Minor in Conservation Leadership

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  1. Overview
  2. Program Structure
  3. Learning Outcomes
  4. Elective Courses
  5. Internships
  6. Announcements
  7. Rationale

The Interdisciplinary Minor in Conservation Leadership focuses on conservation solutions in the context of our quickly changing planet. A goal of this new program is to develop the next generation of conservation leaders with the ability to critically review underlying paradigms and to initiate paradigm shifts where they are needed to address the challenges of sea level rise and climate change in conservation roles, such as in local, state and federal agency and non-profit sectors. The core of this 15 credit minor is built around two courses on Adaptation Studies and Sustainability Leadership. The Sustainability Leadership course is a Service Learning (SL) course that requires travel for fieldwork. Two additional courses are electives, which can be selected across disciplines to suit a wide-range of conservation interests. An internship is the capstone of this minor.

The Minor requires fifteen (15) credits, which are distributed over five 3-credits courses:
  • I. Core Courses
    • IDS466W Mitigation and Adaptation Studies
    • IDS467W Sustainability Leadership
  • II. Electives
    • Two elective Courses (for details see below)
  • III. Internship
    • IDS 368 Internship in Conservation Leadership (for details see below)

Graduates of this interdisciplinary minor will understand uncertainties in projection of climate and sea level and be able to develop foresight. They will possess the ability to identify assumptions and paradigms that are the basis of decision making, and to initiate shifts in those paradigms if needed, using a systems approach to address the complex challenges posed by climate change and sea level rise.


The electives should be selected to extend the leadership-focused contents of the core courses. SL indicates that the course is a service learning course.

  • BIOL 311 Global Change Biology
  • BIOL 404 Conservation Biology
  • GEOG 305 World Resources
  • GEOG 419 Spatial Analysis of Coastal Environments
  • ENVH 301 Environmental Health
  • HLSC 405 Interprofessional Study Abroad on Global Health (SL)
  • PRTS 405 Outdoor Recreation
  • PRTS 433 Camp Administration
  • PRTS 406 Outdoor Leadership & Environmental Education
  • OEAS 310 Global Earth Systems
  • PAS 300 Foundations of Public Service
  • PAS 301 Ethics, Governance and Accountability (SL)
  • PAS 409 Leadership and Cultural Competence
  • PAS 411 Multi-Sector Partnerships for Public Service
  • POLS 335 Environmental Politics
  • POLS 401 Global Environmental Policy
  • POLS 455 The Politics of Climate Change
  • PHIL 344E Environmental Ethics
  • WMST 395 Women, the Environment and Climate Change

The intership will be within the course IDS 368. Students who want to register for this course first need to contact the instructors Eddie Hill (ehill at, Tatyana Lobova (tlobova at and Hans-Peter Plag (hpplag at To submit an inquiry, please fill in the Internship Inquiry Form and send it together with a resume/CV all three instructors.

The intership requires to work for 200 hours at a host institution. Host institutions are preferably at different facilities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Opportunities are at local facilities and facilities distributed throughout the country. Part-time options may be available for those students who cannot work a fulltime 40-hour week. First opportunities for internships are available for the July-August 2017 session.

Prerequisite for the internship is a successful participation in the two mandatory courses with grades equal to or better than B.

Each intership requires an individual application to ensure that the student is matched to requirements of a particular internship. A form and questionnaire for the application will be available here in the near future. After submission of the application, an interview will be scheduled with the advisors to ensure that there is an optimal match between the host, project, location, etc. and the students interests and qualifications.

The internship will focus on a "real-world issue" that constitutes a leadership challenge in conservation. The student is expected to use the concepts of adaptation science to analyse the issue and to develop options of how to address the issue. The student will be mentored in the context of IDS 368 and will have a dedicated supervisor at the host institution. Weekly reports and weekly skype conversations of mentor and student will ensure that the mentor can provide guidance and support the student, if needed.

The deliverables of the internship include:

  • An initial one-pager describing the project in a wording for non-experts.
  • A final report providing details on the issue, including the hazards, vulnerability, foresight, decision making, options, and recommendations.
  • A one-page executive summary of the project and the resulting recommendations in a wording for non-experts.
  • A short story on the experience of the internship and the personal value this experience has.
  • A YouTube video providing a concise overview of the project and its outcomes. Examples of such videos can seen at the CDIP YouTube page.

There will be financial support for the internship, including travel costs, lodging, per diem for food, and insurance fees. The availability of funding is depending on economic needs and academic standing. A GPA of 3.0 is required to be eligible for funding. A form to request financial support will be made available here in the near future.


Interested in this minor? Please contact:
Dr. Tatyana Lobova,
Department of Biological Sciences, Interdisciplinary Minor Coordinator, tlobova at


The two mandatory courses for the Minor in Conservation Leadership are available in Spring 2017 and the first session in the Summer 2017 term:

  • BIOL/OEAS 466: Mitigation and Adaptation Studies; see course page for details. This course will be offered in Spring Terms and will be flagged as a W course.
  • BIOL 496/OEAS 495: Sustainability Leadership; see course page for details. This course will be offered in the future as 467W in Summer sessions 1 and also will be flagged as SL course.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visited ODU to inform students about job and internship opportunities.


A minor in Conservation Leadership with a strong service-learning component has the potential to help spread knowledge about conservation issues to students across campus, and will offer opportunities to engage in service-learning projects that address key conservation issues. There is a growing need to educate a workforce that can lead the design and implementation of adaptive conservation programs that are resilient with respect to the impacts on natural resources of climate change and sea level rise. Leadership in conservation is particularly challenged by the need to review underlying paradigms and to initiate paradigm shifts where needed. The interdisciplinary minor in Conservation Leadership seeks to provide students with a greater depth of experience and understanding of the role that integrated natural science and social science can play in developing conservation policy, especially under the circumstances of a changing climate and environment. This interdisciplinary minor offers an integrated approach to managing natural resources from a coupled human-ecological perspective, and addresses the diverse biological, physical, social, economic, and political aspects of natural resources management, community resilience, and stewardship.

This interdisciplinary minor in Conservation Leadership was developed by Old Dominion University in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service as part of a long-term, sustainable program of conservation-related service-learning, internships and leadership programs. The minor in Conservation Leadership facilitates the development of the next generation of professionals who can address conservation issues and challenges posed by a changing climate and sea level rise.

Students who could benefit from adding the Minor to their portfolio include but are not limited to Biology (Wetland Biology and Biotech), Chemistry, Oceanography (Biological, Chemical, Geological, Physical), Civil and Environmental Engineering, Earth Science Education, Economics, Environmental Health, Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies (Professional Writing, Work & Professional Studies), International Studies, Leadership, Management, Marine Biology, Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies, Political and Legal Studies, Political Science, Print and Photo Media, Public Health.