends



Fall 2021 Elective Courses and In-Person Dates

Urban Ecology - BIO 662
3 credits, Letter Grade

In Person Dates: 8/28, 9/12, 9/26, 10/16, 11/4, 11/21

This course is designed to engage students in issues in urban ecology, with specific attention paid to the historical development and long-lasting impacts of urban planning within New York City. Students will utilize historic documents to examine urban development decisions from colonial to modern times. Students will also visit various zoological parks throughout NYC to examine ecological systems found within urban settings through hands-on scientific investigations, such as stormwater management, coastal planning, urban biodiversity, urban population growth, and greenhouse gas emission. As a culminating project, students will collaborate to design visions for the future of New York City utilizing modeling web platforms. Students will be tasked with identifying issues examined throughout the course to address within their vision and must provide both rationale for the planning decisions as well as quantitative data provided by the platform to demonstrate effective change in their given ecological systems. Students will also create ecological challenges to be issued to targeted local populations of potential stewards. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Explore the historical development of New York City, with attention paid to long-lasting effects of historic city planning decisions
  • Compare and analyze urban population growth patterns and urban biodiversity data to identify issues to be addressed in urban ecology
  • Evaluate various coastal planning strategies employed throughout New York City to identify strengths and weaknesses of each
  • Collaborate on a project to reimagine the urban systems within New York City through the use of Visionmaker NYC web platform, specifically attending to carbon, water, and biodiversity systems and the creation of digital challenges to be issued to targeted local audiences of potential stewards
  • 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
  • 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 projects

Environmental and Informal Science Education - BIO 625
3 credits, Letter Grade

In Person Dates: 8/26, 9/1, 9/25, 10/17, 10/28, 11/13

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
  • 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 project

Spring 2022 Elective Courses and In-Person Dates

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

In-Person Dates: 2/3, 2/22, 3/15, 4/21
Note Spring Topic: The History of Zoos & Aquariums

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

Ecophysiology: Biomimicry – BIO 658
3 credits; Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 2/5, 2/13, 3/3, 3/29, 4/30

Students in this course will explore the ways in which humans can (and do) emulate systems and designs found in nature to create materials, medicines, social systems, computers and so much more. Students will fine tune their observation skills and complete a design challenge using nature as their guide. Through this course, students will develop their observation and collaboration skills and will acquire research experience in the life sciences on such topics as the principles of ecophysiology, form and function of organismal adaptations, phenotypic and behavioral plasticity, and maintenance of homeostasis. Students will think critically and scientifically about the ways in which nature can benefit humankind through technological inspiration and solutions to environmental problems. Students will apply what they have learned as they develop curricula and create design challenges for professional use.This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Acquire research experience in the Life Sciences, e.g., on the principles of ecophysiology, form and function of organismal adaptations, phenotypic and behavioral plasticity, maintenance of homeostasis, and more.
  • Investigate how organisms respond to abiotic variables such as temperature, sunlight, altitude, water depth, and salinity.
  • Think critically and scientifically about the ways in which nature can benefit humankind through technological inspiration and solutions to environmental problems.
  • Develop curricular or other learning resources for professional use.
  • 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 2022 Required Courses and In-Person Dates

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

In-Person Dates: 5/19, 6/4, 6/5, 6/11, 6/12, 7/14, 7/26
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: 5/24, 5/31, 6/16, 6/23, 7/12, 7/21, 8/2

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, 6/5, 6/25, 7/16, 7/31

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 2022 Elective Courses and In-Person Dates

Project Design and Assessment: Socio-Ecological Methods in Conservation - BIO 663
3 credits, Letter Grade

In Person Dates: 5/22, 5/26, 6/2, 6/18, 7/17, 7/28

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.

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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