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Curriculum


The Adirondack Program combines intensive coursework and research with internships and household, communal duties, in addition to integrating time and space for the students' own recreational pursuits.
Students may earn up to two credits in their area of concentration, pending approval from their home department or program. Students majoring or minoring in environmental studies at Hamilton can automatically obtain credit for the Intensive Seminar and the Independent Capstone Project.
An Ecology of Adirondack Forest History

Fall 2017

An Ecology of Adirondack Forest History

Associate Professor of Biology and Faculty-in-Residence Bill Pfitsch will lead a course that focuses on the study of the structure and composition of Adirondack forests.

Required Courses

Intensive Seminar (College 370)

The Intensive Seminar, which is developed and taught by the faculty-in-residence, is designed to be directly relevant to the many resources of the Adirondack Park. It is discipline-specific in its credit-bearing designation, and changes each semester in accordance with the faculty-in-residence’s home department or program. Credit may also be gained by permission from the student’s major or minor department or program, when it is different than that of the current faculty-in-residence. See the Current Program description for more detailed information.


Common Experience Seminar (College 371)

Centered on ideas of stewardship and sustainability, this discussion-based, interdisciplinary course synthesizes the students’ coursework with significant issues in and of the Adirondack Park, as well as with their internship experiences, communal duties, potential career paths, and recreational pursuits. It also provides a vital opportunity to speak with park experts and community members, and emphasizes the debate and implementation of the “5 tenets of our living-learning community”: accountability, self-reliance, adaptability, situational awareness, and community engagement. This course is taught by the general director, Janelle A. Schwartz.


Field Component/Internship (College 372)

The internship component allows for students to contribute critical work to a local organization of their choosing (up to 3 per semester, from the program’s list of over 60 participating Local Partners), while gaining unparalleled professional experience and career preparation. This internship must average 20 hours per week, coordinated around the student’s course schedule and in consultation with the Local Partners. It will be guided by the student’s own initiative and independent motivation, with work performed on site with the organization(s) and/or remotely. A rideshare system is organized by all students together, in order to provide for responsible transportation to and from these internships. The general director coordinates placement into these internships and supervises the students’ progress within them, requiring both students and our Local Partners to turn in assessments periodically throughout the semester.


Independent Capstone Project (College 373)

The Independent Capstone Project emerges as a result of the work the students are exposed to in the program’s seminar coursework and intentional community aspects; or in their internships; or as it relates directly to concentrated study in a student’s major/minor field. The project must be conceptualized through an issue significant to the Adirondacks and demonstrate the student’s ability for self-guided study, project execution and completion. It is also meant to synthesize academic pursuits with possible career paths and real-world perspectives. This culminating project is determined individually, or in small working groups (2 – 3 students), under the advisement of the general director and faculty-in-residence. This credit may be discipline-specific in its credit bearing designation, in accordance with the faculty-in-residence’s home department or program or by permission from the student’s major or minor department or program.

 

Leadership Opportunities

Leadership opportunities augment this place-based, experiential program of learning.

These opportunities will be coordinated by students in consultation with the general director, and could include outdoor leadership, such as trip planning and execution, as well as master classes with local artisans and experts. There may also be educational or outreach leadership opportunities, such as working with local organizations, community businesses, and tutoring programs. Such leadership opportunities help further ensure that academic inquiry in the classroom is fully integrated into the field and extended to practices of stewardship and sustainability. They will be directly related to students’ continued classroom learning, future career choices, and immediate community engagement.

It is highly recommended that those students interested in outdoor/backcountry recreation be certified in CPR and wilderness first aid, preferably as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR). 

7-passenger Ford Explorers, with 4WD and roof racks, are made available to program participants. Qualified students will be trained in safe mountain driving on these vehicles at the start of each Adirondack semester. 

Contact Information


Dr. Janelle A. Schwartz

General Director
It's very good to see students using the Adirondacks as the unique classroom that it is—and even better to see them giving a huge amount back to these mountains as volunteers across the park!

Bill McKibben

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