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"Now that I have learned in SUST 101 about issues and what the future could be like if changes aren’t made, I feel responsible to make changes in my lifestyle, and influence others to make similar changes. From now on I will look at things through a different lens, because I have been exposed to knowledge that few truly understand. I also believe the systems thinking used in class will help me benefit it the future by changing my perspective, making me think more holistically and keep me thinking about implications of all situations.”                -Philip Conway, Music, Class of 2015

Spring 2015 SUST courses

The following courses that fulfill requirements for the Sustainability Studies minor and/or core concentration appear on the Spring 2015 course schedule (which should be consulted here or via myRWU for updates):

AAH 423 Nature and Art
BIO 104 Biology II and Lab (ecology and evolution)
CHEM 202 Environmental Chemistry II and Lab
CNST 540 Sustainable Construction
ECON 320 Resource and Environmental Economics
ENG 110 Serpents, Swords and Symbols
ENGR 320 Environmental Engineering
ENGR 415 Water and Wastewater Treatment
NATSC 204 Principles of Oceanography
NATSC 401 Environmental Toxicology and Lab
POLSC 383 Environmenatl Politics and Policy
SUST 101 Intro. to Sust. Studies
SUST 401 Working toward Sustainability
WTNG 303 Environmental Rhetoric

 

Course descriptions

SUST 101 - Introduction to Sustainability Studies
Sustainability Studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines the interrelated environmental, economic and social problems facing humans at local, regional and global scales. This course provides an introductory survey of the concepts, principles and tools from diverse fields that contribute to understanding and responding to problems such as climate change, environmental degradation, and unequal distribution of limited resources. The course introduces perspectives from the natural and social sciences, arts and humanities, and professional disciplines and explores how valuing their interconnection increases the prospects for achieving a more sustainable future. Specific topics to be explored may include: quantitative systems thinking and analysis, principles of ecology, consumption patterns of energy and natural resources, the role of media in sustainability literacy, cultural sustainability, environmental politics, social justice, sustainable architecture and engineering, and the roles of the arts. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

SUST 301 - Analysis and Decision-Making for Sustainability
Prerequisite: SUST 101; MATH 117 or higher or consent of instructor.
This course focuses on understanding and applying various quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to issues within sustainability studies. It serves as the intermediate course in the SUST sequence for the sustainability studies minor.  Students will be introduced to techniques that can be employed to help solve sustainability related problems explored in SUST 101.  The course will investigate both quantitative and qualitative methodologies such as life-cycle analysis, analytical induction, and optimization. The goal of the course is for students to develop skills to utilize methodologies within the two categories in order to make analytical decisions that lead to more sustainable outcomes.  During the semester, students will be given opportunities to work with others in different disciplines to understand the interdisciplinary aspects related to technical, social, environmental, and economical issues in sustainability.  (3 credits)  Fall

SUST 401 - Working Toward Sustainability
Prerequisite - SUST 101; SUST 301 or consent of instructor
This course is the capstone in the SUST sequence for the sustainability studies minor.  During the first portion of the class, students will critically analyze a system or process which purports to be sustainable from environmental, economic and social science perspectives. The second half of the course focuses on working in interdisciplinary groups to identify and propose solutions to issues related to sustainability. (3 credits) Spring

Electives

ANTH 222 - Environmental Anthropology
Prerequisite: ANTH 100
Fulfills a course requirement in the Anthropology/Sociology Core Concentration.

Explores the principles through which non-human environments shape human cultures and cultures in turn affect their environments. Students will become familiar with how a range of societies comes into relation with their environments both through their material transformations of ecosystems and the ideological and symbolic frameworks through which peoples envision human-nature interactions. Topics will include traditional environmental knowledge, sustainable development, interspecies relations, environmental governance regimes, gender relations, and the global environmental movement. (3 credits) Alternate Fall

ARCH 101 – Foundations of Architecture
A classroom-based introduction to the nature of the architectural endeavor, and the means used to make architecture. Lectures and explorations of issues of public and private space, architectural composition, and the multiple responsibilities architects face in society in relation to a diversity of users and clients, the site, and the public realm will form the basis for classroom discussion, and written and graphic assignments. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

