Spring 2012

Natural Resource Policy Analysis
NRE 381, Spring Semester 2012

1. This class meets on Tuesday and Thursday, 8:00a.m. – 9:15p.m., Room 227, Charles Barnhart Bldg.

2. Instructor:      Dr. Craig Infanger                       Phone:  257-7274
                                                                                                Room 415, Barnhart Bldg.           E-mail:

    Class Assistant: Ms. Emily Woods (

3. Office Hours:  Monday-Wednesday, 9:30-10:30am or by appointment

4. Required text: Environmental Policy and Politics, Michael E. Kraft, Fifth Edition, Pearson-Longman. 2011 (get the 5th edition; copy on reserve in Ag Library)
    Supplementary Text: Playing God in Yellowstone, Alston Chase, Harcourt, 1987. (Can be purchased as a used book on the internet. Copy on reserve in the Ag Library)

                 textbook_1                     textbook_2

1. Students will be able to trace the development of environmental thought and describe how the terms “conservation,” “wilderness,” and “ecosystem science” have changed meaning in the last 150 years.

2. Students will be able to describe the natural resource and environmental policymaking process, differentiate between natural resource management agencies versus regulatory agencies, and explain the role of interest groups, administrative agencies, and the Congress in policymaking.

3. Students will be able to apply basic analytical concepts and tools to systematically analyze and evaluate the performance and consequences of natural resource and environmental policies in a case-specific examination of one federal or state policy with the research results presented in written and oral form.

1. The web page for NRE 381 at this URL:    This web page contains a copy of this syllabus, the assigned readings, and other materials related to the major sections of the class. This page has been designed to help link students with other materials related to the research assignments and lectures. In addition, some lecture materials may also be posted at this site. Announcements will appear on the opening page from time to time. Under the PEOPLE tab, there will be a list of the enrolled students with email addresses. This email may be used to communicate with individual students or the entire class, so make sure this is your currently used email address. If your email address changes, students are responsible for contacting the class assistant and updating their email. “I didn’t get the email,” is not an excuse.

2. The instructional format is readings, study assignments, lectures, class discussion and a semester-long case study in natural resource policy analysis, including an oral presentation before outside reviewers. Required reading assignments will be given from the assigned textbooks, other books, journals, and government reports or from material posted on the class web page or accessed on the WWW.  Students are expected to have reading assignments and study assignments completed in advance of class lectures. Regular class attendance and participation are expected but not mandatory.

3. A request for an excused absence should be made at least one class period before the absence is to occur.  Any exam or assignment missed because of an excused absence must be made up within one week of the due date.

4. Any student with a documented special need or access problem should talk to me on the first day of class so appropriate measures can be taken to address these concerns. For assistance, contact the Disability Resource Center, Room 2, Alumni Gym or contact Mr. Jacob Karnes (257-2754)

5. It is always a good idea to telephone my office before making a visit since I am often out of the office on trips to locations around the state.

6. Turn off cell phones and other electronic devices when entering class. During any examination or presentation, use of any device that will allow you to connect to any place outside the classroom will be considered cheating (e.g., cell phones, iPods, PDAs, Blackberries, or related devices).

7. Snow policy. Because this class is at 8:00am, it is vulnerable to cancellation if UK declares a snow or weather delay. Class cancellations are disruptive for everyone. So, if NRE 381 is cancelled due to a declared ‘snow day’ in January or February, there will be no class meeting but I will email the next Study Assignment and we will continue with the subject matter sequence as best we can.

8. Academic Grading. There will be 1000 total points possible. Students will be graded on study assignments (400 points maximum), class participation and discussion (50 points), a policy analysis project (350 points), and a mid-term examination (200 points). The oral presentation of the policy analysis assignment will be evaluated by classmates, the instructor, and a panel of outside reviewers. There will be no final examination. In grading the policy analysis project, these criteria will be applied:

--Careful and complete analysis of the assigned topic;
--Evidence of original research and creative thought;
--Application of appropriate analytical concepts and logical organization;
--Oral presentation and style; and
--Writing mechanics and usage.

The penalty for late completion of the policy analysis project will be -33%. Grades will be posted periodically on the class web page by PIN, for those students wanting online access to grades. Letter grades will be based on the following performance standards:

91%-100%        =          A
81%-90%          =          B
71%-80%          =          C
61%-70%          =          D
below 61%        =          E

For the oral discussion points, 25 points will be deducted each time a student is absent or unprepared to adequately respond to questions about the assigned readings, study assignment, or class discussion. Every student will be allowed to use one FREE PASS to restore 25 oral discussion points until we reach the project presentation stage. To use this Free Pass, cut it out, sign it and give it to Dr. Infanger at the next class session.


Bonus Points: Any NRE 381 student who gets a “Letter to the Editor” or “Op-Ed” article published in a print or online daily or weekly newspaper, relating natural resource or environmental policy issues will receive 20-35 bonus points, based upon the nature of the creative thought and persuasiveness of the arguments.
9. Study assignments will be used to encourage completion of assigned readings on time and reward students with notes which can be used during the in-class exams. Study assignments will be handed out in advance. Each assignment will be worth a specified number of points and the student’s score will depend on completeness and meeting the deadline. Missing or late study assignments will receive  -5 points each. The maximum total points to be earned on study assignments will be 400. All study assignments will be returned to students during the exams for consultation while writing the exam. Note: If you are reading this, congratulations for reading something more in my syllabus than the grading section! Come up to me on the first or second day of class and I’ll award you +5 Bonus Points. Keep quiet about it!
10. The writing assignments, the policy case study, and the mid-term examination are expected to be the products of your own investigation, thinking, and writing.  Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. This warning should be underscored for material obtained from the internet.  Some students have erroneously assumed that material on the internet is somehow “public domain” and can be re-typed or “copied and pasted” for submission as original work. For more detailed information about plagiarism, consult the Academic Ombud’s website ( Because the university has experienced serious problems, the University Senate took a stiff position on the penalties for academic offenses like cheating and plagiarism:

            If the offense is the student’s first, the instructor must impose a zero for the assignment; an additional penalty of extra work, reduced letter grade, or E/F in class may be imposed at the instructor’s discretion. If the penalty is less than E/F, a “letter of warning” creates a record of the minor offense. If the offense is particularly egregious and the Chair agrees, the instructor may recommend to the Dean that XE/XF be imposed.

January 12 – March 6: Elements of environmental thought, the concept and meanings of wilderness/conservation/ecosystem science, green thinking and environmental propaganda; overview of policymaking process, environmental v. natural agencies
March 8:  Mid-term exam
March 20 – March 29: Policy analysis and evaluation techniques
April 3- April 26:  Policy Analysis case study
April 19- 26: In-class Policy Analysis case study presentations
Thursday, May 3rd, 8:00am: Final Policy Analysis Memorandum due.
There will be no final exam.