Green Course Listing
“Think about the kind of world you want to live and work in. What do you need to know to help build that world? Demand that your teachers teach you that.”
-Paul Goodman

“All education is environmental education.”

David Orr

At St. Olaf, you can improve your sustainability skills in almost any course, since virtually all of them deal with nature or culture, and many of them involve basic sustainability skills that include scientific analysis, diverse perspectives, critical thinking, ecocriticism, effective communication, systems thinking, materials awareness, cultural norms, political activity, social conscience and social change, consumer consciousness, media literacy, advertising awareness, conservation, commons thinking, carbon capability, appropriate technology, and long-term thinking. In any class, you can, as Paul Goodman suggests, demand that your teachers teach you about connections to sustainability.

But some courses in the St. Olaf curriculum really focus on environmental issues and/or sustainability questions. This list is our best attempt to capture them all in one place for your convenience. If you’re unsure about how much a course treats the issues that matter to you, feel free to e-mail the professor.

This icon indicates that a course is green focused.
Other courses in the listing are green related,
meaning that topics in this course touch on areas
and/or skills related to environmental issues or sustainability.

2013-2014 Green Courses

Fall Semester
American Studies (1)
AMST 100 Perspectives on American Culture

This analysis of modern American society introduces theories and methods of culture studies, beginning with anthropological definitions of culture and including perspectives of sociology, political science, history, art history, and English. Students examine the moral ecology of everyday life in America, looking at the cultural meanings of work, clothes, food, family, gender, buildings, bodies, television, advertising, and education.


Asian Studies (3)
ASIAN 210: Asian Conversations I

How do pilgrims, travelers and migrants make sense of their journeys in Asia? Students explore maps, histories, tales, and guides that define Asia today and in years past, including several classic Asian texts; study how cultural, linguistic, economic, religious, social, and political connections and divisions create and sustain communities in Asia; and plan related projects for their Interim course. Students will discuss environmentalissues in the United States and the ways in which they compare to those in China and Japan and other parts of Asia.Prerequisite: Chinese 112 or Japanese 112 or permission of instructor. Must be accepted into Asian Conversations program to register.


AS/RE 289 Buddhism, Peace, and Justice
Students examine contemporary Buddhist moral teachings on social issues such as violence and peacemaking, human rights and social justice and humanity and the environment. Coursework focuses on the writings of Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, Tibetan leader-in-exile Tenzin Gyatso (Fourteenth Dalai Lama), American ecologist Joanna Macy and others. Students consider the moral paradigms of Christianity and Buddhism: Christ and the Bodhisattva.

ASIAN 397: Human Rights/Asian Context
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that “the inherent dignity and … the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family [are] the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” Who speaks to human rights in East Asia? What ethical perspectives are voiced? Case studies presented through memoirs, films, reports, and multidisciplinary analyses provide the material for exploring diverse normative claims about individual rights in East Asia. The course features a sustainability-related module on e-waste.

Biology (6)
BIO 126 Evolution and Diversity

In this core course, students study the mechanisms of evolution, the evolutionary history of biological diversity, and the diversity of life. The structure and function of organisms are compared within an ecological/evolutionary context. Key adaptations to survival are examined among organisms from bacteria and protists to plants, fungi, and animals. Labs investigate population genetics, phylogeny, form, and behavior of selected organisms and provide experience in experimental design and scientific writing. bio


BIO 251 Plant Physiology

This course begins with an in-depth look at a plant cell and its physiology, followed by a discussion of whole plant physiology as it relates to cellular functions.


BIO 261 Ecological Principles

Ecology focuses on the study of the interrelationships that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms. This core course examines organism-environment interactions and the study of populations, communities and ecosystems. Consideration is given to use of ecological studies in ecosystem management. Students attend lectures plus one three-hour laboratory per week.


BIO 371 Field Ecology
This course focuses on learning modern field and laboratory methods to test ecological hypotheses. Students work on group and individual projects to collect and analyze data and give oral and written presentations on projects. Class periods focus on discussion of primary literature and project results. Class trips include visits to local natural areas. Students focus on how to sustain biodiversity and reduce human-induced environmental changes; from climate change, to habitat destruction, to changes in biogeochemical cycling.

BIO 247 Animal Physiology
How do animals do what they need to do to survive in all sorts of environments? Why are others able to exist in only very particular conditions? These are the sorts of questions students explore as they navigate the basic systems that provide circulation, ventilation, movement, digestion, and waste removal. Students look at how these processes are coordinated by the nervous and endocrine systems and how they vary across the animal kingdom to help organisms survive in dry, hot deserts, in dark, deep oceans, and places in between. Animal Physiology studies how animals evolve to cope with environmental conditions. Climate change and its impacts on the limits of plant and animal life are a further topic of conversation.

BIO 125 Cell Biology and Genetics
Introduction to Biology discusses the interdependence of living organisms with each other and particularly with the external environment. These conversations emphasize understanding the essential nature of the relationship. Genetic manipulation, the biological risks, the ethical dimensions and social responsibilities of scientists are also covered.

Chemisty (2)
CHEM 253 Synthesis Lab I
This laboratory course introduces students to the synthesis and characterization of organic, organometallic and inorganic compounds and serves as a general introduction to green chemistry. Students purify the materials they produce by techniques such as chromatography and characterize them using optical rotation measurements, infrared spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

CHEM 247 Organic Chemistry I
Organic chemistry is the study of compounds containing carbon, emphasizing the structures and mechanisms of reaction of these molecules. This course focuses on structure, nomenclature, and reactions of aliphatic and alicyclic compounds, including aspects of stereochemistry and spectroscopic identification of these compounds.

Economics (2)
ECON 249 Urban Economics
This class applies economic principles to issues of urban development. Topics include urban economic history, location analysis, policy analysis (especially concerning poverty, housing, transportation and education), land use controls, and macroeconomic forecasting.

ECON 242 Environmental Economics
The powerful insights of microeconomic analysis inform this consideration of environmental policy and regulation. Coursework emphasizes issues germane to setting and attaining specific environmental objectives – how much pollution to allow, how much to encourage preservation, how much cutting to permit. By considering whether and how to assign monetary values to goods like species diversity and climactic stability, students gain practical experience applying benefit-cost analysis to environmental decisions.

Environmental Studies (7)
ENVST 381: Green Building & Remodeling

Students in this course will learn the process of identifying and developing a research proposal focused on a significant question in ecosystem science. We will discuss how to generate good research questions and hypotheses, find and synthesize important literature sources from the library, and develop a research plan. The final produce of student activities will be a research proposal. Students will also lead and participate in discussions of current literature in ecosystem science. The content of the course will be determined in part by student interest, within the constraint that topics must address an important concept in the study of ecosystems.


ENVST 201 Global Environmental Politics

Population growth, industrialization, and the consumption of fossil fuels have increased global environmental problems. The course examines the ways in which nation-states and/or international institutions have addressed these environmental concerns. Depending on the instructor, the focus of the course is either the environmental problems of a particular area (e.g., Latin America, Russia or Asia) or a broader global arena (e.g., international institutions and the environment). Offered alternate years.


ENVST 255 Remote Sensing & GIS
Remote sensing and GIS are increasingly used to address basic and applied questions in the environmental sciences and a host of other disciplines. Students survey available remote sensing image types and learn to process (ground-truthing, GPS, scanning, digitizing) and interpret remotely sensed images. They also learn theory and practice of geographic information systems (basic cartography and spatial statistics).

ENVST 270 Nature & American Landscape

This seminar-style course develops students’ abilities to reflect on Americans’ encounters with their landscape traditions. Students study ways Americans have built on the land and have worshipped and represented nature in paintings, photographs, and advertisements. Students learn to read landscapes to discover how artistically, religiously, and ecologically important the landscape tradition has been in the United States and to become thoughtful viewers and creators of landscapes.


ENVST 232 Environmental Policy/Regulation
This course analyzes environmental regulation in the United States with respect to its historical evolution, its ability to achieve environmental targets, its efficiency or cost-effectiveness, its distributional impact on jobs, people, and industries across the country, and its international ramifications. Class meetings include open discussions with individuals from agencies charged with developing and enforcing environmental regulation.

ENVST 202 Culture of Nature
This American environmental history course explores the social construction of nature in the 20th century, looking at the roots (both natural and cultural) of contemporary environmental issues. To figure out what nature means to us now, students study the history of stuff, the culture of grasslands and lawns, the changing character of the city and the country, the nature of the suburbs, the conservation and preservation movements, different energy ecologies, the nature of TV, the contemporary environmental movement, and alternative ecological practices. They also use the St. Olaf campus as a case study of environmental design.

ENVST 137 Introduction to Environmental Studies
Introduction to Environmental Studies is a sustainability-focused course that explores a range of environmental issues in an attempt to uncover social, economic, and ecological causes, consequences, and solutions.

Exercise Science - Activity (2)
ESAC 125 Canoeing
This course offers instruction in and practice of the basic techniques of canoeing and safety in handling the canoe.

ESAC 106 Rock Climbing

Students learn basic rock climbing skills, techniques, and safety procedures.


German (2)
GERM 112: Beginning German II

Students continue to develop basic language skills with emphasis on expanding vocabulary and on writing assignments that aid in the practical application of grammatical concepts. Communicating in German about familiar personal topics, students acquire vocabulary about sports, food, holidays, school, and life in German speaking cultures. German 112 features a unit on the environment (die Umwelt,) which focuses on sustainable living in Germany.


GERM 111B: Beginning German

Students begin to learn German through listening, speaking, reading, and writing about situations familiar to them including their personal biographies, families, daily life, studies, travels, and hobbies. Regular writing assignments are designed to help students learn vocabulary, check spelling, and to form thoughts with German sentence structure. Regular speaking activities aid in acquiring good pronunciation and listening skills. German 111B features two units on the environment (die Umwelt,) with a focus on sustainable living in Germany.


Interdisciplinary (1)
ID 234 Human Geography
This course provides an examination and application of the key content, skills, and perspectives of human geography. The lens of the geographer focuses on the spatial distribution of phenomena over the surface of the earth, asking the questions “where?” and “why there?” The practices and skills of geography are used to investigate a variety of issues in the Middle East, including environmental problems, the culture and management of sacred places, and the reasons for war and the need for peace.

Math (2)
MATH 230 Differential Equations
This course introduces differential equations and analytical, numerical, and graphical techniques for the analysis of their solutions. First- and second-order differential equations and linear systems are studied. Applications are selected from areas such as biology, chemistry, economics, ecology, and physics. Laplace transforms or nonlinear systems may be covered as time permits. Students use computers extensively to calculate and visualize results. Differential Equations addresses problems and applications concerning modeling of populations and resource harvesting.

MATH 126 Calculus II

This course covers methods and applications of integration, geometric and Taylor series, and introduces partial derivatives and double integrals. Calculus II addresses problems and applications concerning modeling of populations and resource harvesting.


Nursing (1)
NURS 388 Community Health
This course emphasizes the health of communities and populations. Topics include population-based health issues such as environmental health, epidemiology and communicable diseases. Students assess and screen individuals and families within communities, address identified needs and educate populations across the lifespan, collaborate with other health care professionals, make referrals, and participate in health promotion clinics. Clinical experiences occur in rural public health agencies and community-based programs.

Off-Campus (6)
OFFC 388D US: Washington Institute
The Institute for Experiential Learning (IEL), founded in 1990, provides experiential education programs and academic-based internships in Washington, DC. Designed for participants with interests in all fields of study, the program consists of two coordinated seminars and a four-day-per-week internship in the executive and legislative branches of government embassies or various organizations related to business, law and social development. Four St. Olaf course credits are awarded for the 15 semester hours.

OFFC 287A Norway SUST I HECUA
The Scandinavian Urban Studies Term (SUST) investigates dramatic changes in Northern Europe by critically analyzing the development of the Norwegian welfare state through a wide range of topics such as globalization theories, nation-building and national identity, governance and political party systems, European integration, racial thinking, histories of racialization, international aid politics, sexuality, and environmentalism. The topical organization of the program is cumulative and deliberately contradictory, illuminating the international relevance of the Scandinavian case study.

OFFC 287 Norway: SUST Year HECUA
The Scandinavian Urban Studies Term (SUST) investigates dramatic changes in Northern Europe by critically analyzing the development of the Norwegian welfare state through a wide range of topics such as globalization theories, nation-building and national identity, governance and political party systems, European integration, racial thinking, histories of racialization, international aid politics, sexuality, and environmentalism. The topical organization of the program is cumulative and deliberately contradictory, illuminating the international relevance of the Scandinavian case study.

OFFC 244A US: Oregon Extension I
The Oregon Extension is a community of scholars and students located in an old logging camp in southern Oregon, established in 1975. Every fall, this community welcomes a four-month program of learning and study. The study is accomplished in intensive small-group and individual tutorial sessions, tailored to the students’ interests and needs. The curriculum is structured around four broad themes: The Contemporary World, Social Analysis and Theory, Human Stories and Living Faith. Each theme is addressed in a three-and-a-half week segment; each segment is divided in half. During the first half of a segment, students work in a group with a shared core of readings and discussions. In the second half of each segment, the students work individually with a professor in the area of their own interest, growing out of the previous readings and discussion. Each segment ends with two days of student presentations.

OFFC 205A Biology in South India
India is a vast country with tremendous opportunities for studying ecology and ways in which humans practice health care and interact with the environment. This fall semester program in India offers up to 10 biology and environmental studies students a chance to work on two independent research projects chosen among several sites in southern India. Possible topics will be in the areas of rural health care, leprosy, TB, vector-borne diseases, molecular biology, agriculture, elephant/wildlife ecology, mountain ecology, medicinal plants, and sustainable development. The program starts with a four-week study and orientation session in Chennai and a rural setting that exposes students to India and Indian life. These class sessions and field trips introduce India’s history, philosophy, religion, music, customs and current politics, as well as the practical matters of getting around and getting along in India. The program fulfills two biology electives, MCS-G and WRI requirements. A fourth independent study course is possible with permission of the Program Adviser and the appropriate department.

OFFC 201A Ecuador: CILA HECUA I
This program offers students the opportunity to learn first-hand about social problems in Ecuadorian society and to explore ways in which various community groups attempt to address them. Students immerse themselves in the daily life of Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, by combining an internship designed to reflect their personal interests and learning goals with a seminar, an independent project and a home stay. For the internship, students may choose to be placed with an organization working on human rights, health needs, services for children, development of youth, or women’s, environmental or other issues. In the seminar, they study and contrast theories of social change and models of community participation, organization and development. In the independent study, they carry out field research on a topic of their choice related to those explored in the seminar. Through the home stay they gain insights into family life. All lectures are in Spanish with discussions in Spanish and English; most reading is done in Spanish. CILA provides an integrated learning experience to students of all majors who wish to gain practical experience in Latin American communities, which are struggling to cope with social change.

Religion (2)
REL 392: Spinoza Seminar

In this seminar, students will read writings by Arne Ness on the subject of Spinoza as a philosopher who anticipates deep ecology.


AS/RE 289 Buddhism, Peace, and Justice
Students examine contemporary Buddhist moral teachings on social issues such as violence and peacemaking, human rights and social justice and humanity and the environment. Coursework focuses on the writings of Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, Tibetan leader-in-exile Tenzin Gyatso (Fourteenth Dalai Lama), American ecologist Joanna Macy and others. Students consider the moral paradigms of Christianity and Buddhism: Christ and the Bodhisattva.

Sociology/Anthropology (2)
SOAN 297 Environmental Anthropology
This course introduces some of the main theoretical approaches and some practical applications of environmental anthropology. Students examine cultural and social aspects of the human-environment interface, such as different belief and value systems relating to the environment, resource conflict and management, conservation and biodiversity, agriculture and food security, and the environmental justice movement. The course also addresses methods and problems of applying research in environmental anthropology to related development, conservation, and human rights issues.

SOAN 264 Race/Class in American Culture
Students explore the continuing significance of color, class, and immigration in the U.S., with a focus on the experiences and concerns of African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Asian-Americans. The course examines the nature and functions of prejudice; the relationship among race, class and gender; the persistence of racism and inequality; and social policies and social movements intended to create greater social justice. Several class periods address environmental issues, particularly environmental racism (the ways in which discrimination against various racial minorities and the poor often involves their being subject to or living in contaminated, unhealthy, or otherwise ecologically challenging situations). A class period is also spent talking about the difference between Native American and Western views about the environment.

Statistics (1)
STAT 282 Biostatistics
Writing (2)
WRIT 111: Food Politics

Why do you eat what you eat? What does this say about you and your relationship to people, the environment, animals, and politics? Finally, how is the act of eating a political action, akin to public discourse? The theme of this writing course will explore various philosophies of food consumption and distribution, asking and debating questions about why certain communities experience obesity and abundance while others suffer from starvation and lack. We will investigate farming and agribusiness, philosophies of food consumption such as vegetarianism and the slow foods movement, and personal food and cooking habits. As a class, we will frame our discussions and writings around contemporary readings, advertisements, documentaries, film representations, fictional texts, recipes and cookbooks, and academic texts. As part of this exploration into how food and democracy go hand in hand, you will be expected to write a wide variety of genres including a food narrative, controversy analysis, researched argument, public argument, and manifesto.


WRIT 111 K: Nature Imagery and the Environment

Georgia O’Keeffe once wrote, “My center does not come from my mind – it feels in me like a plot of warm moist well tilled earth with the sun shining on it.” Many of her landscapes express this outlook and the belief she and so many Americans have shared that American culture comes to know itself best through nature and the environment. This seminar is about learning to read pictures, whether or not you know much about art, and sharing our understanding of pictures by writing ever more capably as the semesterprogresses about nature imagery from various periods of American history. A relatively short research project will combine students’ skills in reading nature imagery with insight into how groups battling over environmental and energy exploration issues have employed landscapes and pictures of animals and plants to advance their positions.


Interim
Asian Studies (1)
ASIAN 215: Asian Conversations II

Students pursue guided fieldwork experience in the country whose language they study, either Japan or China. Activities and readings in this course build on the topics from Asian Studies 210 and three semesters of language study. Students continue to explore their understanding of Asia through ethnographic observation, interviews, and site visits. Students develop projects and follow a process of inquiry that will help them understand how ordinary people construct “Asian” culture and society today. Theywill discuss environmentalissues in the United States and the ways in which they compare to those in China and Japan and other parts of Asia.Prerequisite: Asian Studies 210.


Biology (1)
ENVST/BIO 286: Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica

This course offers students the opportunity to study first-hand the most diverse ecosystems on earth. This intensive field-oriented course explores lowland rain forest, montane forest, dry forest, and coastal and agricultural ecosystems through projects and field trips. Students read and discuss texts and primary literature specific to ecology, evolution, conservation, and agricultural practices of each area, and keep reflective journals. Prerequisite: one science course. Offered in alternate years during Interim.


Environmental Studies (4)
ENVST 381: Ecocriticism and American Nature Poetry

Students in this course will learn the process of identifying and developing a research proposal focused on a significant question in ecosystem science. We will discuss how to generate good research questions and hypotheses, find and synthesize important literature sources from the library, and develop a research plan. The final produce of student activities will be a research proposal. Students will also lead and participate in discussions of current literature in ecosystem science. The content of the course will be determined in part by student interest, within the constraint that topics must address an important concept in the study of ecosystems.


ENVST 311: Global Futures

This course provides students with hands-on experience applying scientific information and skills to the development of solutions to specific environmental problems in collaboration with industry and government in the United Kingdom. Students take course modules at Cranfield University, supplemented by sessions led by a St. Olaf faculty member to synthesize information from modules and other readings as well as to develop their oral communication skills for final presentations to the Cranfield community and industry and government partners. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 137 and two 200-level courses in natural or social sciences. Offered during Interim.


ENVST/BIO 286: Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica

This course offers students the opportunity to study first-hand the most diverse ecosystems on earth. This intensive field-oriented course explores lowland rain forest, montane forest, dry forest, and coastal and agricultural ecosystems through projects and field trips. Students read and discuss texts and primary literature specific to ecology, evolution, conservation, and agricultural practices of each area, and keep reflective journals. Prerequisite: one science course. Offered in alternate years during Interim.


ENVST 137 Introduction to Environmental Studies
Introduction to Environmental Studies is a sustainability-focused course that explores a range of environmental issues in an attempt to uncover social, economic, and ecological causes, consequences, and solutions.

Norwegian (1)
NORW 244 Sami: Tradition/Transition
This interdisciplinary course explores the Sámi, an indigenous people living mainly in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Students first place the Sámi in a historical-cultural context by examining the Sámi’s social and economic systems, religion, customs, and values. The major portion of the course examines the Sámi primarily from within: the Sámi will present themselves through their literature, film, music, and art.

Off-Campus (3)
ENVST 311: Global Futures

This course provides students with hands-on experience applying scientific information and skills to the development of solutions to specific environmental problems in collaboration with industry and government in the United Kingdom. Students take course modules at Cranfield University, supplemented by sessions led by a St. Olaf faculty member to synthesize information from modules and other readings as well as to develop their oral communication skills for final presentations to the Cranfield community and industry and government partners. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 137 and two 200-level courses in natural or social sciences. Offered during Interim.


OFFC 162 Ecuador: HECUA
This course explores socioeconomic issues in Ecuador as manifested in the country’s growing inequality and the proliferation of new social movements to address this crisis. Particular emphasis will be placed on indigenous rights, gender equality, the protection and management of natural resources, and Ecuador’s new constitution. Students compare and contrast the Ecuadorian experience with developments in other parts of Latin America.

BIO 288 Equatorial Biology
Equatorial Biology offers intensive field-biology experiences within three equatorial New World environments: the Amazon rainforest, the Andes cloud forests and the Galapagos Islands. We will compare the rich biodiversity, the adaptations and natural history of species and the influence of human impact on these areas.

Religion (1)
REL 230: Christian Theology of Creation

Christians affirm that God created the world in and through Christ and continues to sustain it by the Holy Spirit. This course attends to the themes of creation and new creation in relation to Biblical texts, to problems posed by science (including evolution and Creationism), and the theological reflections of the created world as fallen and redeemed. Major attention is paid to classic and modern theological discussions of creation and new creation. The particular focus will be consumerism and its problematic dimensions when it comes to community,creation and human agency.Prerequisite: BTS-B.


Spanish (1)
SPANISH 274: Contemporary Issues in Latin America— Sustainability, Culture, Community, and the Environment

In this course, we will explore Latin American contemporary issues through the lens of
sustainability; in particular, we will focus on topics such as: food and food systems, water,
sustainable indigenous practices, globalization, and the challenges of sustainable development. Course carries ORC credit. Prerequisite: Spanish 250. Course taught in Spanish.


Spring Semester
American Conversations (2)
AMCON 102 Democratic Vistas: 1800-1900

In this century of institutional development, national expansion, and sectional conflict, Americans continued to define a national identity. Students probe the ways in which region, religion, race, ethnicity, and gender inform individual and group contributions to the conversation. They also analyze how geographical expansion and ideas of progress influenced different visions and versions of America. Topics and texts range from Transcendentalist writers, the Second Great Awakening, and Black Elk Speaks to landscape painting and Western photography.


AMCON 202 Pur/Happiness: 1920-Present

Students in this course examine technology, the mass market and consumerism, and the increasingly complex relations between identity and material goods. They also explore the images, institutions, and stories of environmental, feminist, and Civil Rights activists in the context of Cold War America. Topics and texts range from Yosemite National Park and Japanese internment camps to Adrienne Rich’s poetry and prose, Freedom Summer, Las Vegas, and the Mall of America.


Asian Studies (1)
ASIAN 220: Asian Conversations III

Having looked at how people journey through Asia, this final semester in Asian Conversations considers how ideas travel over time and space. Students examine a range of interpretations of Asia, including the spiritual, literary, philosophical and linguistics. Students are required to publicly present the ideas gathered from contacts made during Interim at the beginning of the semester. Additional materials include memoirs, novels, and films that share individualized interpretations of Asian journeys. Students will also discuss environmentalissues in the United States and the ways in which they compare to those in China and Japan and other parts of Asia.Prerequisite: Chinese 231 or Japanese 231 and Asian Studies 215 or 216.


Biology (5)
BIO 121 Biological Science

This course explores contemporary biological issues related to health and the environment, with the goal of fostering informed citizens prepared for current biological debates. Students learn the relevant biological principles in lecture and lab followed by appropriate lab or field research. Specific topics vary from year to year and may include emerging diseases, cardiovascular health, genetics, specific groups of organisms, behavior, and environmental dynamics. Biology 121 features a unit on ecology and the environment. Because this course is intended for non-majors, students are prompted to make connections between course concepts and their academic disciplines.


BIO 231 Microbiology

Microbiology examines the morphology, composition, metabolism, and genetics of microorganisms with emphasis on bacteria and viruses. Students examine the dynamic impact of microbes on humans, the immune response, and the role of microbes in the environment.


BIO 266 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

What happened to the dinosaurs? Can some human congenital heart defects be explained by reference to cardiovascular systems of diving turtles? Examining the origin and evolution of vertebrates, comparing morphology across vertebrate taxa and examining selective factors leading to modern forms is of value to health science students, graduate studies in biology, and people who like dinosaurs. Students read Your Inner Fish, a book that details the 3.5-billion-year history of the human body and the descent of human kind.


BIO 252 Plant Morphology
Plants are a diverse and important group of organisms. This course considers their evolution, emphasizing the morphology and anatomy of flowering plants. Students learn about basic techniques of data collection and analysis to investigate plant evolution: identifying plants, dissecting and staining plant structures, and using computer-based taxonomic statistics programs.

BI/ES 226 Conservation Biology
Conservation biology focuses on the study of biological diversity. Students examine why people should be concerned about the number and types of species on earth, what factors threaten the survival of species, and how people can conserve them. Using principles of ecology and evolution, with input from other disciplines, students gain a better understanding of the impact of humans on biodiversity and the importance of responsible environmental decision-making.

Chemisty (3)
CHEM 111: Chemistry and the World

Students explore aspects of chemistry that are encountered in the world. Basic concepts in chemistry, such as matter and bonding, acid/base chemistry, and solution chemistry, are discussed within the context of society at large. Laboratory experiences complement the class material, and students have opportunities to explore chemistry principles. Students attend three hours of class and one three-hour laboratory per week. Does not count toward the major. Offered annually in the spring semester.


CHEM 248 Organic Chemistry II

This course is a continuation of Chemistry 247 topics. Chemistry 248 delves into the chemistry of functional groups, especially those that play a role in the reactivity of biomolecules such as carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Together, Chemistry 247 and 248 provide a full treatment of introductory organic chemistry. Prerequisite: Chemistry 247 or permission of instructor. Offered annually in the spring semester.


CHEM 254 Synthesis Lab II

This course is a continuation of Chemistry 253. Students gain more experience with techniques used in Chemistry 253 and in addition use gas chromatographic/mass spectrometric analyses.


Economics (1)
ECON 249 Urban Economics
This class applies economic principles to issues of urban development. Topics include urban economic history, location analysis, policy analysis (especially concerning poverty, housing, transportation and education), land use controls, and macroeconomic forecasting.

Environmental Studies (8)
ENVST 381: Sustainable Agriculture and STOGROW

[Coming Soon]


ENVST 281 Topics Course: Sustainable Development

Students study topics related to the environment. Topics vary from year to year at the discretion of the instructor. Topics may include Environment and Theology, Environmental Justice, Ecotourism, and Literature of the Poles.


ENVST 222 Campus Ecology

Campus Ecology explores key concepts of ecology, focusing explicitly on the ideal of ecological sustainability for the St. Olaf campus. Students attend both to contemporary environmental issues and to the ideas and institutions that shape human resource use. Working groups research topics such as curriculum, clothes, cars, water, waste, food, energy, procurement, and landscape in the context of American religious and environmental values.


ENVST 245 Global Climate Change

This course is an interdisciplinary seminar on climate throughout the earth’s history, including recent changes caused by humankind. Using current scientific literature, students investigate causes of climate change and consider scenarios for future climate based on models incorporating alternative global development strategies.


ENVST 276 Environmental Politics

Analysis of environmental policy includes the politics of agenda setting, policy selection and program implementation, and the effects of policy outcomes.


ENVST 399 Seminar: Environmental Studies

A capstone seminar for seniors in the major and concentration, this course involves intensive study of special topics utilizing student research projects and presentations. An academic civic engagement project relies on the expertise gained from their environmental studies courses and work in other majors as applicable. Topics relate to a local or regional environmental issue, providing participants with opportunities to interact with government and regulatory agencies and community groups.


ENVST 137 Introduction to Environmental Studies
Introduction to Environmental Studies is a sustainability-focused course that explores a range of environmental issues in an attempt to uncover social, economic, and ecological causes, consequences, and solutions.

BI/ES 226 Conservation Biology
Conservation biology focuses on the study of biological diversity. Students examine why people should be concerned about the number and types of species on earth, what factors threaten the survival of species, and how people can conserve them. Using principles of ecology and evolution, with input from other disciplines, students gain a better understanding of the impact of humans on biodiversity and the importance of responsible environmental decision-making.

Exercise Science - Activity (1)
ESAC 106 Rock Climbing

Students learn basic rock climbing skills, techniques, and safety procedures.


German (3)
GERM 250: Speaking German

The focus of German 250 will be “Green Germany,” and the many ways Germany exports sustainable energy and German “know-how” across the planet, investing in everything sustainable.This course is designed to teach speaking strategies and bring students to an Intermediate-high level of oral proficiency through practice in everyday communication such as telling stories, giving reports, and organizing social events. The course focuses on higher-order functions such as paragraph-length narration, presenting opinions, small group discussion, and formal presentations, as well as interviews, debates, and regular group conversations with classroom guests and speakers. Taught in German.


GERM 112: Beginning German II

Students continue to develop basic language skills with emphasis on expanding vocabulary and on writing assignments that aid in the practical application of grammatical concepts. Communicating in German about familiar personal topics, students acquire vocabulary about sports, food, holidays, school, and life in German speaking cultures. German 112 features a unit on the environment (die Umwelt,) which focuses on sustainable living in Germany.


GERM 111B: Beginning German

Students begin to learn German through listening, speaking, reading, and writing about situations familiar to them including their personal biographies, families, daily life, studies, travels, and hobbies. Regular writing assignments are designed to help students learn vocabulary, check spelling, and to form thoughts with German sentence structure. Regular speaking activities aid in acquiring good pronunciation and listening skills. German 111B features two units on the environment (die Umwelt,) with a focus on sustainable living in Germany.


History (1)
HIST 275 American Environmental History

By examining the interaction of people and environment on the North American continent from the 15th century to the present, this course shows how history “takes place” in ecological contexts that change over time. Students compare Native American and Euro-American religious beliefs, social values, economic aspirations, and technological developments and examine their consequences for the flora, fauna, and peoples of the continent.


Math (3)
MATH 230 Differential Equations
This course introduces differential equations and analytical, numerical, and graphical techniques for the analysis of their solutions. First- and second-order differential equations and linear systems are studied. Applications are selected from areas such as biology, chemistry, economics, ecology, and physics. Laplace transforms or nonlinear systems may be covered as time permits. Students use computers extensively to calculate and visualize results. Differential Equations addresses problems and applications concerning modeling of populations and resource harvesting.

MATH 126 Calculus II

This course covers methods and applications of integration, geometric and Taylor series, and introduces partial derivatives and double integrals. Calculus II addresses problems and applications concerning modeling of populations and resource harvesting.


MATH 236 Math of Biology

This course introduces students to the mathematics of complex systems, as applied to problems from biology. Topics include discrete and continuous models of single species and multiple species populations, age structure of populations, disease spread, evolution and game theory, and competition.


Media (1)
MEDIA 360 Media and Globalization
Media and Globalization includes a unit on media and the environment. This unit looks at how mediated representations of nature inform debates about environmental issues, and considers economic and social aspects of environmental sustainability from various global perspectives.

Nursing (1)
NURS 120 Images of Wellness

This course examines how contemporary culture influences present-day wellness perspectives. Values, lifestyle, daily stresses, and corresponding coping mechanisms affecting one’s well being are explored. Students study health behaviors as a function of social influences and, conversely, the impact of unhealthy coping behaviors on the social enterprise. This course also includes an exploration of wellness from the perspective of non-western cultures. Students examine the importance of living in accordance with one’s operative values, along with the relationship between environmental quality and wellness.


