The Design Process (ENDS 101)
In January 2011, students from multiple disciplines spent two weeks in a creativity and innovation class known as Environmental Design (ENDS) 101. Dr. Vanegas, Dean of the College of Architecture, leads ENDS 101, a course intended to teach students how the design and creativity process can play an important role in their future careers. The Soltis Center provides an immersive learning environment that allows students to build close-knit teams that work in a collaborative nature that only living in close quarters can provide.
This course introduces students to fundamental concepts of creativity and problem solving through creative thinking, humor and creativity, convergent and divergent thinking, and cultural influences on problem solving.
ENDS 101 emphasizes the production of knowledge, given that all assignments require each student to produce knowledge rather than reproduce knowledge, both individually and in teams; to think holistically; and to reach his or her potential creative talent. In addition, the course encourages students to develop their leadership skills, to enhance their written and oral communications skills, and to cultivate an entrepreneur spirit. Students learn how to conduct patent searches, and to develop prior work collections (i.e., drivers, ingredients, and precedents) for all of their creations. Finally, students are made aware of how future theory, studies, trends, influences, and singularity, will possibly affect career choices in a global context.
Water management (WERC-ENG)
Newly, Dr T. Cahill (Civil Engineering) led a group of students of Civil Engineering to Soltis Center. Like with the previous year, through classes and field work, students were introduced to the environmental engineering and hydrology, applying and solving directly in the field engineering problems and challenges. Equally, during this Study Abroad Program that starts in Panama, students were also exposed to local cultural and educational activities.
Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLAC)
This is the first TAMU Faculty led course (Dr D. Baumgardner) on Tropical Ecology to visit the Center. The primary objective of the course was to provide field-based experience of tropical ecology, including energy flow, nutrient cycling, and plant-animal interactions, among others. Students were required to come up with a research project and a written technical report about their findings. Read More
Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communications
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Study abroad program confirmed for January 2011. Students participating in this study abroad course will experience first-hand practices and principles of technological change in the international and rural environment of Costa Rica. The content delivery will include field trips to Arenal Volcano National Park, Hot Springs, Ecologic Farm, Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, Rio Celeste Waterfall, Monteverde Cloud Forest, and Coffee Plantations for the application of innovative change strategies. Read more
College of Geosciences
This program started in 2008 and has been ongoing. It was one of the first academic programs to take place at the Soltis Center with the leadership of Dr. Doug Sherman, Department Head of Geography. When Assistant Professors of Geography Chris Houser and Steve Quiring first learned of a proposed research and education center in the Costa Rican rainforest, they saw the potential to teach students about Physical Geography in a unique and dynamic natural laboratory. Physical Geography is a field-based discipline and students are best served by a field experience that introduces the core concepts of climate, hydrology, geomorphology, etc. in a natural setting that is removed from the abstractions and simplifications of the classroom. Few locations in the world pose as many interesting opportunities and diversity of physical environments as the Soltis Center for Research and Education in central Costa Rica. The diversity of the landscape and the processes within it provide a wide range of topics that students can directly experience. Read more
College of Architecture
The first course of the program was held in January 2009. Twenty freshman students traveled to Costa Rica, leb by Dean Vanegas and Dr. Elton Abbott. A one week design studio was held at the center in May 2009. Read More
College of Engineering
The College of Engineering offers a course that focuses on water quality assessment in natural environmental systems, the occurrence, distribution and properties of natural water and measurement and engineering analysis. Students study in Panama for three weeks and then travel to Costa Rica for three weeks. In June 2009, 20 undergraduate students traveled to the Soltis Center for Research and Education for a practical course on water management. Read More
College of Education and Human Development
The Lohman Learning Community began an English as a Second Language (ESL) program for the local school children. The program was designed for freshmen to get a taste of study abroad and experience a different culture early in the program. In addition to the English classes, the program is designed so students collect used books through the semester and donate them to local school in San Isidro. The group was lead by Dr. Edie Cassel. The first year of the program was initiated in January 2009. Twenty freshman students traveled to Costa Rica. This group collected more than 500 pounds of books that they donated to the local school to start an English library.