ARCH 321 – Site and Environment
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing
This course presents an overview inventory of all the factors/systems that may be encountered in any analysis of site conditions. The student will be presented with a general description of how each factor operates and procedures to maintain or improve the quality of the site environment. This course promotes a value system based upon the preservation of both natural and cultural ecology. Value and meaning flow from a concept of sustainability at all levels of cultural and environmental interaction. (3 credits) Fall

ARCH 461 – Introduction to Landscape Architecture
Prerequisites: ARCH 213, ARCH 321, and junior standing
Introduces the design process of landscape architecture and inventories the material used in landscape construction. Class lectures and simple design projects will review the scale of landscape design from intimate garden to urban streetscape and major recreation areas. The range of materials and construction detailed will be inventoried and related to appropriateness of use. (3 credits) Annually

ARCH 593 – Sustainable Paradigms
Prerequisites: Senior standing in B.S./ M.Arch. program
Sustainable Paradigms is a graduate architectural elective seminar/lecture course that primarily focuses on the interdependencies of ecological, social, cultural, economic and technological issues pertaining to architectural/urban/landscaped environments. It views them in a holistic manner and examines existing values/paradigms on sustainability and focuses on emerging conditions to rethink, reevaluate and update our relationship with nature and resources while appropriating innovative sustainable technologies and renewable means for attaining a better quality of life. The course explores how sustainable principles are applied to both integrated design and construction, as well as to the assessment of existing built environments, including building envelope and technical building systems. Its primary goal is to demonstrate, through cases, how sustainability issues can be part of planning efforts, from macro (global, regional social and cultural in urban and suburban contexts) to micro scale (local; as part of community, at home or work place). The course will also investigate and develop research methodologies to evaluate local/regional environments using sustainability criteria. (3 credits) Fall

AAH 423 – Nature and Art
Prerequisite: Junior standing
An interdisciplinary seminar where students will have the opportunity to investigate and question how nature, through our perception of it, becomes a cultural construct. The concepts of Natural History, Landscape, Body Perception, Biophilia and Environmental Ethics are some of the core issues that will be discussed in this seminar. Various aspects of the natural world will be analyzed in relation to how artists or trends, from different cultures and time periods, have been used and inspired by them and how we might still continue to do so today. (3 credits) Special offering

BIO 104 - Biology II and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Biology or Marine Biology Core Concentration.
This course highlights the mechanisms of evolution, the diversity of life, population biology, and the principles of ecology. Laboratory and field exercises reinforce these concepts and develop technical and analytical skills. (4 credits) Spring

BIO 240 - Concepts of Ecology
Fulfills a course requirement in the Biology Core Concentration
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: BIO 104 or NATSC 101, and BIO 103 or NATSC 104; or consent of instructor

Focuses on effects and controls of pollution in the environment, conservation, and natural population controls. For the non-science as well as the science major. (3 Credits) Spring

BIO 231 - Bioethics: Life, Health, and Environment
Fulfills a course requirement for the Biotechnology Certificate
This course does not fulfill a course requirement in the Biology major, minor or core concentration
Prerequisite: BIO 103 or CORE 101 or consent of instructor

The ethical, legal, and social implications of recent advances in biological research, environmental issues and technological applications generate discussions between scientists, politicians, lawyers, clergy and citizens throughout the world. Bioethics is a comprehensive interdisciplinary course about biomedical and environmental legal and ethical practice. Students will discuss the conflicts that arise in society that biologists/biotechnologists face when working in biotechnology, human and animal health, environmental health and ethical research practices in basic/applied science. Through critical thinking and “real case” scenarios students will be able to reach an appropriate course of action to understand and resolve bioethical concerns in society. (3 credits) Alternate Fall

BIO 312 - Conservation Biology
Fulfills a course requirement in the Biology Core Concentration
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisite: BIO 104 or NATSC 101, and BIO 103 or NATSC 104; or consent of instructor

Introduction to principles of conservation biology as they relate to current issues in conservation of species and habitats. Topics to be discussed include: biodiversity, population genetics, island biogeography, community ecology, natural reserves, habitat restoration, and invasive species. (3 Credits) Alternate Fall

