Ben Franklin Scholars Course Design Grant Awarded

July 8, 2013

David Grazian, Associate Professor of Sociology, will receive a Ben Franklin Scholars (BFS) Course Design Grant for the seminar, Where the Wild Things Aren't: Zoos, Science Museums, and the Culture of Nature. According to Professor Grazian, the course has three goals: “First, we will be addressing issues of environmental sustainability by specifically exploring whether zoos and science museums are able to function as both centers of global conservation and institutions tasked with increasing public awareness and education about biodiversity, species and habitat preservation, and other vital environmental concerns. Second, students will be encouraged to learn through hands-on engagement in the community, specifically by exploring cultural attractions and other sites of public life in the city through active participant-observation. Third, my hope is that by engaging in this type of active and experiential learning, students will forge their own connections to the life of the city and the natural world in creative and imaginative ways.” Where the Wild Things Aren't is planned to be offered in Fall 2014.

Ben Franklin Scholars Course Design Grants are awarded to faculty for exceptional proposals for the development of new BFS seminars, including those that develop innovative approaches to sustainability. Peter Struck, the program Faculty Director, explained that David Grazian’s proposal was selected for funding because he “submitted a creative way to explore human’s understanding non-human creatures.  Since much of what we do to orient ourselves toward questions of sustainability requires a trans-human-centric perspective, this course promises to contribute to the deep tissue sort of work that is required to make advances in this area.”  

In Fall 2012, Eric Orts, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics and Management in Wharton, and Director of the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) led the BFS Seminar, Environmental Management Law and Policy. “I enjoyed teaching a pilot version of my Environmental Management seminar very much,” said Professor Orts.  “I found the BFS students extraordinarily engaged and committed.  Two of the best undergraduate papers that I’ve ever received were written in this class: one on eco-tourism in Costa Rica and another on marketing lessons for ‘meat substitutes.’  We experimented with a long-term writing project for which students shared research ideas and progress with the rest of the class and then honed the final product in response.” He added that he would teach the course again “in a heartbeat.  It’s a great addition to the larger Penn curriculum in sustainability.”

Read more about the Ben Franklin Scholars program


Penn’s ReThink Your Footprint Campaign increases awareness of waste minimization strategies including enhanced recycling and composting efforts.

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