Jul 19, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Salish Sea Studies

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Western Washington University resides at a nexus of complex geologies, ecologies, histories, and cultures: the Salish Sea. This Minor gives students an opportunity to develop a sense of place and a sense of responsibility for learning and caring for where they live. The place-based, experiential, and multidisciplinary Salish Sea Studies curriculum introduces students to the complex human-environment systems of our shared region. Composed of a core set of interdisciplinary courses and a set of electives spanning all colleges on campus, this Minor is designed to demonstrate that many ways of knowing are relevant and important for understanding the Salish Sea. 

The Salish Sea bioregion is an estuarine inland sea surrounded by snow-capped mountain ranges and rich in biodiversity. Freshwater lakes and glaciers filter through temperate rainforest into rivers that meet the saltwater and tides from the Pacific Ocean, filling the Puget Sound, Georgia Basin, and Strait of Juan de Fuca. The name “Salish Sea” reflects the long history of Straits and Coast Salish peoples, who have deep and abiding relationships with the lands and waters of this region since time immemorial. Over the past two centuries, the Canada-US border and each nation’s governance structures have cut across this waterscape and intersected with Indigenous nations’ laws and governance systems in myriad ways. Millions of people from around the world have moved to the region’s cities and rural areas. This industrial-scale population growth, combined with extractive resource economies and global climate change, create myriad challenges for the health of this region and all who live here. 


The Salish Sea Studies program invites students to build meaningful connections across borders, disciplines, and systems to bring to life a healthy and just future for the Salish Sea.


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


MARY TUTI BAKER, Assistant Professor, Comparative Indigenous Studies, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Canadian-American Studies. Indigenous politics and future studies, Kanaka Maoli values and practice, politics of decolonization. 
NATALIE BALOY, Associate Director, Transboundary Initiatives. Interdisciplinary inquiry, research ethics, settler colonialism, regional history.
DOLORES CALDERON, Associate Professor, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Coloniality, land education, Indigenous epistemologies, and border issues in education.
JOSH CERRETTI, Associate Professor, History and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Sexuality, race, and gender in modern US history. 
LEE GULYAS, Senior Instructor, English. Creative writing, literary nonfiction and journalism, empire and colonialism through literature. 
MARCO HATCH, Associate Professor, Environmental Science. Marine ecology, clam gardens, 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.
JAMES MILLER, Assistant Professor, Comparative Indigenous Studies, Environmental Studies, Canadian-American Studies. Indigenous design knowledge, transboundary placemaking, architecture and planning.    
DEREK MOSCATO, Associate Professor, Journalism. Cross-border media systems, public relations, pipelines.
JENNIFER SELTZ, Associate Professor, History. History of the Pacific Northwest, environmental history.
NICK STANGER, Associate 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, Associate 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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