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Sustainability & Energy Applications


Course Descriptions

SES 1123 – Introduction to Sustainability – 3 credit hours

This is a transdisciplinary course open to all majors that examines the interrelated environmental, economic, and social problems facing humanity at local, regional, and global scales. It introduces students to the principles, ideas, and practices of sustainability as an academic discipline. Students will spend the semester exploring aspects of sustainability that include ecological principles, sustaining natural resources and biodiversity, and sustaining human societies. It is taught through lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, field trips, and invited speakers. Course rotation: Fall.

SES 2123 – Global Energy Development – 3 credit hours

This is a cross-disciplinary course open to all majors. The course critically examines issues associated with the geopolitical aspects of energy and sustainability. The course will take a comprehensive look at all ten recognized energy sources in various countries around the world. The course is taught through lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, and student-lead workshops. Course rotation: Fall.

SES 2223 – Environmental Justice – 3 credit hours

This course will examine historical and contemporary sociopolitical and socioeconomic conditions, from the local to the global, that have given rise to the environmental justice movement. Various approaches to environmental ethics will also be explored, including anthropocentrism, extensionist, holistic, animal liberation, rights of nature, Gaia-Centrism (The Land Ethic), and the Biophilia hypothesis. This course will be an investigation of the disproportionate burdens of environmental contamination and about the health disparities affecting certain communities across the globe. Students will also analyze how we as individuals have consciously or unconsciously contributed to environmental justice or injustice as well as ethics through everyday decisions and behaviors. Prerequisite: SES 1123 or instructor’s permission. Course rotation: Spring.

SES 3123 – Environmental Education – 3 credit hours

This environmental education course is designed to prepare students to implement environmental education opportunities in formal and non-formal education settings. Topics include history and philosophy of environmental education, curriculum integration, and environmental education teaching methodologies. Students can become certified in Project WET, Project WILD, Project Learning Tree (PLT), Project Leopold, and Project Underground. Course rotation: Spring.

SES 3323 – Topics in Sustainability & Environmental Studies – 3 credit hours

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of technical thinking and problem-solving skill applications in a project-based learning environment. Emphasis and application will be on the presentation and discussion of relevant concepts, issues, and current events in sustainability and environmental studies. This course may be repeated for credit as long as topic changes. Prerequisite: SES 1123 or instructor’s permission. Course rotation: Varies.

SES 3423 – Solid Waste Management & Recycling – 3 credit hours

This course covers the principles, current policies, and practices of integrated solid waste management. Course topics will provide an overview of municipal solid waste, industrial waste, and hazardous waste management and of the need for creating better waste management systems in society. Increasing resource scarcity and environmental pressures are the key drivers for moving toward better waste management systems and technologies that will help society limit its impacts on Earth. This class will provide an overview of the current and emerging national and global policy agendas and waste technologies. Concepts such as waste prevention, circular economy, urban mining, up-cycling, and crate2cradle will also be discussed in the course. Students will also take an in-depth look at local recycling practices within the global concept. Course rotation: Fall.

SES 3623 – Sustainable Agriculture – 3 credit hours

This course is designed as an introduction to the concepts and principles associated with sustainable agriculture. Students will explore environmental, economic, and social considerations of sustainability in agroecosystems. The course will review a brief history of agriculture from its original inception, to the Green Revolution in the mid-1900s, to the current push for sustainability in its various forms. Emphasis will be placed on the contrast between properties of natural ecosystems, sustainable agroecosystems, and conventional agroecosystems. Students will explore various strategies of sustainable agriculture and alternative farming including regenerative agriculture, permaculture, organic farming, biodynamic farming, biological farming (eco-agriculture), nature farming, no-till farming, as well as agroforestry farming methods. Course rotation: Alternate fall.

SES 4223 – Sustainable Natural Resource Management – 3 credit hours

This course will prepare students for activities in the conservation and/or improvement of natural resources including both renewable resources such as soil, forests, water, and wildlife, and nonrenewable resources such as oil, metals and minerals. Course topics will emphasize principles of ecosystems stewardship and resilience-based natural resource management in a changing world. Practical and sustainable solutions from a social, economic, cultural, ethical, and environmental perspective will be utilized. Students will evaluate different methods of balancing these sometimes competing interests in order to manage resources sustainably. The course aims to examine global natural resource issues and international collaborative efforts to address them, through the lens of sustainable development. *A course trip could involve an overnight stay. Prerequisites: SES 1123 and SES 3123 or instructor’s permission. Course rotation: Spring.

SES 4323 – Research Methods in Sustainability & Environmental Studies – 3 credit hours

The course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the diverse research methods used in the social sciences in general and in sustainability in particular. The overarching goal of the course is to provide students with the analytical skills necessary to engage and assess the sustainability of coupled human and environmental systems and to communicate their findings effectively. Through a combination of lectures and class discussions on research methods, several readings of scientific articles that use mixed methods, and practice using various research methods for data collection in class, students will learn to design and apply mixed methods research tools. Prerequisites: SES 1123, SES 2223, and SES 4223 or instructor’s permission. Course rotation: Fall.

SES 4924 – Sustainability & Environmental Studies Senior Capstone – 4 credit hours

The goal of this course is to provide a culminating experience where students apply the knowledge, skills, and methods acquired through their studies to the mastery of a sustainability topic of their choosing. Students will work independently to discover fully the science, technology, economics, and politics underlying the topic chosen. They will identify stakeholders, engage with others, form their own well-supported opinion, and seek opportunities to participate publicly. The arc of the project includes a rigorous and in-depth examination of the issue, development of a well-articulated position on the issue, and an in-person presentation. Prerequisites: SES 4323 and senior standing in the major or instructor’s permission. Course rotation: Spring.

SES PN03 – Sustainability Internship – 3 credit hours

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to work in the sustainability and/or environmental studies sector for the semester. It will provide them with valuable experiences, the opportunity to apply knowledge gained from previous courses and the competence to apply adaptive changes in lifestyles. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing in the major and instructor’s permission. Course rotation: All semesters, including summer.