Jun 08, 2023  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Salish Sea Studies

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Ginny Broadhurst, Director

The place-based and multidisciplinary Salish Sea Studies curriculum introduces students to the complex ecologies and human experiences of the Salish Sea region. The Salish Sea includes the Georgia Basin, Puget Sound, the San Juan and Gulf Islands archipelago, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As an international body of water, the Salish Sea is governed by federal, state, provincial, municipal, and treaty laws and regulations. The name of this transboundary sea reflects the long history of the Coast Salish peoples who have lived on the shores of the Salish Sea since time immemorial. Over eight million people now share this landscape with a diverse ecosystem, including orca whales, the giant Pacific octopus, five species of salmon, herring, puffins, kelp, sea stars, and cedar trees. Many species are threatened and endangered due to human impacts on the ecoregion.

Salish Sea Studies offers students a unique opportunity to understand transboundary governance structures and tribal sovereignty in the context of the greater ecosystem. Developing a deep knowledge of this place from environmental, cultural, and historical perspectives will prepare students to work collaboratively across multiple jurisdictions, sectors, and perspectives in a range of professions, including in public service and government, industry, and nonprofit organizations. Salish Sea Studies offers a place-based complement to other majors and minors, including environmental science and policy, marine sciences, international business, anthropology, history, political science, communications, and education.

“We spend a tremendous amount of time training new employees on the complex cultural, environmental, social and economic systems of the Puget Sound. Job applicants would have a real competitive advantage if they came to us with the kind of knowledge and insight provided by WWU’s Salish Sea Studies program.” – Sheida Sahandy, former Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency leading the recovery of Puget Sound.


The Salish Sea Studies program develops students’ sense of place by deepening knowledge about the local ecoregion’s complex ecologies and human systems. The program prepares students to work collaboratively across international borders and academic disciplines, to understand tribal treaties and sovereignty, and to improve the health of the Salish Sea for future generations.


(This is a partial and evolving list – faculty from across campus teach courses in the minor.)

NATALIE BALOY, Associate Director, Transboundary Initiatives. Interdisciplinary inquiry, research ethics, settler colonialism, regional history.
GINNY BROADHURST, Director, Salish Sea Institute. Environmental stewardship, transboundary engagement, and Salish Sea ecosystem health.
DOLORES CALDERON, Associate Professor, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Coloniality, land education, Indigenous epistemologies, and border issues in education.
LEE GULYAS, Senior Instructor, English. Creative writing, literary nonfiction and journalism, Vancouver. 
MARCO HATCH, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science. Marine ecology, clam gardens, Coast Salish knowledge systems, ecocultural restoration. 
JAMES HELFIELD, Associate Professor, Environmental Science. Rivers and riparian forests, habitat and ecology of Pacific salmon.
ROBIN KODNER, Associate Professor, Biology. Marine biology, algae, citizen science.
ANNA LEES, Assistant Professor, Elementary Education. Early childhood education, community-based education.
JAMES LOUCKY, Professor, Anthropology. North American borderlands, cultural anthropology, migration.
BROOKE LOVE, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science. Ocean acidification, hydrothermal systems, ocean chemistry. 
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, Associate Professor, Environmental Science. Wildlife ecology and conservation, population biology, field-based learning. 
DEREK MOSCATO, Assistant Professor, Journalism. Cross-border media systems, public relations, pipelines.
DAVID ROSSITER, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies. Historical geographies of colonialism, politics of land and resources in British Columbia. 
JENNIFER SELTZ, Associate Professor, History. History of the Pacific Northwest, environmental history.
DAVID SHULL, Professor, Environmental Science. Oceanography, coastal ecosystems, benthic organisms, eelgrass. 
NICK STANGER, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies. Environmental education in Canada and the Salish Sea.
JOHN TUXILL, Associate Professor, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Ethnobotany, ethnobotany, conservation biology, sustainability.
THERESA WARBURTON, Assistant Professor, English. Indigenous literatures of the Pacific. 


    Undergraduate Minor


      Salish Sea Studies

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

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