Sustainability Courses at UH Manoa

The following course offerings across the University provide students with the opportunity to study sustainability from a variety of perspectives. The list of “S” courses serves as a basis for education in sustainability and these courses along with others will serve as the basis for a program of study now under development at UHM. 

AMST 425/HIST480 American Environmental History
ANTH 415 Ecological Anthropology
ANTH 482 Environmental Anthropology
BIOL 310 Environmental Issues
BIOL/GEOG 410 The Human Role in Environmental Change
BOT 446 Hawaiian Ethnobotany
ECON 332 Economics of Global Climate Change
ECON 336 Energy Economics
ECON 350 Sustainable Development
ECON 409 The Ocean Economy
ECON 458 Environmental Economics
ECON 636 Renewable Energy Economics and Policies
ECON 638 Environmental Resource Economics
ECON/NREM 637 Resource Economics
FSHN/PH 683 Global Nutrition
GEOG 322 Globalization and the Environment
GEOG 412 Environmental Assessment
GEOG 422 Agriculture, Food and Society
GEOG 423 Human Dimensions of the Coastal Ocean
GEOG 426 Environment, Resources and Society
GG 102 Global Change
GG 106 Humans and the Environment
NREM 301 Natural Resource Management
NREM 612 Degradation of Human-Dominated Ecosystems
NREM 680 Ecosystem Ecology
NREM/PEPS 210 Introductory Environmental Sciences
OCN 120 Global Environmental Challenges
OCN/MET 310 Global Environmental Change
OEST/OCN/CEE 441 Principles of Sustainability Analysis
ORE 677 Marine Renewable Energy
PEPS 310 Agriculture and Environment
PLAN 625 Environmental Planning Climate Change, Energy and Food Security in the Asia-Pacific Region
PLAN 628 Urban Environmental Problems
PLAN 632 Planning in Hawaii and Pacific Islands
PLAN 647 Planning for Sustainability
POLS 378G Topics in American Politics: Environmental Politics
SOCS 250/TAHR 250 Introduction to Sustainability
TPSS 251/SOCS 251/TAHR 251 Scientific Principles of Sustainability
TPSS 336 Renewable Energy and Society
WS 367 Sustainability, Technoscience and Social Justice

The above listing of courses should be viewed as simply a snapshot of the sustainability courses offered at UHM.

Attention Faculty: To have your UHM courses evaluated for the “S” designation and listed here, please forward the following to Brian Turano at turano@hawaii.edu.

(1) An electronic copy of the course syllabus.
(2) A brief statement describing how the proposed course will achieve five or more of the following course outcomes.

1. Define sustainability on local, national, and international levels
2. Identify the personal values and attitudes that can facilitate sustainable living.
3. Demonstrate a holistic understanding of how the individual relates to the wider issues of sustainability.
4. Measure one’s impact on the triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.
5. Identify the socio-cultural values and attitudes that facilitate sustainable living at the local, regional and global levels.
6. Apply concepts of sustainability to local, regional and/or global challenges
7. Demonstrate how concepts of sustainability are connected to local, regional and global issues
8. Demonstrate a knowledge of traditional and indigenous methods and perspectives of sustainability

(3) A brief statement describing how the proposed course will incorporate one or more of the following Sustainability Core Concepts.

Sustainability Core Concepts
▪ Sustainable Economics (Incorporating People, Planet, and Profits into Economic decisions)
▪ Cradle to Cradle (Following nature’s lead by Closing the Loop through composting, and recycling, reducing waste and reusing goods through design and creativity)
▪ Ecological Footprint (Measuring and reducing impact and the amount of nature and carbon required to support an individual, family, organization, or business.)
▪ Ecosystem Services (Learning the value of what nature accomplishes in terms of provisioning; regulating; supporting human life and culture.)
▪ Climate Change Mitigation (employing conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy in all forms.)
▪ Local First (understanding the social and economic impact of local purchasing on the local economy; reducing our Ecological Footprint as an island ecosystem.)
▪ Adaptive Resilience (following concepts of the ahupua’a to share resources and build capacity to respond to short-term emergencies and long-term climate change.)
▪ Environmental justice (Addressing fair and equitable distribution, participation and recognition in ecological issues)

Files should be submitted in Adobe PDF format.

