Grand Valley State University Faculty Led Program

US Faculty-led Programs with IISAC

‘Tropical Green School’, has developed several faculty led programs for US Universities in tropical biodiversity, environmental sciences, natural resources management and sustainable development in Kerala for students from USA and other countries. Professors and naturalists on Kerala in cooperation with US faculty members offer customized educational programs to discover the rich biodiversity of Kerala for variable academic credits

Grand Valley State University, Michigan, Sustainability Program in Kerala, India

Summer 2011
Open To All Majors, Gvsu & Non-Gvsu Students

Tell Me About This Program

This new six week faculty-led study abroad program is an incredible opportunity for students to evaluate the complex dynamics of sustainable resource management in our modern world of exponential population growth and increasing resource consumption. By learning about these issues in the context of India, students will gain a more global perspective on sustainability, will analyze aspects of resource management that are unique to India and those that are common with other nations, and will recognize the role of culture in the challenges and solutions of environmental issues. Students will live and study in the lush region of Kerala, one of the ten paradises in the world according to National Geographic and known for its stunning expansive tea fields. ( Students will combine field work with classroom instruction. The program will take a boat tour on one of the largest lakes in India, will visit a sacred grove as well as a bird sanctuary, rubber plantation, tea plantation, sandalwood forest and will engage local villagers in Tamil Nadu. In addition students will visit the Periyar Tiger Reserve and the Eravikulam National Park.

When Can I Go?

This six week program will take place during the spring semester (May 9-June 19), 2011. The program will begin on the GVSU campus for the first three weeks and then depart for Kerala, India for the last three weeks of the spring semester. Dates for travel to India are set for May 29- June 19.

Where Will I Live?

Housing will vary from dorms at the host institution to hotel accommodations and home stays.

Who Is Eligible To Participate?

This program is open to all majors. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required. A complete application must be submitted to the Padnos International Center, Grand Valley State University by February 1, 2011.

How Do I Apply?

To apply for this program, log on to to begin your online application. A complete application must be submitted to the Padnos International Center by February 1, 2011.

What Credits Will I Receive?

The students will register for a total of 6 credits

Nrm 380: Natural Resource Management: A Tropical Perspective

Three credits
Lectures: 3 weeks in Michigan
Field component: 3 weeks in Kerala, South India

Course Description

Increasing demands on natural resources by humans are significantly impacting the natural world. This course is designed to examine impacts and solutions to the problems arising from the overuse or misuse of natural resources in the context of Kerala, South India. This course integrates the study of biological and physical natural processes with the complex technological, social, political and economic processes of humans in order to obtain a better understanding of the role of humans in the natural world. We will begin with basic ecological concepts and population principles that are relevant to environmental issues. Then, we will examine the impacts of various human activities on resources and ecosystems with case studies related to resource depletion and environmental degradation.

Course Objectives

    Upon completing this course, students should be able to

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of ecological and natural resource management
  • Effectively articulate the problems of resource depletion and environmental degradation with relevant examples from temperate and tropical regions
  • Critique the effectiveness of current and proposed solutions to these problems

Prerequisites: None

ENS 380: Sustainable Communities – Culture and Ecology

Three credits
Lectures: 3 weeks in Michigan
Field Component: 3 weeks in Kerala, South India

Course Description

The concept of community is applicable to both biological ecosystems and human societies. In this course we will examine how these two types of communities have historically impacted one another and how current interactions influence our ability to build and maintain sustainable communities. Students will explore these global issues by comparing and contrasting selected ecological communities and their human counterparts in Michigan and Kerala. This exploration will involve both lecture and field experiences in India and Michigan.

Course Objectives

    Upon completing this course, students should be able to

  • Demonstrate an understanding of ecological, biodiversity and global sustainability concepts
  • Effectively articulate their understanding of the cultural and international dimensions of social and biological interactions
  • Explain the influence of physical environment, local history and culture on the environmental conditions of an area
  • Develop a plausible plan to address the current sustainability issues of a selected local ecological community examined in class.

Prerequisites: None

These credits may count towards a General Education Theme. To receive Theme credit you must develop and have your Theme proposal approved before you study abroad. Consult with the Padnos International Center for details about how to propose a Custom Study Abroad Theme.

The approximate fee for this program is $3,634


  • Round-trip transportation from Grand Rapids
  • Housing
  • All meals
  • Local excursions

Not included in the fee

  • GVSU Tuition (6 credits)
  • International Student I.D
  • Personal expenses
  • Passport fees/photos

Financial Aid

All students considering study abroad should have their financial aid reevaluated regardless of whether they are currently receiving federal aid. Additional need-based study abroad grants are also available to eligible students. Early application for financial aid is strongly recommended.


GVSU offers grants to be used specifically for faculty-led programs. These grants, which are approximately $500, are based on financial need only-academic or other criteria are not taken into consideration. All degree-seeking students accepted into a GVSU faculty-led program are automatically considered for the grant if they have a current FAFSA on file in the Financial Aid Office. No application required.

Who Can Tell Me More?

2011 Directors:

Prof. Shaily Menon
Grand Valley State University, MI
Biology Department

Prof. Erin Naegle
G    Grand Valley State University, MI
Biology Department

Prof. Sunny Luke
Tropical Green School