WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- Associate professor of politics Phil Brick, Whitman College, has been awarded the Environmental Education Association of Washington’s 2003-2004 Formal Educator’s Award.
The EEAW is a statewide organization that provides a network for educators, businesses, governments and communities committed to lifelong education that promotes appreciation and understanding of the environment, bridges cultural and economic differences and engages citizens in active involvement and community decision-making.
Brick, who joined the Whitman faculty in 1990 and received the Robert Y. Fluno Award for Distinguished Teaching in Social Sciences in 2000, is a highly regarded teacher, author and researcher. “His teaching is at the intersection of two of Whitman’s most successful programs, politics and environmental studies,” said Dean of Faculty Pat Keef in his letter of recommendation to the EEAW. Brick is well known at Whitman for leading his classes on field trips to such areas as Wallowa County, Oregon and northern Nevada. Many alumni still refer to these trips as “epiphanies” in their lives and careers.
Brick’s innovative program “Semester in the West” took its inaugural flight in the fall of 2002, and will go again this fall (2004). In this semester-long field experience, Brick arranges for his students to learn from a wide variety of environmental activists in the Northwest as well as farmers, ranchers and loggers while taking coursework in environmental sciences, social sciences and humanities. Students, who went into the semester with a set of assumptions, returned with a greater knowledge and respect for the many sides to the region’s environmental dilemmas.
According to one student, “Semester in the West, a three-month travel through 11 western states with 22 students and four professors, combining traditional academics with experiential learning in the fields of ecology, politics and writing….turned into an unparalleled learning experience. Those three months on the road were life changing. They threw my assumptions back in my face, broadened my perspectives, and worked me academically with an intensity that I had never before experienced…and professor Brick was always there, engaging each and every one of us every day.”
Brick has also written and edited several highly regarded pieces on environmental politics in the west, including “Across the Great Divide: Explorations in Collaborative Conservation and the American West,” and “A Wolf in the Garden: The Land Rights Movement and the New Environmental Debate.” He is a recognized leader in development of curricula in environmental politics, as evidenced by his forthcoming article “The Greening of Political Science?” a requested summary of trends in political science.
Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156