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Sustainability Studies Current Courses

Current and Upcoming Sustainability Classes


Fall 2014 Courses

SUS 101-01 ● Principles of Sustainability

Professor Chrissy Petitpas ● MWF 11:00-11:50 AM

3 credits. This course provides an introduction to the fundamental principles of sustainability. We will examine what it means to live and work “sustainably” from the local to the global level, and we will approach these issues from a wide variety of perspectives, including philosophy, policy, economics, sociology, literature, and natural science. No prior knowledge of anything is required! Prerequisites: None. University Studies: 4C.


SUS 202-01 ● Topics in Sustainability: Fair Trade & Sustainable Development—Looking Behind the Label

Professor Lisa Maya Knauer ● Wednesday 3:00-5:30

3 credits. Nowadays, a lot of businesses, even multinational conglomerates like Walmart and Starbucks, highlight their commitment to "fair trade" and "sustainable development." But what does that really mean? How does the sale of products that are marketed to U.S. and other "first world" consumers as "fair trade" really benefit coffee farmers in Uganda, weavers in Guatemala, or girls in Pakistan? This class will critically examine the discourse, ideology and practice of fair trade and sustainable development. We will explore some case studies in depth, and students will carry out their own hands-on research, investigating specific products, brands, companies or initiatives. Prerequisites: None. Gen Ed:  E or G.  University Studies: 4A.


ANT/SOC 334 ● Food, Feast, and Famine

Professor Isabel Rodrigues ● TuTh 2:00-3:15 PM (Section 01) or TuTh 3:30-4:45 PM (Section 02)

3 credits. Throughout human evolution, knowledge about food gathering, food production, and food choices have been an inherent part of individual and cultural sustainability.  Food has always mediated cultural, political, and economic transactions. Paradoxically, while food production has increased dramatically in the last decades, the common citizen is largely ignorant about food systems. Furthermore, food insecurity remains a reality in both the industrialized and non-industrialized worlds. This course addresses these paradoxes as well as the role of food in both sustaining and undermining social and cultural identities. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

ANT/SOC 386-01 ● Sustainability in Action

Professor Rachel Kulick ● Wednesday 3:00-5:50

3 credits. This course centers on the frequently, and wildly used terms, "sustainability" and "resiliency" to explore how individuals, groups, and larger communities are actively attempting to create more ecologically, socially, culturally, and economically sustainable systems.  We will pay special attention to the ways that groups attempt to foster justice, equity, and respect for diverse cultures in their everyday practices.  We will look to a variety of media to critically examine expressions of sustainable practices across a wide spectrum including permaculture, urban farming, transition town initiatives, gift economies, and localist movements.  In addition, there will be a hands on dimension through which the class will identify and work on a sustainable action project on campus. Prerequisite: SOC 101 or ANT 111 or SOC 113 or ANT 113 or permission of instructor.


ATR 123-01 ● Styling the Apocalypse

Professor Deborah Carlson ● Friday 9:00 AM-2:50 PM (this is not a typo)

3 credits. Exploration of the human hand as an essential tool. In order to discover the potential of scavenged materials, an apocalypse narrative will be presented where students develop basic skills, learning to meet fundamental needs of shelter, clothing, food gathering, water, tool making and community. The exchange of knowledge as it exists in the evolving Craft practices of ceramics, fiber, metals, and wood will be explored. Prerequisite: None.


BIO 112-01 ● The Ocean Environment

Professor Jefferson Turner ● MWF 8:00-8:50 AM

3 credits. The study of the ocean environment as an integrated ecosystem: the biology of marine organisms and the related physical, chemical, and geological processes of the sea with attention given to the exploitation of marine resources and pollution. Not offered for credit to Biology majors. Prerequisites: None. Gen Ed: S. University Studies: 2A


CHM 130 ● Chemistry and the Environment

MWF 1:00-1:50 or MWF 3:00-3:50

3 credits. Available to anyone in the university, this course provides substantial treatment, with demonstrations, of the chemistry involved in consumer concerns (food additives, medicines, detergents, etc.), air and water pollution, elementary biochemistry, and the general question of power generation and utilization (fuel cells, solar energy conversion, nuclear energy, etc.). No knowledge of chemistry is assumed, but it is hoped the student will have had high school chemistry or its equivalent. Prerequisites: None. Gen Ed: S. University Studies: 2A


ECO 337-01 ●  Environmental Economics

Professor Sarah Cosgrove ● TuTh 2:00-3:15

3 credits. This course will study the fascinating and growing field of environmental and natural resource economics. All the topics covered (e.g., property rights and externalities, regulation and pollution control) will be examined as part of the general focus on the problem of economic growth in the presence of limited environmental and natural resources. We will employ the tools from basic microeconomic theory to study the relationship between the economy and the natural environment. Prerequisite: ECO 231.


