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M.S. Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

Course content

Since 1983, the Cultural and Environmental Resource Management (CERM) Master's Program has offered students an interdisciplinary, resource management curriculum drawing from Geography and Anthropology, as well as Biology, Economics, History, Philosophy, and Political Science. Natural and cultural resources intertwine in several ways. Understanding the multiplicity of resource issues is critically important to making defensible decisions at all levels.

Please note that the program name has recently changed from Resource Management (REM) but the old acronym is still in use for course numbers.

Central Washington University's interdisciplinary program leading to a Master of Science degree in Cultural and Environmental Resource Management offers two emphases: Cultural Resource Management and Natural Resource Management. Natural and cultural resources intertwine in several ways. First, natural resource exploitation triggers much of the human activity that creates cultural resources and current perceptions of cultural resources are modifying management of natural resources. Second, both areas are affected by a common framework of legislation, policy formulation, fiscal management and national and international systems. Understanding the multiplicity of resource issues is critically important to making defensible decisions at all levels.

In recognition of these interconnections, all students in the program take a common core of coursework, linking cultural and natural resources, as they pursue their more specialized interests. We believe that well prepared resource managers must be capable of understanding problems and opportunities associated with both cultural and natural resources. Program objectives include further qualifying students for management positions in resource fields and promoting wiser and more effective management of resources in the future.
Program Description
Overarching program goals include qualifying students for positions in resource fields, and promoting wiser and more effective management of resources in the future. Specifically, these include the following:

1) introduce students to a suite of resource management issues in natural, cultural, and economic contexts, and the role of a resource manager as an analyst and administrator;

2) examine the current status and perceptions of resource management, including the definitions of natural and cultural resources as well as resource management, systems, and conservation;

3) familiarize students with the historical background of resource management issues and conflicts, including related laws and policies;

4) expose students to various concepts, methods, and techniques commonly used in resource management to analyze and formulate policy choices from natural, cultural, and economic perspectives;

5) introduce students to integrated resource management with an interdisciplinary and holistic focus;

6) raise awareness of Native American and other cultural perspectives of resource management issues;

7) develop critical thinking, research, writing, and presentation skills in a resource management context.

The program is truly interdisciplinary, with roughly 60% of current incoming students interested in natural resource management (e.g., fisheries, river systems, wetlands, wildlife), 30% interested in CRM (e.g., CRM archaeology, historic preservation, museums), and 10% interested in some combination of these two (e.g., GIS and CRM, tribal sovereignty and reservation resources). A good way to understand the composition of our program is to look at the graduate student roster that indicates each student's research interests, and the list of completedthesis titles. For more information on the principal host departments, see geography at http://www.cwu.edu/geography/ and anthropology at http://www.cwu.edu/anthropology

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