ENVIRONMENT STUDIES IN INSTITUTES OF HIGHER LEARNING
Courses and programs on environmental subjects are offered at each of Israel’s universities thus assuring a pool of professionals and researchers capable of environmental problem-solving and able to influence policy and decision making at all levels. Today, universities in Israel offer a variety of options for environmentally-related bachelors’, masters’ and doctoral degrees.
Special efforts are currently being invested in helping retrain new immigrants, most from the former Soviet Union, for environmental careers. The Ministry of the Environment, in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, has organized a retraining course for dozens of immigrant professionals. Over a third have already been absorbed into the work force in the realms of environment, geology and geophysics. These and other retraining programs, along with the academic education provided at each of Israel’s universities, help meet the need for training scientists, engineers, planners, and other environmentalists.
Following is a brief description of the environmental programs currently being offered in Israel’s principal institutes of higher learning. Research activities undertaken by these universities are surveyed in the Environmental Research chapter of this publication.
The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (established in 1924 in Haifa) offers environmental studies within the framework of several faculties, including:
* The Department of Civil Engineering, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Division, offers two required undergraduate courses in environmental engineering. Elective courses deal with various aspects of environmental protection including water, wastewater, air pollution and solid waste management. On the graduate level, two graduate programs are offered: environmental engineering and environmental quality sciences.
* The Faculty of Agricultural Engineering , which deals with the management of open systems, fields and watersheds, incorporates environmental planning into the curriculum. The faculty offers an introductory course on environmental management as well as more advanced courses on soil and water pollution, wastewater reuse, salinity, aquatic systems, etc.
* The Department of Chemical Engineering offers both undergraduate and graduate courses on environmental problems in chemical engineering, environmental hazards and safety in chemical industries, and catalytic and biocatalytic processes of pollutant purification. During the upcoming academic year (1994/5), a graduate course will be offered on environmental impact analysis (e.g. pollutant sources, waste minimization, fate of chemical pollutants dispersed in the environment, exposure and risk assessments, risk reduction strategies).
* The Department of Chemistry currently offers an undergraduate and a graduate course on environmental chemistry and is planning an additional course for next year.
* The Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning integrates environmental issues in each of its degree programs in architecture, landscape architecture and urban and regional planning. The faculty offers over 20 courses dealing with the environment, from the micro spaces within built-up structures to macro land-use management on the national level.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (established in 1925) offers a wide variety of environmental studies within the framework of most departments. The university grants degrees in environmental studies in the following faculties:
* The Division of Environmental Sciences in the School of Applied Science is a graduate program founded in 1972. It includes five major areas of teaching and research: water pollution control and treatment technology, air resources quality management, industrial hygiene, environmental health and environmental chemistry. Over 30 diverse courses are included in the curriculum for an M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences, covering every aspect of environmental protection from environmental toxicology to industrial waste treatment, from environmental acoustics and noise control to environmental administration and urban and regional planning.
* The Department of Geography in the Faculty of the Humanities offers a masters’ program in environmental management, planning and policy.
* The Life Sciences Institute in the Faculty of Life Sciences offers a masters’ program in environmental biology with courses ranging from microbial ecology to ecological genetics to ecosystem and landscape ecology.
* The Unit for Agriculture and the Environment in the Faculty of Agriculture offers a program in agriculture and the environment.
* Environmental courses are also offered in the Department of Medical Ecology of the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, in the Institute for Marine Biological Research in Eilat, in the Center for the Study and Management of Environment at the Faculty of Sciences, in the Law Department and in the Institute for Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
* A new bachelors’ program in environmental studies will be inaugurated next year (1994/5).
The Weizmann Institute of Science (established in 1934 in Rehovot) is a recognized post-graduate center for research in the sciences. It offers the following graduate courses in environmental sciences: probabilistic methods for fractured and heterogeneous rock groundwater hydrology; atmospheric chemistry; and geochronology with radioactive isotopes.
Bar Ilan University (established in 1955 in Ramat Gan) offers a number of environmental courses, most within the context of the Department Of Geography. Courses include: Jewish approaches to spatial organization as manifested, inter alia, in Jewish sources; introduction to ecology; climatology of air and environmental pollution; environment and development; site preservation and internal tourism; and an environmental seminar on select environmental issues including lectures and research projects,on water pollution, solid waste and recycling, pest control, sewage, nature protection, environmental communication, etc.
