SUS 405 – Sustainable Solutions

An integrative approach to developing sustainable solutions to meet the needs of human society by integrating environmental, economic, and social justice issues on local, regional, and global scales.  Through readings, writing, presentations, digital research and dissemination, and field and laboratory work students will identify and explore complex problems. Then through project-based and integrative learning students will explore potential solutions that might help achieve sustainability objectives. Students will study the issues and focus on innovation & business solutions, policy approaches, individual action, stakeholder participation, campaign strategy, and dissemination related to solving the problems being analyzed.

SUS 350 – Community Sustainability in Costa Rica

Students explore solutions to complex community problems related to sustainability in Costa Rica.  During the spring semester students develop projects and prepare for the two-week study/research/travel experience to Costa Rica at the end of May.  Preparation includes study of the area’s ecological diversity; political, cultural, and social issues; research skills; and service in the Allentown Community.  In Costa Rica students explore a variety of habitats, live in and interact with members of a small town, and conduct both community service and independent research projects.  Research projects focus on ecology, sociology, culture, sustainability, and public health of the region.  One objective is to remove the blinders of specific discipline-based learning and our own culture to enable us to develop sustainable solutions.

RJF 450 – RJ Fellows Senior Capstone: Exploring Change

The RJ Fellows Senior Seminar is the integrative Culminating Undergraduate Experience (CUE) for the RJ Fellows Honors Program.  In this student driven seminar we will explore through classroom and on-line discussion, guest lectures, field trips, and community-based and project-based learning different ways to create opportunities for constructive conversation and dialog across difference in order to effect positive change.  Student’s from different disciplinary backgrounds will work together to develop a scholarly project focused on one of the following ways to unite and improve dialog across difference: 1) community art; 2) community gardening; and 3) inter-group dialog techniques.  Ultimately, students will present their findings at the RJ Fellows Senior Symposium in late April.  RJ seniors will also have the opportunity to reflect on their RJ experience.

BIO 262 – Cultural and Economic Botany

A survey of the diversity, structure and function of plants, and their entangled relationships with people.  Focus is on cultural and economic uses of plants from scientific, historical, contemporary, and global perspectives including the colonial nature of botanical discovery. The scientific process, ethnobotanical study, and agricultural and environmental issues within the context of evolution, genetics, plant chemistry, and sustainability are closely examined.  Hands-on opportunities to work with and learn about plants occurs in the laboratory, greenhouse, and through extensive field work. Three lecture hours plus three laboratory/field hours per week.

BIO 165 – From Ecosystems to Organisms

A disciplinary introduction to the study of plants, animals, and microbes, as well as the ecosystems they inhabit.  Students will apply core evolutionary principles to understand the structure and function of living things at the levels of organisms, organ systems, and ecosystems. Students will learn how organisms transform energy and matter, including metabolism and homeostasis, and how complex living systems interact with other organisms and the broader environment.

BIO 108: Plants & People

This course is a survey of the diversity of plants and their relationship with people. We will focus on the uses of plants from historical, contemporary, and multicultural perspectives. We will explore how plants serve as our foods, medicines, fibers, fuels, and the other ways that they impact our lives and influence our cultures. The scientific process, ethnobotanical study, agricultural and environmental issues, and ethical considerations will be closely examined. This course will include hands-on, field and laboratory study of plants.