BIO 320 - Marine Ecology and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Biology or Marine Biology Core Concentration
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: BIO 104 or NATSC 101, and BIO 103 or NATSC 104, CHEM 191 and 192; or consent of instructor

Senior-level, advanced study of the marine habitat, using the field as a laboratory in conjunction with scheduled classroom discussions and lectures. Problems of an ecological nature are studied and guidance provided by faculty. (4 Credits) Alternate Fall

BIO 332 – Fisheries Science
Fulfills a course requirement in the Biology and Marine Biology Core Concentration
Prerequisites: BIO 103 or NATSC 103, and BIO 104 or NATSC 204; or consent of instructor
A multidisciplinary course that examines the biology, ecology, and population dynamics of aquatic fishery resources. This information is further integrated with the study of human socioeconomics in an effort to better understand the management and conservation of exploited fisheries. Topics covered in the class include: fish life history characteristics and population dynamics; stock assessment and identification; socioeconomics; fishing gear technology and its impact on populations, communities, and ecosystems; and strategies for management and conservation. (3 credits) Fall, Alternate Years

BIO 345 - Aquaculture and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Biology or Marine Biology Core Concentration
Prerequisite: NATSC 104 or consent of instructor

Introduces basic environmental and economic considerations of aquaculture - the commercial production of aquatic organisms. Laboratories include directed research on topics relevant to the local industry and field trips to regional aquaculture facilities. (4 Credits) Alternate Spring

BIO 360 - Limnology and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Biology or Marine Biology Core Concentration
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: BIO 104 or NATSC 101, and BIO 103 or NATSC 104, CHEM 191 and 192; or consent of instructor

Examines flora and fauna in freshwater and estuarine environments and their interrelationships with the physical and chemical properties of these waters. (4 Credits) Alternate Fall

BIO/NATSC 375 - Soil Ecology and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Biology Core Concentration
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: BIO 104 and one of BIO 240, 320 or 360 or consent of instructor

This course serves as an in-depth exploration of soils as unique habitats for life with a focus on understanding variables that affect the abundance, diversity and interactions of terrestrial organisms and, in turn, their influence on soil physicochemical properties, biogeochemical cycles and other variables that impact the well-being and sustainability of human societies (e.g., agricultural production, clean water availability). Topics to be covered include soil food webs, microbial ecology, soil aggregate formation, carbon and nitrogen cycling, relationships between soils and aboveground ecology, and the effects of human activities on soil biodiversity. During laboratory sessions, students will explore the basic biology of soil organisms, conduct research projects, and learn methods for sampling soils and soil organisms in the field. (4 credits) Alternate Fall

CHEM 201 - Environmental Chemistry I and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry and Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: CHEM 191 and 192

Examines the human impact of global environmental chemical products and processes. Uses system concepts to define the boundaries and essential inputs and outputs of each subsystem. Primary emphasis on the hydrosphere and the lithosphere, with major concentration on water pollution, solid waste management, hazardous wastes, and pesticides. (4 credits) Fall

CHEM 202 - Environmental Chemistry II and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry and Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: CHEM 191 and 192

This portion of the sequence concentrates on air pollution and energy. Emphasizes the biosphere and the atmosphere, and the consequences of burning fossil fuels. (4 credits) Spring

CHEM 434 - Advanced Environmental Chemistry
Prerequisites: CHEM 391 and 392; or consent of instructor
Examines the principles of aquatic chemistry. Topics include: equilibrium processes in natural waters, including multisystem equilibria; complexation; oxidation-reduction; surface chemistry; kinetic control vs. thermodynamic control of these processes; and some aspects of sediment chemistry. (3 credits) Alternate Fall

ECON 320- Resource and Environmental Economics
Fulfills a course requirement in the Economics Core Concentration
Prerequisite: ECON 101 or 102
This course examines how under certain situations free markets rather than government intervention are the best method to protect the environment. This is a unique way of looking at resources and environmental problems since most pundits believe that markets cause these problems.This class is a survey of the arguments in support of what is commonly referred to as “free market environmentalism.” The purpose of the course is to reveal how economists, in particular free market environmentalists, view resource and environment problems and how they would create environmental policy. (3 credits)

