St. Cloud State University General Education Goal Area 10 Designation

St. Cloud State University
General Education Goal Area 10 Designation
Environmental Issues
Academic Affairs Use Only:
Response Date: ______________________
Effective Date: ______________________
Prepared by: Mikhail Blinnikov
Phone: 8-2263
Proposal Number: _________________
Email: [email protected]
Requesting Unit: Geography
Department, Course Number, Title: GEOG 372: Conservation of World Resources
New Course
Will this course be flagged as a diversity course?
Already Designated as Diversity
Will this course also satisfy another General Education Goal Area?
If “Yes” specify which goal area.
Course bulletin description, including credits and semesters to be offered
Existing Course
Diversity Proposal Accompanying This Form
+GEOG 372. Conservation of World Resources. Conservation movement and its expression in
conservation policies and activities. Supply, use, and management of natural resources, their planned
development and use. Topical. 3 Cr. F, S.
Indicate the clientele for whom this course is designed. Is the course for general education only, or
does it fulfill general education and other program needs for this or another department? Obtain
signatures from any affected departments.
The course is an elective for Geography majors.
Indicate any changes that must be made in offerings or resources in your department or other
departments by offering this course.
For new courses or courses not yet approved for General Education, indicate any other SCSU departments
or units offering instruction that relates to the content of the proposed course.
Courses designated as General Education are included in the assessment plan for the Goal Area(s)
for which they are approved. Courses for which assessment has not included in the annual GE
assessment report for two years will be removed from the General Education Program.
Draft 8/09 General Education Committee
The Requesting Unit understands and recognizes the above conditions.
Provide a concise explanation of how the following goal is a “significant focus” of the proposed course.
Goal Area 10: Environmental Issues
Examine the interrelationship of humans and the natural worlds from scientific and socio-cultural
perspectives and the complex environmental challenges that result.
The class focuses on the human world as it related to physical nature of our planet (atmosphere, biosphere,
hydrosphere, lithosphere). Its major theme is sustainability of resources, including air, water, energy,
biodiversity, forests and oceans. It also discusses population issues and how to achieve a balanced
equilibrium between society and nature in a global context. Examples from many parts of the world are
used to illustrate the concepts covered in class.
13. In order for a course to be designated as fulfilling Goal Area 10, it must address at least 4 of the 5 student
learning outcomes (SLOs) below. Check the SLOs below that are focused on in the proposed general
education course.
1. Explain the basic structure and function of various ecosystems and human adaptive strategies within
those systems.
2. Discern patterns of interrelationships of bio-physical and socio-cultural systems.
3. Describe the human institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic, and religious) that
deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
4. Analyze environmental and natural resource issues in light of understandings about
interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.
5. Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems including issues involving
Explain how each of the learning outcomes checked above is achieved by this course.
SLO 2. This is achieved through discussion of climate models and global climate change with respect to the
atmosphere. Water scarcity issues and groundwater depletion in the Great Plains, Sahel, Asia are discussed with
respect to hydrosphere. Discussion of alternative energy sources to fossil fuels are discussed with respect to
energy (lithosphere). Conservation of rare species and ecosystems in parks are discussed with respect to
biodiversity and forestry (biosphere).
SLO 3. We cover five major agents in the natural resource conservation: 1) governments; 2) intergovernmental
institutions (such as UN, World Bank, IPCC); 3) corporations that work on sustainable issues; 4) local and
international NGOs (The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club); and 5) humans as individuals (activists and
consumers). Emphasis is placed on understanding the complexity of issues involved and the plurality of roles
played by some of these agents in different spatial and temporal contexts.
SLO 4. We analyze resources in three broad areas in this class: 1) food and water (also includes soils), 2) energy
and minerals, and 3) wild organisms and ecosystems (biodiversity, forests, and oceans)
Draft 8/09 General Education Committee
SLO 5. We begin the class by looking at both positive and negative examples from the past when human societies
either were able to or failed to address issues of sustainability (e.g., Chinese long-term successes in agriculture vs.
Easter Island collapse). We draw on a range of examples from North America, Europe, and non-western regions.
We further discuss global modeling exercises such as “Limits to Growth” team and relevant policy initiatives of
the more recent past (e.g., Rio UN conference, Montreal and Kyoto protocol, organic agriculture movement).
Assignments engage students in a self-study of their consumptive behaviors with respect to food, energy, and
waste management. Students also write a team paper discussing sustainability of a selected resource (e.g.,
mineral, energy source, plant or animal) both globally and locally and present findings in class.
List or attach the Course Outline (adequately described and including percentage of time to be allocated
to each topic). Curriculum Committees may request additional information. Topics larger than 20% need
to be broken down further.
Student Learning Outcomes are applied in each of the sub sections described in the course outline.
1) Environmental & social issues and players of the global survival game. Are there “Limits to
Growth”? Emerging sustainability approaches 10%
2) The driving force of the crisis: Population issues and strategies 5%
3) Feeding billions: food and hunger. Critique of conventional agriculture model – erosion,
fertilizers, pesticides. Sustainable agriculture including natural, organic, biodynamic approaches,
local vs. global food. Foodprint homework (analyzing where your food comes from) 10%
4) Water as a resource: do we have enough? 5%
5) Energy resources: fossil fuels and Hubbert peak 10%
6) Energy resources: nuclear energy and renewables 10%
7) Air as a resource. Local and regional pollution, acid rain and ozone hole. 5%
8) Climate change – models and scenarios, control and adaptations. Kyoto and beyond. 10%
9) Minerals: mining, solid waste, recycling. 5%
10) Biodiversity – why is it a resource? Saving endangered species. Protected natural areas and
community-based approaches 10%
11) Forestry issues (timber supply and demand, clearcutting, role of fire and desertification 10%
12) Ocean resources with main focus on sustainable fisheries 5%
13) Sustainability approaches – community building 5%
Draft 8/09 General Education Committee