Evaluation Process
The Ad Hoc “S” Designation Committee will evaluate the submitted application. Applicants receiving a mean score of five or more on the learning outcomes (2) and satisfactory response on the sustainability core concepts (3) from the committee will receive the “S” designation and be listed on the webpage. Applicants who disagree with the committee’s determination should contact the committee to receive instructions on the rebuttal process.

For more information, please contact Dr. Brian Turano (turano@hawaii.edu).

 

History of the Evaluation Criteria for “S” Courses

UHM has started to designate courses as having a “Sustainability” (S) focus by evaluating courses with the criteria developed by faculty at Kapiolani Community College. The criteria incorporates our unique environment and traditional Hawaiian practices with the AASHE Stars ranking system. The Kapiolani designation resides at the CRN level, with instructors of specific sections. This page summarizes initial findings from a UHM committee and identifies over 30 courses that appear to meet these criteria. The goal of such designation is to provide a coherent path for students interested in sustainability.

The AASHE Stars ranking system, considered standard for colleges active in sustainability, provides useful criteria for designating a course as having a sustainability focus. When AASHE does its “green” ratings, which include both curriculum and operations, these curriculum criteria earn points towards a college’s rating. AASHE makes a distinction between Sustainability Focused Courses (“concentrating on the concept of sustainability including its social, economic, and environmental dimensions, or examining an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens), and Sustainability Related Courses (which “incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module, or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue”).

The Kap CC Faculty Senate Sustainability Committee, working with similar groups from across the UHCC system, endorses the broader Essential Learning Outcomes defined by Wiek et al (2011) which include: Systems thinking competence, Normative competence, Anticipatory competence, Strategic competence, and Inter and Intra personal competence. The UHCC group also identified and adopted eight specific course-level outcomes, any of which can be added to the existing learning outcomes or competencies for the course.

  1. Define sustainability on local, national, and international levels
  2. Identify the personal values and attitudes that can facilitate sustainable living.
  3. Demonstrate a holistic understanding of how the individual relates to the wider issues of sustainability.
  4. Measure one’s impact on the triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.
  5. Identify the socio-cultural values and attitudes that facilitate sustainable living at the local, regional and global levels.
  6. Apply concepts of sustainability to local, regional and/or global challenges
  7. Demonstrate how concepts of sustainability are connected to local, regional and global issues
  8. Demonstrate a knowledge of traditional and indigenous methods and perspectives of sustainability

In addition, to provide consistent vocabulary and framework across the curriculum, the committee identified seven “core concepts” which are updated periodically to represent evolving dialogue in sustainability science:.

  • Sustainable Economics (Incorporating People, Planet, and Profits into Economic decisions)
  • Cradle to Cradle (Following nature’s lead by Closing the Loop through composting, and recycling, reducing waste and reusing goods through design and creativity)
  • Ecological Footprint (Measuring and reducing impact and the amount of nature and carbon required to support an individual, family, organization, or business.)
  • Ecosystem Services (Learning the value of what nature accomplishes in terms of provisioning; regulating; supporting human life and culture.)
  • Climate Change Mitigation (employing conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy in all forms.)
  • Local First (understanding the social and economic impact of local purchasing on the local economy; reducing our Ecological Footprint as an island ecosystem.)
  • Adaptive Resilience (following concepts of the ahupua’a to share resources and build capacity to respond to short-term emergencies and long-term climate change.)

The committee concluded that a Sustainability course should incorporate at least one core concept.

To see how these criteria might work in practice, the UHM Sustainability Working Group solicited syllabuses and other course information from Department Chairs during 2013 with the goal of identifying courses that would appear to satisfy a significant number of the above criteria.  Based upon the samples provided, over 30 courses appeared likely to satisfy these sustainability criteria.