Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation
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Previous college-level coursework and/or significant preparation in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields, as assessed by SIT. Four recent semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.
Through this interdisciplinary program, students gain an understanding of the diverse ecological zones of Ecuador, major plant and animal adaptations to life in each zone, appropriate uses for natural resources, and current environmental issues along with management practices. Students are also introduced to a broad panorama of Ecuadorian life and culture; rich indigenous and Spanish history, traditions, and current values; and political, economic, environmental, social, and cultural challenges facing contemporary society. During the Environmental Research Methods and Ethics course, students learn how to integrate both social science and ecological field techniques through anthropological and field ecology projects. These skills will then be applied during the Independent Study Project (ISP). Throughout their coursework and life in Ecuador, students apply their Spanish to the theme of the program and a deeper understanding of Ecuador.
The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.
The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Comparative Tropical Ecology - syllabus (PDF)
(ENVI 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course conducted in Spanish and English, with required readings, field trips, and independent observations. Utilizing a comparative approach, students examine Ecuador’s four distinct ecological regions, focusing on biodiversity along with human and conservation issues in the context of local, national, and global development pressures. The course focuses on science-based studies of the ecological, biological, and social aspects of Ecuador’s ecosystems, emphasizing the most relevant biotic, abiotic, and anthropological processes of each environment and establishing comparative analysis among them. The course integrates the historical, cultural, political, and economical aspects that have a direct influence on the ecological structure and threats of the different ecosystems. Resources utilized in the delivery of course content include Galápagos National Park, Tiputini Biological Station (in Yasuní National Park), La Florida Cloud Forest Reserve, Papallacta Highlands (in Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve), an organic farm in Puembo, flower production industries, and La Hesperia Reserve.
Conservation and Sustainability Practices in Ecuador - syllabus (PDF)
(ENVI 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course conducted in Spanish and English, with required readings, field trips, and independent observations. The course focuses on the analysis of the different environmental threats and issues that Ecuador is currently facing, including the study of governmental and local policies and management, integrated with the analysis of human and economical issues. Also, practical studies of sustainability issues in Ecuador will be treated at various detail levels. This course aims to study different conservation and sustainability alternatives and proposals for Ecuador’s natural resources and human quality of life.
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for the Natural Sciences I - syllabus (PDF)
(SPAN 2000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for the Natural Sciences II - syllabus (PDF)
(SPAN 2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for the Natural Sciences III - syllabus (PDF)
(SPAN 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for the Natural Sciences IV - syllabus (PDF)
(SPAN 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. The focus is on communicative competence and language skills needed for study of the natural sciences. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in intensive intermediate or advanced classes, with further practice in homestays, lectures, and field visits.
Environmental Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(ENVI 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
A course in research methods in both the social and natural sciences, focusing on how to collect, analyze, integrate, and report social and ecological data to critically understand and evaluate program-related environmental issues. Introduction to the Independent Study Project. Field research ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy. Field study includes designing a research project; writing a research proposal; interviewing; surveys; maintaining a field journal. Specific ecological field study methods may include micro- and macro-habitat analysis; biotic sampling and analysis; fauna and flora identification; biodiversity monitoring, including species richness and biodiversity indexes; population analysis; animal behavior; climatic analysis; soil and water analysis; Remote Sensing and Geographic Information systems; several aspects of Environmental Impact Studies.
Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted throughout Ecuador based upon requests from local activists, NGOs, and communities. Sample topic areas: traditional agriculture; mining or petroleum industry environmental implications and/or alternatives; impact of tourism on local communities; environmental education; flora or fauna census; biodiversity and population assessments; endangered species and conservation efforts; shark fishing; shrimp farming and mangrove conservation; soil or water studies; geology related to ecology and conservation; community conservation projects; supplying local reserves’ management needs; environmental movements.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Quito
Language Study: Spanish
Prerequisites: Coursework in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields; 4 semesters college-level Spanish. Read more...
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