Rich Borden

Rich Borden
Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology
207-801-5722 |

Rich BordenRichard Borden teaches courses in environmental psychology, personality and social development, contemporary psychology, and the history and philosophy of human ecology. Rich has just returned to full-time teaching, having served as COA's Academic Dean for twenty years. He is a Past-President of the Society for Human Ecology and continues to serve as its Executive Director. His educational background includes a B.A. from the University of Texas; an M. A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Kent State University; and a University Post-Doctoral Fellowship in animal behavior and ecology at Ohio State University. An author of numerous books and articles, he has been a USIA academic specialist and consultant in the area of human ecology and served as an advisor to human ecology programs in China, Russia and elsewhere in Europe and in North and South America. In addition to his passion for networking human ecology worldwide, Rich also enjoys the more domestic pleasures of cooking, carpentry, music and sailing.

B.A. University of Texas, 1968
Ph.D. Psychology, Kent State University, 1972

Rich holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology
Rachel Carson revolutionized ecological thought and inspired the environmental movement. Her five books combined lyric prose, solid scientific research, and reverence for life and the natural world. In 1962 Carson�s book Silent Spring brought to public attention for the first time the harmful environmental consequences of widespread pesticide use, and she withstood public attack to call for new public policies to protect human health and the environment. Biologist, ecologist, writer, and public citizen, Rachel Carson inspired new directions in environmental thinking � thinking that forms the cornerstone of a College of the Atlantic education.

Courses Taught

HS2019Community Planning and Decision Making

Albert Einstein once observed that "no problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.  We must learn to see the world anew".  If Einstein's idea is accurate about how humans understand the universe, it is likewise true of how we plan and manage our relationships with the environment.  One of the primary aims of human ecology is to explore new ways to envision human environment relations.  Within its integrative perspective, scientific knowledge and human aesthetics can be combined in ways that enrich human communities as well as value and protect the rest of the living world.  The purpose of this course is to provide students with a foundation of theory and practical skills in ecological policy and community planning.  A broad range of ideas and methodologies will be explored.  Using real examples of current issues - such as sprawl, smart growth, gateway communities, watershed based regional planning, land trusts, and alternative transportation systems.  We will be joined by the actual leaders of these changes locally and state wide in Maine.  We will also examine emerging methodologies that emphasize participatory planning, community capacity-building, and empowering marginalized groups.  These models and ideas will be further compared with prominent approaches and case studies from elsewhere around the country. As a part of current ideas about community planning and policy, the course also introduces small group collaboration techniques, and the use of computers to enhance complex decision processes.  A field component will take advantage of varied external opportunities - including town meetings, conferences, and public events.  Evaluations will be based on class participation, several short research papers, and end of term small group projects.

Level:  Introductory/Intermediate.  Class limit: 20.  Lab Fee: $40.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS4014Contemporary Psychology: Body, Mind and Soul

This course explores current  theories, research and ideas in psychology.  The core themes of 'body', 'mind' and 'soul' all have a long history of psychological inquiry associated with them.  Yet they are every bit as vital and important today.   Some of the most influential authors in the field continue to struggle with these classical philosophical questions --- and with ways to incorporate state-of-the-art research on them.  In this class, we will read and discuss at least one major new book on each theme.  Ideas from these perspectives will be compared, contrasted and critiqued.  In the final portion of the class, we will look especially at ways in which all three themes can be integrated -- not only in academic psychology -- but within our own experience.  Evaluations will be based on careful reading of all materials, class participation, a series of short papers, and an end-of-term presentation and final paper in each student's area of personal interest.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced.  Prerequisite: Some background in psychology.  Lab Fee: $25.  Class limit 15.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS4016Ecology and Experience

Ecology is sometimes considered a "subversive" subject:  the more humans learn about the living world, the more we are challenged to re-examine many of our fundamental beliefs.  According to this perspective, ecology provides a complex mirror for humans.  In its reflection we glimpse a different understanding of our place in the world.  Age-old concerns return to consciousness:  questions about insight and responsibility, the relation of spirit and matter, issues of meaning, purpose, and identity.  In short, the science of ecology has given birth to an entirely new approach to psychology.  The purpose of this course is to examine a cross-section of new ideas along this interface.  Some ideas will draw on clues from deep in our evolutionary past.  Other questions will explore what we know from ecology about living more fully in the present - or ways that ecology can enrich our imagination of the future.  Readings for this class will be drawn from primary sources in a variety of fields with a pivotal focus on the relationships of mind and nature.  The course will be taught in an interactive, seminar style with participants sharing summaries of the readings - individually and in teams.  Two short papers and one end-of-term longer paper are required.  Preference will be given to students with background or strong interests in psychology and/or ecology.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced.  Class limit: 15. Lab fee: $25.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HE1010Human Ecology Core Course

Human Ecology is the interdisciplinary study of the relationships between humans and their natural and cultural environments.  The purpose of this course is to build a community of learners that explores the question of human ecology from the perspectives of the arts, humanities and sciences, both in and outside the classroom.  By the end of the course students should be familiar with how differently these three broad areas ask questions, pose solutions, and become inextricably intertwined when theoretical ideas are put into practice.  In the end, we want students to be better prepared to create your own human ecology degree through a more in depth exploration of the courses offered at College of the Atlantic.  We will approach this central goal through a series of directed readings and activities.

