Aug 15, 2020  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands Undergraduate Certificate

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The Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands (ESIL) certificate is an exciting educational opportunity at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), where Indigenous comprises the terms Native American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Hawaiian Native. The ESIL certificate provides a unique training opportunity for students to combine a passion for protecting natural resources with a desire to communicate across diverse cultures and schools of thought. This unique program provides training, internships, and job placement for students interested in environmental issues involving tribal and non-tribal entities.

The certificate is available to current CU Denver undergraduate students, post-baccalaureate students, and transfer students. While the certificate is open to students from all educational backgrounds, ESIL targets students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), with special emphasis on biology, civil engineering, and geography and environmental sciences. Accordingly, the ESIL certificate includes a broad and rigorous selection of STEM coursework.

Additionally, the ESIL certificate incorporates professional training through extracurricular activities and internships. The extracurricular activities provide students with culturally-relevant training in topics such as tribal sovereignty, environmental law, transcultural competency, and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). Both the STEM curriculum and these professional skills are applied during internships in which students practice facilitation as tribal liaisons with partner organizations including Indigenous tribes and government agencies (State and Federal).

These degree requirements are subject to periodic revision by the ESIL certificate advisors. Exceptions and substitutions for individual cases will be made by ESIL advisors only. Students in the ESIL program are required to meet with their assigned advisor before the start of each semester to confirm best plans of study.

The ESIL program is offered at the undergraduate level.

ESIL Academic Advisors

Program Delivery

This is an on-campus program, with an off-campus internship requirement.

Declaring This Certificate

Admission requirements: Students must officially enroll in the ESIL certificate program. Students eligible for the ESIL certificate (1) may have a previous STEM degree, (2) may be a current undergraduate student in biology, civil engineering, or geography and environmental sciences at CU Denver, or (3) may be a major in other academic disciplines willing and able to complete the coursework detailed below. All students are also required to complete any required course prerequisites.

Upon enrollment in the ESIL certificate program, students complete required coursework and one required internship as described below. Information on how to enroll in the ESIL certificate can be found at

Eligibility: While housed in the Departments of Integrative Biology, Civil Engineering, and Geography and Environmental Sciences, the training needed for a tribal liaison draws from diverse liberal arts and STEM fields. Thus, students in any discipline can enroll in the certificate as long as the certificate course prerequisites have been met.

General Requirements

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Program Requirements

  1. ESIL internships are designed to expose students to the professional practice of facilitation and offer important connections and networking opportunities directly with agencies who hire tribal liaisons. Assignment and completion of the internship must be pre-approved by an ESIL advisor. The ESIL certificate requires a written report and presentation to demonstrate proficiency for each internship. The ESIL certificate requires at least one internship through the ESIL program. Biology students may earn academic credit for their internship through BIOL 3939. Geography and environmental sciences students may earn academic credit for their internship through GEOG 3939.
  2. For students who are concurrently completing their degree in biology, civil engineering, or geography and environmental sciences, with proper curriculum planning at the start of the degree, these courses can be applied toward the degree, such that the ESIL certificate does not significantly increase the number of credit hours required for the baccalaureate degree. Students in these three majors should immediately and regularly work with an ESIL advisor for curriculum planning. Each course applied to the ESIL certificate may carry prerequisites that must be met prior to course enrollment.
  3. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA or above in certificate courses with no credit given for courses with grades below C-.
  4. Since a certificate is a CU Denver certification of a student’s specialized knowledge in an advanced subject area, a minimum of 12 credits are required to be taken in residency at the CU Denver.
  5. Students must be enrolled in one course per year to maintain active status in the certificate program.
  6. For the certificate recognition to appear on the student’s transcript, students must meet with an ESIL advisor no later than the start of the semester of graduation.

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