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Graduation Requirements for BA/Specialization in Sustainable & Regenerative Living

The following is projected for the 2022-2023 school year and is subject to change

On-campus bachelor’s degree requirements

To graduate with a BA in Sustainable & Regenerative Living, students must successfully complete:

  • All general requirements for a bachelor’s degree
  • 52 credits of credits of coursework, including completion of a student portfolio, in the area of Sustainable & Regenerative Living:

Core courses (20 credits)

There can be little doubt that we are living in a time of unprecedented crises. As never before, we as a global civilization are facing the possibility of societal and environmental collapse, leading to untold suffering for both human and non-human species. The problems we face are tightly interlocked; no problem can be viewed — let alone solved — in isolation. While efforts are underway to address these complex, systemic problems at high levels of governance and administration (UN, IMF, WTO, World Bank, etc.) these “solutions” embody a Western management outlook. In this positivist framework, we can manage our way out of crises; all we need to do is more of the same. But evidence suggests otherwise, and these efforts often backfire, with dire consequences for those affected. As Einstein famously said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” However well-intended, the “management” worldview does not adequately address underlying, paradigm-level causes of violence, poverty, and environmental destruction. From a darker perspective, international attempts at betterment are, in fact, mere extensions of globalized neoliberal/colonial regimes, and thus represent not “solutions” but reproducers and amplifiers of the very problems they profess to solve. In either case, a new way is needed. Using a “toolbox” of practical means (Critical & Systems Thinking, Sustainable/ecological Literacy, theories of consciousness and social change, etc.) we develop new theories on how to view and understand global problems, and to affect change-for-the better. And we test our theories in real-world projects in our local and regional settings. The project-based approach we adopt in this course grounds our theories in praxis, and, if successful, will offer living proof of the potential for local solutions, when documented, contextualized, and openly disseminated, to have lasting positive effects on a global scale. This course covers the MIU general education requirements for Critical Thinking, WTG 191 (College Composition l), and Health-related Fitness. Course fee: $50 (8 credits)
This course explores the role energy plays in sustainability and in the development of complexity and order in nature and in the human economy. Anything of economic value comes from nature or from humans, and both require energy. Therefore, energy is critical to the economy. Energy inevitably loses usefulness as it flows through human-made and natural systems. Sustainability is about regeneration and renewal of opportunity for future generations. Therefore, renewable sources of energy are essential for sustainability. Students learn basic energy concepts and their application to sustainability and renewable energy systems. The course will include lecture, readings, films, guest speakers, field trips, and hands-on work. (4 credits)
The built environment consists of all the things that humans build — buildings and the rural, suburban, and urban context in which they are placed. Buildings, the cities they are placed in, and the transportation systems that connect them are the biggest things that humans build. Designing and building them sustainably is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. This course gives an overview of the origins and evolution of buildings and issues of sustainability in the built environment. Buildings consume over 40% of the energy we use. They are often made from toxic materials and materials difficult to recycle. Few buildings are designed to optimize the use of energy and resources are freely given to us by nature. We need to radically redesign the way we think about, build, and use buildings. The goal is to create a built environment that, like the natural environment, is regenerative, giving back more than it takes. By the end of the course, students are able to: 1) Think holistically about the relationship between climate, culture, and available building materials in a variety of global settings; 2) Understand and be conversant in the basic concepts and language of building design and construction; and 3) Translate into real-world projects various team design skills gained during the course. (4 credits)
The course views ecology and ecosystems critically through biological and cultural perspectives. A main theme is to understand our modern concepts of ‘environment,’ how humans have imagined their natural surroundings and the consequences and significance for life in the 21st century. Another theme is the integration of anthropological, biological, and sociological concepts and knowledge as tools for inquiry into the present and possible futures of all life on earth. Alternatives to human-dominant, resource-intensive, and objectifying relations with the natural world are considered, among them deep ecology, ecofeminism, and Native American views. Scientific studies of agricultural practices, landscape, stream ecology, and other topics are used to tie conceptual learning with local knowledge of the land. A crucial goal is to use empirical and non-empirical experience and knowledge to consider how we, as individuals, societies, and species can accept reciprocal, responsible relations to the non-human world. (4 credits)
Permaculture Design is an attempt to rethink and redesign every aspect of human endeavor in terms of sustainability. In this course, you will learn about the principles, ethics, and scientific reasoning that guides permaculture design, along with how to apply it to homes, cities, and natural landscapes. Students engage with concepts and strategies for building soil health, maximizing water efficiency, and increasing biodiversity through integrated plant dynamics and agroforestry. There will also be workshops related to mushroom cultivation and fermentation sciences. The course will culminate in a final comprehensive design project involving a real client, where you will work to perform site analysis and develop practical solutions for real-world design challenges. Upon successful completion of the course, students earn an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate. This course includes a weekend field trip. Course Fees: $100 (4 credits)

Electives (20 credits)

Elective credits may be concentrated in a specific subject area for more in-depth study and to achieve an area of emphasis within Sustainable & Regenerative Living or fulfilled with stand-alone courses of interest.

Field experience (12 credits)

One or a combination of the following courses:

Students apply their skills and knowledge of regenerative sustainability in real-world situations while earning academic credit. Internships are coordinated by the Career Services Office along with the department and the Registrar to ensure proper credit and approvals. (4–16 credits) Prerequisites: Internship Proposal and consent of the Regenerative Living Department.
This course is devoted to preparing students for the Senior Sustainable & Regenerative Living Project (RL G401). Students meet with faculty to research, discuss, and plan the project to ensure that it will unfold as smoothly as possible. (4 credits) Prerequisites: good academic standing and consent of the instructor
In this senior-level course, students apply what they have learned to a special project. The project may be an individual effort or students may work together in small teams to produce a fitting tribute to the concept of sustainable and regenerative living. Students generate research, creative, or service projects based upon the available knowledge and best practices currently available. Service and creative projects also require a reflective piece of writing that demonstrates writing, critical thinking, and holistic thinking skills. Students prepare their projects in writing and present them orally to their departments. Students may request to be nominated to represent the department and present their project at the annual Senior Project Honors Competition. Senior projects give faculty a final opportunity to evaluate student writing, critical thinking, and speaking toward the end of students’ academic careers. The projects also give students an opportunity to demonstrate their speaking, thinking, and writing capabilities on topics that matter to them. (4 credits — may be repeated subject to satisfactory progress in the previous course and a clear plan for the progression of learning in the subsequent course)

Online bachelor’s specialization requirements

To graduate with a Specialization in Sustainable & Regenerative Living, students must complete:

  • 32 additional credits of Sustainable & Regenerative Living courses
  • required courses for the Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences or any other bachelor’s degree program you choose.

Minor

To graduate with a minor in Sustainable & Regenerative Living, students must complete 16 credits in a single learning community (module) plus one 4-credit core course for a total of 20 credits. Alternatively, students may choose to take the 16-credit module of SL core courses plus one 4-credit SL elective for a total of 20 credits.