The ESIL certificate is an individually structured program dependent on the student’s major and prior academic experiences. As such, students do not move through structured coursework in cohorts. Because the ESIL certificate is closely linked with a student’s current or previous STEM degree, courses in the ESIL certificate program are courses in a variety of departments across colleges at the University, e.g., represented departments include biology, civil engineering, math, geography and environmental sciences, ethnic studies, political science, communication and business.

Students will demonstrate the following types of learning:

This is broadly defined as environmental contexts within STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and areas can vary. For example, in biology, a focus might be on the health of different biological systems (plants, animals, microorganisms) within the environment, while in civil engineering the emphasis might be on the infrastructure associated with environmental management. This learning will mostly take place in the classroom setting, noting that the courses will vary depending on the student’s specialty area.

In order to effectively represent Indigenous communities, students need to have a fundamental understanding of and appreciation for Indigenous culture, history, and values. This learning will mostly take place within the contexts of the ESIL internship (taken at any point during a student’s tenure at the University) and the ESIL workshops and seminars. ESIL internships are collaboratively designed among partners and will vary in content and type of experience (by design to meet individual student needs and discipline within the context of environmental sciences). Specific content of ESIL workshops and seminars will also vary depending on the presenter, although all workshops and seminars are designed to teach Indigenous cultural awareness. For example, previously offered workshops have addressed traditional ecological knowledge; tribal governance and sovereignty; and US law as it pertains to Native American Nations.

Liaisons need to communicate across professional and cultural belief systems. ESIL students need to learn how to cross-culturally communicate often through situations involving party disagreement and mistrust. Additionally, the identification of, response to, and management of environmental issues is heavily dependent on one’s ability to communicate with audiences with different perspectives and expectations. This learning will mostly take place through the ESIL internship and workshops and seminars. For example, previously offered workshops addressed facilitation; how to work for a federal agency; and how to align Indigenous cultural values with federal representation.

The ESIL certificate program offers opportunities for students to put their knowledge of these differences into practice in order to bridge the cultural perspectives. This learning will mostly take place during the ESIL internship where students will work with professional liaisons on environmental issues impacting Indigenous communities.

The mission of the ESIL program is to broaden participation of Indigenous students in STEM through education and community partnerships that promote healing and stewardship of Native land.