Sustainability course and research inventories
Sustainability in the curriculum workshops
Director of Sustainability Integration Jack Byrne and Professor of Environmental and Biosphere Studies Stephen Trombulak began leading annual workshops on integrating sustainability into the curriculum in 2009. Since then 30 faculty members representing more than 18 disciplines have participated, either developing new courses or integrating sustainability into an existing course. The workshop allows faculty members the opportunity to converse with their peers and discover how the concept of sustainability is relevant within their own discipline. To read more about the workshops and the courses that have come out of them, see the article on page 2 of the following edition of MiddPoints. Anyone interested in participating in future workshops should contact Jack Byrne or Stephen Trombulak.
Click on the titles below to view a course description and syllabus for some of the courses developed through the workshops.
Social Class and the Environment, ENVS 0210 Spring 2013, Spring 2014
Professor: Hector Vila
In this course we will explore the consequence of growth, technological development, and the evolution of ecological sacrifice zones. Texts will serve as the theoretical framework for in-the-field investigations, classroom work, and real-world experience. The Struggle for Environmental Justice outlines resistance models; Shadow Cities provides lessons from the squatters movement; Ben Hewitt's The Town that Food Saved describes economy of scale solutions, and David Owen's The Conundrum challenges environmentalism. Texts will guide discussions, serve as lenses for in-the-field investigations, and the basis for writing. We will also travel to Hardwick and Putney, Vermont, to explore new economic-environmental models.
Environmental Problems and Human Behavior, PSYC0401 Fall 2012
Professor: Michelle McCauley
Description: Eco-psychologists believe there is a synergistic relation between our personal well-being and that of the earth. Viewed through this lens, damaging the eco-system is self-destructive behavior. In this course we will examine: (1) the state of the environment, (2) what motivates people to engage in pro-environmental behaviors (or not), and (3) the extent to which our views of self and happiness relate to our attitudes and beliefs about nature and the environment. In order to examine these issues we will investigate psychology's role in consumerism, community, and pro-environmental behaviors such as recycling. By the end of the semester we should be able to offer, based on the psychological research, suggestions for changes we can make as individuals, and as a society, to help protect the environment. (Any three psychology, neuroscience, or environmental studies courses; open to junior and senior psychology, neuroscience, and environmental studies majors; open to education studies minors by waiver; others by waiver) 3 hrs. sem.
Global Health, SOAN0267, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2014
Professor: Svea Closser
Description: This course provides an introductory survey of the basic issues and initiatives in contemporary global public health, including in-depth case studies of public health projects in locales including Haiti, Venezuela, Brazil, Rwanda, and Pakistan. We will explore the political, socioeconomic, and cultural complexity of health problems, and critically examine the structure and methods of global public health institutions.
Human Ecology, SOAN0211, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013
Professor: Michael Sheridan
Description: Environmental issues are also cultural and political conflicts, between competing social groups, economic interests and cultural paradigms. This course introduces students to human ecology, the study of how our adaptations to the environment are mediated by cultural differences and political economy. Topics include: how ecological anthropology has evolved as a subdiscipline, with a focus on systems theory and political ecology; how ritually regulated societies manage resources; how rural communities deal with environmental deterioration; and how contradictions between environmental protection, economic development, and cultural values complicate so many ecological issues. Limited places available for students to satisfy the College writing requirement.
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Sustainable Television: Producing Environmental Media, FMMC0285, Spring 2011
Professor: Jason Mittell
Description: In this project-based course, we will collaborate to produce a nonfiction television program that addresses sustainability and environmental issues with the goal of showing the final program on local cable, online, and possibly on the PBS series Planet Forward. Students will collectively serve all roles in the project, from research and writing, to shooting and editing, creating a team-based environment, with screening and readings focused on the rhetoric of environmental media. Students will be selected by application to create a team with a range of experience and expertise. Prior video production or environmental studies experience is preferred but not required.
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Urban Economics, ECON0275, Spring 2011
Professor: Caitlin Knowles Myers
Description: How and why do cities form? Why do people live in the suburbs and commute to the Central Business District? Why do tech industries want to locate right next to each other in Silicon Valley? Are toll roads just there to annoy us, or is there some economic rationale for them? This course combines economic theory and empirical evidence to provide an overview of the forces beyond our spatial organization as well as a survey of urban problems relating to land use, traffic, housing, and racial segregation.
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Writing for Social Change, WRPR0201, Spring 2011
Professor: Catherine Wright
Description: This course explores the many choices we face as speakers and writers when communicating across race, gender, sexuality, religion, culture, class and ability. Drawing on works by W. E. B. Dubois, James Baldwin, Beverly Tatum, Paulo Freire, Dorothy Allison, Arundhati Roy, Amy Tan, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Desmund Tutu, and others, the class explores a range of genres and voices and examines patterns of domination and subordination in diverse cultural contexts. Students will learn strategies for both creative and critical writing and respond to formal and informal writing assignments. The class will hold occasional writing workshops, and final projects will provide opportunities for collaboration.
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