WWU Launches New Multidisciplinary Minor in Salish Sea Studies

Western Washington University has just launched its new minor in Salish Sea Studies, with a multidisciplinary curriculum spanning all seven of the university’s colleges.

The Salish Sea Studies program develops students’ sense of place by deepening knowledge about the complex ecologies and human experiences of our shared ecoregion. Students will learn how the international Salish Sea is governed by the US, Canada, and over 60 sovereign Tribes and First Nations. 

“This minor gives students an opportunity to fall in love with this special place, the Salish Sea, and to learn about its past and start caring for its future,” said Natalie Baloy, WWU associate director of Transboundary Initiatives and chair of the Salish Sea Studies curriculum committee.

Developing a deep knowledge of the Salish Sea region from environmental, cultural, and historical perspectives will prepare students to work collaboratively across multiple jurisdictions and perspectives in a range of professions, including in public service, government, industry, and nonprofit organizations, to improve the health of the Salish Sea for future generations.

“The core course in the minor is SALI 201: Introduction to the Salish Sea, a general undergraduate requirement that was offered as a pilot course in Spring 2019. The introductory course is highly interdisciplinary and experiential, with field trips and assignments that connect the natural and social sciences, humanities, and Indigenous ways of knowing,” said Baloy.

The classes that form the minor come from such diverse departments across campus as Anthropology, Art and Art History, English, Environmental Science and Environmental Studies, Canadian-American Studies, Economics, Communication Studies, Biology, and History.

“We couldn’t have done this without strong enthusiasm from faculty across campus,” said Ginny Broadhurst, director of Western’s Salish Sea Institute.

For more information about the new Salish Sea Studies minor at Western, contact Natalie Baloy, WWU associate director of Transboundary Initiatives, at (360) 650-4871 or natalie.baloy@wwu.edu.