Growing Field of Study

Many sustainability-related courses are being offered next semester

RKJ_0889-EA few weeks ago, I was assigned the task of looking through the entire course catalog and finding every single class related to sustainability. When I say sustainability, I am referring to three different yet interdependent aspects of it — environmental, economic and social — and I was really surprised by the variety of classes that I discovered.

In the art department, courses include Art 373: Book Arts during which students learn how to bind their own books, and Art 315: Craft of Old Master Drawing/Painting during which students learn how to create various antique mediums such as natural chalks and handmade paper.

The biology department offers a wide array of classes related to environmental sustainability. The first step to obtaining environmental sustainability is understanding how the environment works, and that’s why classes such as Bisc 322: General Ecology are great to take. This class allows students to gain a deeper understanding of ecosystems in order to fix some of the environmental problems that humans have caused.

I looked not only for classes such as ecology but also ones that conveyed a deeper understanding of the world, that allow students to get an inside view of some of the critical topics of sustainability outside the realm of environmental issues. These classes may spark ideas about changing the world to become a more sustainable place both economically and socially. Classes such as Econ 406: Natural Resource Economics; Engl 358: Power, Knowledge and Gender; PPL 360: Global Perspective, Issues and Policies; Anth 331: American Indians and the Natural World; and Soc 355: Sociology of Human Rights are on my list, just to name a few. The areas offering courses vary from political science, journalism, public policy, English, Southern studies, international studies and philosophy. To view the entire list we are working on, visit the Office of Sustainability’s website.

For anyone interested in deepening your understanding of sustainability and environmental issues, consider the environmental studies minor. The minor, directed by English professor Ann Fisher-Wirth, is designed to introduce students to an interdisciplinary approach to environmental concerns including viewpoints from the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. The program has been growing in popularity as more students discover this meaningful course of study. Visit to learn more.

I am so excited about scheduling my classes for next semester, and I am happy to announce that next semester’s course catalog on My Favorites is now open for viewing. I highly recommend checking out our list of sustainability courses or even just taking a deeper look at all of the courses available on the course catalog. I think students will be surprised by what they find.