Commissioned Assignments in Environmental Policy

By Pearce, Joshua M.; Russill, Chris | Academic Exchange Quarterly, Spring 2006 | Go to article overview

Commissioned Assignments in Environmental Policy


Pearce, Joshua M., Russill, Chris, Academic Exchange Quarterly


Abstract

This paper outlines the communication process surrounding a commissioned assignment in an upper-level technical writing class. The commissioned assignment reflects the new interdisciplinary model of technical communication for environmental policy embodied in contemporary international environmental agreements, particularly the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. The resultant environmental policy report demonstrates that the commissioned assignment process is an effective and innovative form of experiential/service-learning. This process teaches technical communication, integrates different disciplinary backgrounds to teach environmental policy, and addresses important social problems through university institutions.

Introduction

The environmental challenges facing contemporary society are foreboding with perhaps the most serious threat coming from dangerous anthropogenic (human caused) interference with the climate system (Hansen, et al., 2005). Addressing these challenges requires not only more up-to-date knowledge of environmental problems and technical solutions, but new models for solving problems through education, policy and communication. In this respect, schools and universities have the opportunity and responsibility to lead society toward environmentally sustainable policies and practices (Uhl and Anderson 2001). Yet, most universities remain wedded to conventional models of education, policy and technical communication that constrain the powerful tools they offer for addressing environmental problems (Pearce and Russill, 2005). In particular, the ability of university students to impact environmental policy in meaningful ways and solve real world problems is often ignored (Pearce and Russill, 2003). Although precedents do exist for developing in-class and service learning assignments to address local environmental challenges, such as recycling (Gerth and Wilson, 1986); logging, tree planting, and "litterless lunches" (Fallis, 1991); land use and lake restoration (Gannon and Fairchild, 1983); greening university buildings (Pearce and Russill, 2003); and water safety (Ostroff, 1996), few address issues of environmental policy more generally. This paper outlines a technical communication process using commissioned assignments and experiential learning methods to develop a new model for teaching and involving students in environmental policy.

Background

Global climate change is among the most difficult of a new kind of environmental problem: those characterized by uncertainty, complexity and consequences spanning vast geographical and generational domains. Such challenges are no longer easily perceptible, regionally delimited, or politically tractable in the way environmental issues were in the 1970s and 1980s, nor are these older policy approaches able to address contemporary phenomena adequately (Grove-White, 2005, p. 21-22). International environmental agreements and policy tools have slowly developed to begin addressing this novel situation and, in this respect, the response to global climate change has provided an innovative approach for refiguring the relationship between technical expertise and public participation. In particular, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is responsible for providing quality scientific assessments on climate change through peer-review, is an innovative mechanism for scientific assessment by democratic consensus in service of global policy agreements (Agrawala, 1998). Still, we need to ask as Robin Grove-White (2005) does, "How well equipped are our public institutions--including our educational systems--for such developments? And more immediately, how well equipped are we as citizens for purposeful involvement in such processes of 'engagement'" (p. 23)?

To address global climate destabilization the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change called for the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations (UN, 1992). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Commissioned Assignments in Environmental Policy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.