ENG 110 - Serpents, Swords, Symbols and Sustainability
Fulfills a course requirement in the English Literature Core Concentration
How did we get to this point? What is the genesis of our current relationship with the environment? Has our current situation always reflected this relationship? Using the natural world as a point of departure, students learn the universal language of symbols from ancient cultures to the present as they document and assess the evolution of the relation between human beings and the natural world, once perceived as reciprocal and interdependent, now distinct and isolated. Students analyze interdisciplinary and cross-cultural literary and visual works that address environment and place and the evolution of the relations between the human and non-human  both directly (in non-fiction and natural history) and indirectly (in literature and film). In investigating both visual and written artifacts, students also learn the historical context for the shifts in literary attitudes toward the environment from around the world and across time. (3 credits) Annually

ENGR 320 – Environmental Engineering
Prerequisite: MATH 214 and CHEM 192
Provides an in-depth examination of the state of the environment and its interrelationship with the practice of engineering. Topics include: the interrelationships of energy, ecosystems, and the environment; mechanisms of environmental degradation; and, pollution and control of air and water resources. (3 credits) Fall

ENGR 340 – Sustainable Energy Systems
Prerequisite: PHYS 109 or PHYS 201
This course will examine, in-depth, at least three sustainable energy sources, choosing from solar, wind, biofuels, hydropower, and others. The basic science and technology pertaining to each topic will be presented along with design and implementation considerations. Environmental problems associated with energy systems will be briefly examined. Software tools will be used to assess the performance of the different energy systems. (3 credits) Spring

ENGR 405 – Air Pollution and Control
Prerequisites: CHEM 192 or consent of instructor
Detailed study of the status of air pollution, atmospheric physics and chemistry, and methodologies of pollution control. Topics include emissions from stationary and mobile sources, air quality standards, major pollutants, chemical behavior of pollutants on animals and plants, design of pollution control equipment, and air dispersion modeling. (3 credits) Spring

ENGR 407 – Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
Prerequisites: CHEM 192 or consent of instructor
Addresses environmental consequences of and control processes of solid and hazardous wastes. Topics include domestic solid wastes collection and disposal, sludge treatment, landfill methods, classification and characteristics of hazardous wastes, toxicology, hydrochemical models, remedial control of sites, surface controls, groundwater controls and direct treatment methods, disposal of treated sludge and toxic wastes, recycling methods, resource recovery, radioactive and biomedical wastes. (3 credits) Fall

ENGR 412 – Water Resources Engineering and Lab
Prerequisite: ENGR 305 or permission of instructor
Considers hydrologic aspects of water availability from surface and groundwater sources. Flood flow analysis, surface and groundwater supply, transmission and distribution systems including pumping. (4 credits) Fall

ENGR 415 – Water and Wastewater Treatment
Prerequisite: ENGR 305 or permission of instructor
In-depth coverage of physical, chemical, and biological processes used in drinking water and wastewater treatment both for domestic and industrial wastes. Topics include treatment processes such as coagulation/flocculation, sedimentation, aeration, activated sludge, filtration, adsorption, sludge digestion, and disinfection. Topics also include innovative techniques such as wetlands, facultative ponds, and wastewater reuse. Experimental analysis is performed with respect to parameters involved in the operations and processes of water and wastewater treatment systems. (4 credits) Spring

HIST 354 – United States Environmental History
Prerequisite – HIST 151, 152 or permission from instructor
Fulfills a course requirement in the History Core Concentration
Surveys the intellectual and economic roots of agrarianism, the development of commercial agriculture and environmental ethics, and the impact of ruralism and land use upon the American people. (3 credits) Alternate Fall

HP 150 – Introduction to Historic Preservation
Introduction to the study, interpretation and preservation of cultural, natural and social resources, while considering ways to best plan for our future, informed by the study of our past and the engagement of stakeholders today. Lectures and discussion are augmented by visiting speakers and field trips to sites and communities. The range of career opportunities is explored. (3 credits) Fall

