ESRM Land Use Goes Service Learning

Land Use: Old Class, New Format

Our university is embedded in our local community; our students come here from local communities; our graduates return to these communities. Understanding the relationships between communities, their people, lands, and laws is a critical component in the ESRM portfolio. In light of our local students and local focus, we are reenvisioning ESRM 464, our Land Use Planning & Open Space Management course, to more directly integrate our students’ learning into their local communities.

The new course format for “Land Use” puts service learning front and center. Service-learning is a way of teaching and learning that links course content to “real-life” experiences that center around a community need or issue. Through reflection activities students are given the opportunity to understand what they learned and experienced, and how the community benefited. For a course exploring the theory, policy, and process behind contemporary land management, expanding to include the practical application in our local communities is a logical step. Through the service-learning model, teams of upper division students will work with community partners over the course of the fall semester on projects that combine course learning objectives with on-the-ground needs of the partner organization. This approach will enable students to generate a better understanding of land management in practice, to develop professional skills, and to draw on their learning to aid local organizations. And it will deepen ESRM’s already well-developed roots in our surrounding community.

This summer, Professor Dan Reineman, along with colleagues in the CSUCI Center for Community Engagement, will be actively courting community organizations to partner with our Land Use students. We will be seeking out partners from different levels of government agencies as well as not-for-profit organizations and businesses. The ultimate goal for this project is to find an issue for the students to research, analyze, and ultimately generate deep insight about, that will directly benefit the organization and, by extension, our communities.

If you are interesting in learning more, would like to partner with our students, or know an organization who might, please contact Dan Reineman (

CSUCI student contemplates the long-term impacts of grazing management on Santa Rosa Island

CSUCI student contemplates the long-term impacts of grazing management on Santa Rosa Island. Photo Dan Reineman 2017

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