ENL 357-01 ● Special Topics in Rhetorical Studies: Environmental Communication

Professor Jerry Blitefield ● MWF 1:00-1:50

3 credits. This course will examine the various ways individuals and groups communicate about the environment for public understanding. Much of our focus will attend to the strategies environmental activists deploy to craft messages for increasing membership and public support. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor (jblitefield).


FIA 223-01 ● Nature Drawing I

Professor Alma Davenport ● MW 3:30-6:15

3 credits. In this class, you will learn to draw based on direct observation of flowers, plants, and other natural forms. Black and white media are used in Nature Drawing I. Prerequisite: None. Gen Ed: C


FIA 224-01 ● Nature Drawing II

Professor Alma Davenport ● TuTh 12:30-3:15

3 credits. In this class, you will learn to draw based on direct observation of flowers, plants, and other natural forms. Color media are used in Nature Drawing II. Prerequisite: None. Gen Ed: C


MAR 110-01 ● Natural Hazards and the Ocean

Professor Daniel MacDonald ● TuTh 2:00-3:15

3 credits. Natural Hazards & the Ocean is intended to educate students about the roles of the oceans in such natural hazards as hurricanes, earthquakes, global warming, and tsunamis. The course will address student curiosity about these ocean-related hazards, by presenting a conceptual understanding of the relevant underlying ocean-atmosphere, and earth mediated mechanisms. The students will be presented in lecture and through their readings about how the application of the scientific method (a) overturned historical Misunderstandings of Earth geology; (b) explains the far-reaching effects of ocean storm generated waves; (c) relates deep ocean earthquakes to tsunamis; and (d) relates how dust from the North African deserts is related to hurricane generation. Prerequisites: None. Gen Ed: S. University Studies: 2A


MGT 312 ● The Legal Framework of Business

Professor Richard Golen ● TuTh 8:00-9:15 or TuTh 9:30-10:45

Instructor TBA ● Monday 6:30-9:30 or Wednesday 6:30-9:30

3 credits. The highlights of law school in one semester, plus highlights of sustainable business. Topics related to sustainability include: corporations, law-making, how agencies regulate, and how liability is established when people are hurt. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and declared Sustainability Studies minor. Gen Ed: E. 


PHY 162-01 ● Science, Technology, & Society: The Environment

Professor John Silva ● TuTh 12:30-1:45

3 credits. This course studies current environmental issues and their relations to technological choices. For example, air and water quality are examined in relation to the use of various renewable and non-renewable energy resources. The course is non-mathematical. Prerequisites: None. Gen Ed: E, S, or G.

PHY 171-01 ● Planet Earth I

Professor John Silva ● TuTh 3:30-4:45

3 credits. A course for non-science majors covering Earth's origin and history; composition and structure of its interior, crust, oceans, and atmosphere; plate tectonics and sea floor spreading; seismology, vulcanism and earthquakes; Earth's magnetism; forces shaping Earth's surface, faults and folds, erosion, sedimentation and weathering; and Earth's materials, such as soil, minerals and ores, and igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Prerequisites: None. Gen Ed: S.


PSC 384-01 ● International Law & Organization

Professor Rose Horton ● MWF 2:00-2:50

3 credits. The world today is plagued by a host of problems that are difficult to address without international cooperation: violent conflict, widespread human rights abuses, environmental degradation, infectious disease, and persistent poverty, to name but a few. Yet we live on a planet with no overarching world government capable of providing authoritative solutions to these problems. Instead, international action is limited by the willingness of individual countries to cooperate with one another, and by their ability to control what goes on within their respective borders. We will explore the resulting patchwork quilt of international rules and organizations as they pertain to international security, economic globalization, and climate change. Prerequisite: PSC 161 or permission of instructor. Gen Ed: G.


SOC 381-01 ● Social Impact of Science & Technology 

Professor Yale Magrass ● MWF 11:00-11:50

3 credits. It would almost impossible to deny that science and its close cousin, technology, are among the most powerful forces shaping modern social life. The word science itself means knowledge and indeed much of modern Western culture virtually equates science with truth. Closely akin to science is technology. Almost all the conveniences of modern life can be attributed to technology, at least in part; however, this same technology has also scattered families and communities, displaced people, concentrated enormous control into relatively few hands, produced weapons of mass destruction, and may destroy the very natural environment upon which life depends. By examining some of the history, philosophy, and sociology of science and technology, the students can assess their role in government, business, and society. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing.