School of Natural Sciences

New Minor in Sustainability

(Offered by the School of Natural Sciences)

Rationale: The minor program provides an interdisciplinary combination of courses in a liberal arts setting that will prepare students for careers in environmental and sustainability education, advocacy, and management. The Brundtland Commission (formerly, the World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987) envisioned the concept: sustainable development is development that “meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The logical components of a sustainable development strategy encompass environmental, social and economic elements.

Interdisciplinary nature: This program was jointly created by faculty from the School of Business; School of Arts and Letters; School of Natural Sciences; School of Social Sciences; and School of Education. It is interdisciplinary as it integrates the methods and application of those disciplines. The methodologies of the five fields are clearly different. Many jobs require integrating all of these fields of study. The interface in understanding sustainability necessitates understanding the methods and incentives of business and the hands on technology of science that allow the total understanding of the complexity of sustainability. But careers in this area will also require that students consider the social consequences of climate change, the power dynamics shaping the business and policy landscape, and the philosophical underpinnings and ethical tensions at the heart of debates about how best to respond to current and future challenges to our planet’s resources.