Tel Aviv University (established in 1956) is Israel’s largest university. Environmental courses are offered in the following faculties:
* The Faculty of Life Sciences offers environmental studies in the departments of zoology, botany, biochemistry and molecular microbiology and biotechnology with 50 courses ranging in subject from environmental bioindicators to the ecology of water pollution, from use of bacteria to treat environmental pollution to the ecophysiology of plants. A new M.Sc. program in Ecology and Environmental Quality is now being offered (from 1994) within the framework of the Faculty of Life Sciences. Required courses will fall into four categories: ecological systems and energy flow, microbial ecology, biometry and environmental protection.
* The Faculty of Engineering offers courses in the technology of environmental quality.
* The Humanities Faculty offers environmental studies within the framework of the Geography Department. Courses focus on the relationship of socio-spatial processes to environmental problems.
* The Faculty of Exact Sciences offers environmental studies in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences and in the School of Chemistry. Subjects relate to global climate and atmospheric-ecological interactions.
* Additional environmental courses are offered in the Faculty of Social Sciences and in the Faculty of Law.
* The Super-Center for Environmental and Ecological Studies inaugurated in May 1994, is affiliated with numerous faculties and institutes within the university.
The University of Haifa (established in 1963) offers environmental studies in several faculties:
* The Center for Maritime Studies, within the framework of the Graduate Department of Maritime Civilizations, offers undergraduate and graduate courses on the environmental aspects of general oceanography, marine fauna and flora in the Mediterranean and marine biogeography. On the graduate level, courses on the marine ecology of the Gulf of Eilat are offered as well as a graduate seminar in oceanography and marine resources and an interdisciplinary graduate seminar.
* The Institute of Evolution offers undergraduate courses on ecology and society, flora in Israel, research problems in evolutionary biology and experimental ecology of temporary pools. A Ph.D. program in evolutionary biology and ecology has been proposed.
* The Department of Economics offers undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental economics, natural resource economics, cost- benefit analysis and applied welfare economics.
* The Department of General Studies offers an undergraduate study unit in environmental studies as well as a wide variety of courses spanning the following: introduction to ecology, environmental law, economic aspects of environmental problems, environmental planning, and environmental health.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (established in 1967 in Beersheba) offers environmental studies in four academic departments:
* The Department of Chemical Engineering has proposed a bachelors’ program specializing in environmental engineering and is currently preparing a masters’ program in environmental studies.
* The Department of Geography offers a B.A. program specializing in environmental studies.
* The Department of Geology offers a B.A. program specializing in environmental geology.
* The Department of Life Sciences offers an M.A. program in ecology.
Students in all the above departments may attend a university seminar on environmental issues with topics ranging from the greenhouse effect to groundwater and air pollution. An interdepartmental teaching committee on environmental studies is being formed to assist in the planning of interdisciplinary syllabi for masters’ degrees. A bachelors’ degree program on the environment will be considered at a later date.
An integral part of the university is the Institute for Desert Research
(Sde Boker campus) which serves as a national center for research on the desert. Within the framework of the Jacob Blaustein Graduate Program for Desert Studies, the Mitrani Center for Desert Ecology conducts a series of graduate courses on theoretical and experimental aspects of desert ecology for Israeli and foreign graduate students. The program includes topics in physiological ecology, behavioral ecology, population and community ecology, habitat selection and its implications for community ecology, and ecosystem and landscape ecology.
The Israel Institute for Biological Research, by special arrangement with Israel’s academic institutions, accepts graduate students for M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. The Institute is oriented toward research, development and production in the fields of biology, chemistry, ecology and public health.
Regional colleges, situated mainly in non-urban areas, offer academic courses under the auspices of one of the universities. Several of these colleges and seminaries offer environmental studies. A notable example is the Tel Hai Rodman Regional College, founded in 1957 in the Upper Galilee. In 1993, the college inaugurated its School of Sciences and Technology which includes three departments: biotechnology, electronics and environmental sciences. The environmental program focuses on natural, life and earth sciences in the first two years and on environmental management, prevention and treatment of environmental nuisances, and agriculture and biotechnology in the third year.