2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
    Jul 01, 2022  
2017-2018 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sustainability Studies Minor

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Program Director: Dr. Richard Niesenbaum, Professor of Biology

Sustainability is most commonly defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  The field of Sustainability Studies explores and critiques ways to do this in the context of maintaining ecological and environmental health while generating economic opportunity and ensuring social justice and well-being.  The minor operates across disciplines with its goal of instilling understanding, appreciation, and thoughtful problem solving skills in students about the relationships and interactions of human society and the environment.  The Sustainability Studies Minor will highlight issues related to sustainability and explore how those issues impact and are addressed at local, national, and global levels.  This minor will provide the interdisciplinary background that is needed to understand many of the complex challenges facing our world and will equip students with the skills needed to develop solutions to these problems.  An additional goal is to build a community of faculty and students with a diversity of perspectives and areas of expertise committed to seeking creative solutions for sustainability.

Minor Requirements

Students take 6 courses from throughout the curriculum:  2 theory/representation courses, 2 sustainability in practice courses, 1 course focused at the community level, and 1 course focused on sustainable solutions related to specific problems or issues.

Sustainability: Theory and Representation

Courses primarily focus on theory, including basic science and social science, the representation of nature and sustainability, and environmental ethics and history.  They provide the framework and context for further work in Sustainability Studies.

Students take 2 courses listed below; one must be in the Sciences (BIO, CHM, ESC) and one must be from the Humanities or Social Sciences (ECN, ENG, HST, PHL, SOC).

Sustainability in Practice

Courses have an applied focus and offer a substantial research or service-learning component related to sustainability and the environment.  Although they may cover theoretical aspects, they are differentiated from the above group by providing both hands-on experience and more focus on the application of theory and basic science.

Students take two courses listed below from two different departments or programs.

Sustainable Communities

These courses examine sustainability at the community level.  They focus on analysis and problem solving by examining a variety of issues confronted by a particular community and offer opportunities to work with members of that community to understand and solve problems at the human-environment interface.

Students take 1 course.

Sustainable Solutions

Through a seminar or independent research, students focus on a particular issue or set of issues, such as energy, food, or sustainable design, and work towards the development of practical solutions.  The focus is on specific problems and solutions that might be applied to them on local, national, and global scales.  Students will study the issues and focus on design, data collection, dissemination and assessment related to solving the problem being analyzed.  The experience offers hands-on opportunities to engage in real world problem solving.

Students take one experience.

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