The rigors of employment-directed undergraduate education. and decreased emphasis on "Liberal Arts" studies occurring at some colleges and universities has left many graduates with a level of scientific understanding which is inadequate to make infonned choices about issues which effect the environment. To address this lack of scientific understanding. the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (Virginia) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, with the Marshall-Wythe School of Law and the School of Business Administration of the College of William and Mary are developing a Coastal Ecosystem Science Program to teach future law and business professionals the basics of coastal marine science.

The Program is being developed after front-end evaluation (telephone survey of law/business faculty members from schools, law and business graduate students and industry professionals from around the United States) which explored the need, successful format, length and other essential or logistical elements of program design. Formative evaluation will continue through student pre-, and post-, testing to evaluate content, information transfer and retention. This program teaches the basic principles of coastal. environmental science to all law and business students (not just those students with experience in environmental science). The goal of this program is to ensure that future lawyers and business leaders will be able to make "informed decisions" about issues which effect the coastal environment.

The development of the program, initial survey and focus group results, essential elements of the program design, evaluation of pilot presentations and plans for pilot-year testing in schools across the country will be discussed.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Information

Minding the Coast: It's Everybody's Business 283-287 (1998)


Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Conference of the Coastal Society held on July 12-15, 1998 at the College of William & Mary.