Core Curriculum

SUS 601: Visions of Sustainable Communities

Course DescriptionThis course provides an introduction into critical conversations about social transformation toward sustainable communities, largely in the North American context.  It examines dominant philosophical, social and economic worldviews and paradigms, and explores alternatives that might better support flourishing human communities and ecosystems.  Core concepts in sustainable communities will be examined, and students will critically study forces and factors that prevent the practical formation of sustainable communities.

SUS 602: Elements and Contexts of Sustainable Communities

Course DescriptionThis course broadens and deepens the critical dialogue about sustainable communities, examining the economic, global, and technological contexts. Students will study the role of systemic factors, in particular the relationship between the local and the global, which help to maintain or undermine good and sustainable communities. The course will focus on globalization, sustainable economics, social interdependence, and the diverse forms of self-representations within communities.

SUS 603: Social Transformation

Course Description:  This course explores multiple theories and practices of social transformation. Embracing the core principles of the SUS program, it focuses on multiple ways to achieving positive change, pushing students to critically analyze different perspectives.  These include, but are not limited to, engaged pedagogy, community organizing, democratic practice, and social movements. The aim is to cultivate critical inquiry, expansive imagination, self-exploration, community building, and multiple practical organizing modes for initiating transformations in response to the challenges of our time. 

SUS 604: The Craft of Inquiry

Course Description: This course will introduce basic inquiry methodologies for doing interdisciplinary research. Students will learn how to identify key concepts for developing research questions and will be exposed to multiple ways of collecting information to answer their research question. The goal is teach students the logic of inquiry so that they can collect and analyze information.

SUS 695: Achieving Sustainable Communities

Course Description: This course focuses on successful strategies for achieving sustainable communities. It highlights successful sustainability initiatives (locally and globally), and features both current and past SUS students’ efforts to create change through their capstone projects – and beyond. The course also exposes students to sustainable community networks beyond the university and explores the diverse strategies for continuing to foster sustainable communities following graduation.