New Course Proposed for Spring 2019 – Advocacy, Science, and Policy of Invasive Species

November 9, 2018

New Proposed Special Topics Course Announcement:

Advocacy, Science, and Policy of Invasive Species

Instructors: Drs. David Haak (SPES) and Scott Salom (ENT)
Course Number
GRAD 6984 (pending)
Semester: Spring 2019
Credit Hrs: 1
Anticipated Enrollment: 10
[Flyer PDF]

Course Goal: Provide Virginia Tech graduate students with exposure to the tripartite integration of Science, Advocacy, and Policy that shapes regulatory responses to biological invasions.

Course Description: In this course, we will travel to Washington DC to meet with Government Agency officials, NGO and Lobbying advocates, and Policymakers.  The goal of this meeting will be to identify the ways in which the connections between this ‘regulatory triangle’ are formed, reciprocally influence each other, and affect outcomes in prevention and management of invasive species. Students will be asked to prepare a set of questions to be addressed by each participating body and prepare a written report on the outcomes after the trip.

Note: This course will meet two times prior to a 3-day 2-night trip to DC and one time post trip.

Learning Objectives:  Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Identify the key areas in which Science, Advocacy, and Policy overlap and influence the management of invasive species.
  • Describe the basic principles governing the formation of new regulation regarding invasive species.
  • Learn how to engage points of contact with appropriate government agencies and/or advocacy groups for the dissemination of scientific information.

Course timeline:

2/25 – Discussion of trip, outline questions

3/4 – Submit questions

3/13 – AM Drive to DC, meet with Agencies

3/14 – Meet with Agencies and Advocacy Groups

3/15 – Meet with Policy Makers, return to Blacksburg PM

3/19 – Post trip debriefing

4/1 – Final report due

Invasive autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellate). Photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org.
Invasive autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellate). Photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org.

Performance Assessment: Given the practical nature of the course, the bulk of student assessment (75%) will be largely in the form of the developed questions and final report.  The remainder of assessment (25%) will be student participation. Students will be provided with a participation grading rubric.

Cost to student: There will be no costs to students for most travel, lodging, and some meals.  Incidental costs such as Metro tickets and dinner on free nights will not be covered.

Interested students should contact the instructors:

Dr. David Haak (SPES) dhaak@vt.edu
Dr. Scott Salom (ENT) salom@vt.edu

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