Level:  Introductory.  Lab fee: $25.  Meets the following degree requirements: HE

HS1022Human Relations: Principles and Practice

Antoine de Saint-Exupery - World War II French pilot and author of The Little Prince - once noted: "There is but one problem - the problem of human relations....There is no hope or joy except in human relations."  Beneath this sanguine notion, however, dwells a complex web of ideas and questions.  The purpose of this team-taught course is to explore these underlying issues from two different, but overlapping, perspectives.  On the one hand, we will review foundational theories and research from intra-psychic, social and organizational psychology - emphasizing topic areas such as attitude theory and change, social influence, group dynamics, conflict resolution and leadership.  On the other hand, we will simultaneously draw on real-world case studies from business and organizational management.  The emphasis here will be on issues of personnel assessment and management, market performance, negotiation, crisis management and the role self-knowledge in the "inside game" of commercial enterprise.  Connections between these two realms will be drawn via class discussions, presentations from the instructors, and selected visitors with significant backgrounds from a range of organizational, business and government settings.  Lessons derived from failure events and the 'cost of not knowing' will be investigated, as well as examples from models of successful human relations experiences.  The overall aim of the class will be guided by the ideals and practices of: the psychologist Abraham Maslow, who advised "The best way to see everything is to consider the whole darn thing" and Steve Jobs - founder and CEO of Apple - who expressed his success succinctly as "It was small teams of great people doing wonderful things".  Student evaluations will be based on multiple criteria, including class participation, several individual papers and research reports and contribution to team projects.
Level: Introductory.  Lab Fee:  $40.  Class limit: 15.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS2012Personality and Social Development

This course, part of the education sequence, provides a theoretical and practical look at the emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioral development of humans.  It covers the full life span of human development with some special concentration on school-age children.  Topics of prenatal development and personality disorders are also presented.  In addition, the course focuses on several of the more popular learning, social-learning, and educational theories.  During the first part of the course, readings are selected from original sources and discussed (e.g. Erikson, Freud, Adler, Gilligan).  Later the discussions become directed more toward specific social and development issues (e.g. sex roles, the family, education, personal growth, death and dying).  Participation in the discussions and three papers are required.  Offered every year.

Level: Introductory.  Prerequisites: none.  Class limit: 15. Meets the following degree requirements: HS, ED

HS2052Popular Psychology

Humans have an inherent need to make sense of their lives.  Their search may be simply to improve everyday experience or it may involve a life-long quest for  meaning and wisdom.  Nonetheless, in every age, they have found written advice to address these perennial needs: ranging from the Bhagavad-Gita and the Bible, through Marcus Aurelieus' Meditations and Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance AF to the ever-popular, self-help book.  In the past half-century of the New York Times' Best Sellers List, there has usually been one or more popular psychology books on the list.  Hundreds of millions have been sold and read.  Some focus on how to improve relationships, raise children, or build wealth; others promise ways to discover happiness, expand memory, or find a deeper self. Their authors may be serious scholars, well-known psychologists, insightful leaders, or shallow self promoters.  The purpose of this course is to critically examine the literature of popular psychology: to explore why people are or are not so drawn to this literary genre and to analyze its deeper psychological significance.  A further goal is to evaluate how and when they do work or why they don't.  These questions will be guided by an in depth evaluation of the implicit structure of each book, as well as a comparative  mapping of it within the theories and methods of professional psychology.  In order to investigate a broad cross-section of styles and themes, we begin with several 'classic' popular books as a common foundation.  Thereafter, we move on to more varied approaches within small groups and individually.  Evaluations will be based on participation in class discussions, several short papers, shared book reviews, and final paper comparing popular and academic psychology.

Level: Introductory/Intermediate.  Class Limit: 15.  Lab fee: $25  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS4010Seminar in Human Ecology

This seminar traces the historical development of human ecology.  We begin by reviewing the seminal works in human ecology, the contributions from biology, and the development of human ecology as a multidisciplinary concept.  Along these lines we compare the various brands of human ecology that have developed through sociology (the Chicago school), anthropology and cultural ecology, ecological psychology, and economics, as well as human ecological themes in the humanities, architecture, design, and planning.  This background is then used to compare the COA brand of Human Ecology with other programs in this country and elsewhere around the world.  Our final purpose is to look at new ideas coming from philosophy, the humanities, biological ecology, and other areas for future possibilities for human ecology.  Evaluations are based on presentations and papers.  Advanced.  Open only to third and fourth level students.  Offered every other year.  Class size limited to 15. Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS782Tutorial: Advanced Seminar in Human Ecology

The purpose of this tutorial is to review the many uses of the term ?human ecology?. It begins with an historical review of the academic and intellectual origins of human ecology. From these foundations, we proceed through the development of more interdisciplinary approaches to human ecology --- working with primary source materials (e.g., books, articles, position papers, academic program descriptions and related documents). We will further explore the activities of various regional, national and international associations and the aims of leading educational institutions. Assignments and discussions will revolve around several current problems that face human ecology. In particular, we will focus on: various theoretical controversies within and between biological and human ecology; issues and proposed methods of inter-disciplinary problem-solving, planning and application; and the growth of professional opportunities in human ecology worldwide. Evaluations will be based on careful reading and review of assigned materials, participation in discussions, individual papers and a collaborative group project. Level: Advanced; Permission of instructor required; Class limit: 3 Permission of instructor required.

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