Using IECA Student Membership as a Classroom Tool: The Experiment Begins

Stephen Depoe's picture

Fellow IECA members:  Greetings from Cincinnati.  Tomorrow, I will begin teaching my Fall Semester undergraduate course in Environmental Communication (a 4000-level or senior-level course that is dual-listed in Environmental Studies) at the University of Cincinnati.  I will have around 50 students enrolled in the two courses combined.

I am requiring students enrolled in the class to join IECA as student members (cost of $60) as part of the class.  This amount is at or below cost of most textbooks.  I am also requiring purchase of Cox & Pezzullo's ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE, 4th Ed. (2016), one of a number of good textbooks out there.

Why am I requiring student membership in IECA?  I think membership will provide students with lots of value (journal subscription, EC list, database, access to member list, access to COCE proceedings and videos, etc.).  I am also presenting the IECA membership as important to an understanding of what it takes to become an environmental communication professional, whether in academia, the governmental or non-profit sectors, or even in corporate life.

I am asking IECA members to be generous with your time if one of my students reaches out to you to ask a question about your career or your interest in environmental communication.  And, if you are willing to volunteer some time to participate in a skype call or chat room related to my course, please contact me off list at

I will post updates during the semester about how our class is going.  My students, as IECA members, will be able to read these as well.  Our Exec Director Mark Meisner has also created a special Forum section for my students and I to use during the coming weeks.

Finally--I ask you to consider using IECA membership as a classroom tool in your own undergraduate or graduate classes in future semesters, and to think about how our professional association can become more active in the educational process of college-aged students, and perhaps K-12 teachers and students as well.  If you are interested in trying this approach, comment on this post and let's start sharing ideas.

I am hopeful that my Bearcat classroom experiment will go well, and will open the door to future educational ventures for the association, its members, and the next generation of environmental communicators.

Here we go!!