NATSC 103 - Earth Systems Science and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
One of the foundation courses in Environmental Science, Earth Systems, focuses on the physical processes that shape Earth’s surface. Topics vary from the basics for rocks and minerals, to streams, groundwater and desert landforms. Students will learn to read and interpret topographic and geologic maps. The laboratory component is project oriented with students completing multiweek investigations culminating in a self-designed research project. (4 credits) Fall

NATSC 203 - Humans, Environmental Change and Sustainability
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: NATSC 103 or BIO 104 or consent of instructor

This course examines the effects of human populations and sociocultural variables on contemporary environmental changes at global and local scales with an emphasis on the sustainable use and management of natural resources and ecosystem services. Topics covered include human demographics, land use and land cover change, energy generation and use, agricultural production, biodiversity loss, water management, pollution and global climate change. These topics will be discussed in an interdisciplinary context to emphasize interrelationships among the economic, political, philosophical and ecological dimensions of environmental change and the sustainability of human populations and ecosystems. (3 credits) Fall

NATSC 204 - Principles of Oceanography
Fulfills a course requirement in the Marine Biology Core Concentration
This course provides an introduction to the four interrelated disciplines (biology, chemistry, geology and physics) that make up the science of oceanography. Through this course, students come to understand the complex characteristics and dynamic processes of the world’s ocean. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

NATSC 301 - Marine Resource Management
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisite: NATSC 103 or NATSC 204; or consent of instructor.

Concepts and methods for the allocation, management and utilization of marine resources. Emphasis will be placed on biological, chemical, and geological resources in coastal and nearshore water of New England. (3 credits) Fall

NATSC 310 - Biogeochemical Cycling
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: NATSC 103, NATSC 204, CHEM 191, 192

Biogeochemical cycling combines the disciplines of biology, geology and chemistry to investigate the movement of important elements (such as Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorous) through the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. The course begins with evidence for and discussion of the evolution of the early Earth, from initial differentiation to the rise of oxygenic photosynthesis. Topics include, rock weathering and the release of nutrients for the biosphere, the role life beneath Earth’s surface, the nature of biogeochemical reservoirs (e.g. carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans) and mechanisms of exchange between those reservoirs. (3 credits) Alternate Spring

NATSC 333 - Environmental Monitoring and Analysis and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: NATSC 103, NATSC 204, CHEM 191, 192

Investigates how to measure and evaluate the health and function of an ecosystem. To this end, a series of lectures/discussions examine how to design, analyze and critique ecological experiments and sampling programs. These lectures are accompanied by studies in the laboratory and field where students will participate, hands-on, in designing, carrying out and analyzing real experiments and sampling programs. (4 credits) Alternate Fall

NATSC 401 - Environmental Toxicology and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: CHEM 301 and BIO 200 or BIO 390; or consent of instructor

Fundamentals and principles of toxicology including absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of toxic chemicals in mammalian systems. The course will investigate the molecular mechanisms, cellular targets, and biological consequences of exposure to toxic agents. It will also cover the molecular mechanisms, toxic action, risk assessment and regulatory procedures. (4 credits) Alternate Spring

PLS 200 – Environmental Law
Analysis and overview of the major federal laws pertaining to environmental protection. Stress full understanding of the reasons and the substance of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, the Federal Clean Air Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. Also provides an opportunity for analysis of the functions of the Environmental Protection Agency. (3 credits) Alternate Spring

POLSC 383 - Environmental Politics and Policy
Prerequisite: POLSC 100 or SUST 101 or consent of instructor
This course will provide students with an indepth analysis of the actors, processes and outcomes in the area of environmental policy. The institutional arrangements, systemic parameters, technological constraints, and conflicting interests that shape environmental policy will be examined. Students will study contemporary policy challenges such as global warming, deforestation, water shortages, chemical contamination, and agricultural practices. (3 credits) Alternate Fall

SUST 430 - Special Topics in Sustainability Studies
Prerequisite: SUST 101
An advanced interdisciplinary course focused on a topic related to sustainability studies. (3 credits) Special offering