Naropa University and Environmental Studies

One thing I have been thinking about in recent months is the Environmental Studies program at Naropa University. In case you are wondering what doing this degree will entail, here is what Naropa University’s catalog has to say about the subject:

Core Courses

SUBTOTAL 30

Choose one field science course:

Choose one focus course:

TOTAL CREDITS 36

So, what’s the problem with the program? Here it is: very little of it actually trains you to be competent in the field of Environmental Studies. Most of it is philosophy and, at best, soft social sciences and no hard sciences are required.

True, there are philosophical and justice issues at play when talking about the environment. The thing is though, if you want to be influential in anything, you have to know what you are talking about and this is one of the weaknesses that Naropa University graduates seem to have. Geography, Geology, Biology, Chemistry – all of these things should be things that the Environmental activist has a working knowledge of and NONE of these things are effectively taught at Naropa University. Naropa University simply lacks laboratories to effectively teach Biology and Chemistry, they offer no programs in Geography or Geology and they do not even possess classes in Mathematics!

Their graduate degree in Environmental Studies is not much better. Take a look at what Naropa University requires for it’s MA in Environmental Leadership:

First year, fall

SUBTOTAL 9

First year, spring

SUBTOTAL 9

First year, summer

SUBTOTAL 3

Second year, fall

SUBTOTAL 9

Second year, spring

SUBTOTAL 9

TOTAL CREDITS 39

So, what did you see? I would like to point out two things, first of which is that “The New Science and It’s Cultural Applications” class that is required in this MA degree. Sounds interesting, but when you read the course description, you will find that they are not talking about science at all.

In a synthesis of the old and new visions in Western science, this course develops understanding of the new material emerging in science regarding the earth as a living system; examines cosmology and Gaian science, as well as key principles of geophysiology; and explores the significant cultural implications and applications. This material provides key tools and perspectives for environmental leaders as well as insights useful for working with organizations and communities. Required for EL MA.

Cosmology? Gaian science? Well, off hand, I know that cosmology is the study of the origins of this planet (hey, I have watched enough episodes of The Atheist Experience to know that much). But Gaian science? Well, the thing is that despite doing a Google search for the phrase, I have absolutely no idea what the hell Gaian science actually is.

Also, the other course that popped out at me was “MAR 500e: Authentic Leadership”. What this indicates to me is that this is a course offered by Naropa’s Marpa Centre for Business and Economics. Kinda like the Shambhala version of the Maharishi University of Management but less developed, less useful and just as cultish. But here’s the course description, just in case you are curious:

MARPA CENTER FOR BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS (MAR)

Naropa University’s Authentic Leadership program is a transformative leadership course that integrates ancient wisdom with effective modern approaches to management. The format encourages deep personal learning in an environment that makes it possible to assimilate ideas and concepts at an accelerated pace. Executive coaching with experienced professionals is a central component. Professionals with a wide variety of interests and experience attend this course along with Naropa students. Required for EL MA. Course fee.

A religious group offering management courses… sounds familiar, doesn’t it? What comes to mind when I hear that phrase are the Maharishi University for Management (read about this man who worked for the faculty saw some seriously crazy shit), the Hubbard College of Administration and World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (learn how this group is really a front to funnel people into the Church of $cientology).

Do yourself a favor and find an Environmental Studies degree that will allow you to be an effective leader in the field, instead of just another unemployed talking head of Shambhala International.

Naropa University Admissions… On Yahoo! Answers

Ah, it’s finals week and because of my intensive academic schedule (have to make up for all of the Naropa credits that did not transfer to my new school and would not have transferred to any other school, after all), I have been unable to finish up this website and keep the updates going that people reading this deserve. I have a lot of interesting updates and new inspiration to share with you, but it’s going to have to wait until finals are over and I can kick my feet up to relax a little.

Today, I saw an interesting update about Naropa in my e-mail inbox, Naropa University Admissions is now actively on Yahoo! Answers, trying to lure people into their scam. I received notification that a question was posted by a RN who wants to study contemplative psychology and, being the wolves that they are, Naropa University jumped at the chance for fresh meat. Here is the question and what Naropa University had to say to try to lure this woman into their scam.

Of course, I was there to tell her how it really was, so I made sure to do so.

I am afraid that I haven’t properly answered the question, whether there is another school like Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado – so I will answer that in another post. Either way, Naropa Admissions is now on Yahoo! Answers and I intend to make sure that they do not use this medium to lure in more people to waste their money on a Naropa degree.