Off-Campus (5)
OFFC 388D US: Washington Institute
The Institute for Experiential Learning (IEL), founded in 1990, provides experiential education programs and academic-based internships in Washington, DC. Designed for participants with interests in all fields of study, the program consists of two coordinated seminars and a four-day-per-week internship in the executive and legislative branches of government embassies or various organizations related to business, law and social development. Four St. Olaf course credits are awarded for the 15 semester hours.

OFFC 287A Norway SUST I HECUA
The Scandinavian Urban Studies Term (SUST) investigates dramatic changes in Northern Europe by critically analyzing the development of the Norwegian welfare state through a wide range of topics such as globalization theories, nation-building and national identity, governance and political party systems, European integration, racial thinking, histories of racialization, international aid politics, sexuality, and environmentalism. The topical organization of the program is cumulative and deliberately contradictory, illuminating the international relevance of the Scandinavian case study.

OFFC 287 Norway: SUST Year HECUA
The Scandinavian Urban Studies Term (SUST) investigates dramatic changes in Northern Europe by critically analyzing the development of the Norwegian welfare state through a wide range of topics such as globalization theories, nation-building and national identity, governance and political party systems, European integration, racial thinking, histories of racialization, international aid politics, sexuality, and environmentalism. The topical organization of the program is cumulative and deliberately contradictory, illuminating the international relevance of the Scandinavian case study.

OFFC 202F Ecuador: HECUA II

This course explores socioeconomic issues in Ecuador as manifested in the country’s growing inequality and the proliferation of new social movements to address this crisis. Particular emphasis will be placed on indigenous rights, gender equality, the protection and management of natural resources, and Ecuador’s new constitution. Students compare and contrast the Ecuadorian experience with developments in other parts of Latin America.


OFFC 208F Costa Rica: Trop Field II

The spring program is designed for advanced work in the natural and social sciences. Costa Rica supports an extraordinary variety of plant and animal life and provides rich research opportunities for students of tropical biology and ecology. An equally broad range of research topics is available for students of anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, geology, history, political science, and sociology. Students prepare for their research during a month-long orientation, which includes intensive language training, and a review of fieldwork methodology.


Philosophy (1)
PHIL 257 Environmental Ethics
Valuing nature raises significant philosophical and ethical issues. This course considers the nature of animal life, the character and control of pollution, the conflict between preservation and conservationism, corporate and governmental responsibility for the eco-crisis, the use of economic categories to assess wilderness areas and endangered species, the conflict between eco-holism and individualism, and the philosophy of wilderness management.

Religion (2)
REL 121: The Bible and Salvation
REL 218 Political/Liberation Theology

This course examines the rise of political and liberation theology movements, the situations and issues to which they respond, theological formulations of political/liberation theologies and the relationship of these theologies to traditional Christian doctrines. Special focus on the relationship between the theological and political, nature of christology and redemption, images and role of God and understandings of human nature. Political and Liberation Theology explores authors who take up ecofeminism as part of the syllabus.


Science Conversation (1)
SCICN 217 Cultural Context

This course examines the mutual influences of science and society while exploring the historical, political, economic, and religious aspects of these influences. It concerns the institutional settings that shape the practices of science and the vocation of scientists. It analyzes theological perspectives as they appropriate, resist, and advance science.


Sociology/Anthropology (1)
SOAN 264 Race/Class in American Culture
Students explore the continuing significance of color, class, and immigration in the U.S., with a focus on the experiences and concerns of African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Asian-Americans. The course examines the nature and functions of prejudice; the relationship among race, class and gender; the persistence of racism and inequality; and social policies and social movements intended to create greater social justice. Several class periods address environmental issues, particularly environmental racism (the ways in which discrimination against various racial minorities and the poor often involves their being subject to or living in contaminated, unhealthy, or otherwise ecologically challenging situations). A class period is also spent talking about the difference between Native American and Western views about the environment.

Writing (2)
WRIT 111: Food Politics

Why do you eat what you eat? What does this say about you and your relationship to people, the environment, animals, and politics? Finally, how is the act of eating a political action, akin to public discourse? The theme of this writing course will explore various philosophies of food consumption and distribution, asking and debating questions about why certain communities experience obesity and abundance while others suffer from starvation and lack. We will investigate farming and agribusiness, philosophies of food consumption such as vegetarianism and the slow foods movement, and personal food and cooking habits. As a class, we will frame our discussions and writings around contemporary readings, advertisements, documentaries, film representations, fictional texts, recipes and cookbooks, and academic texts. As part of this exploration into how food and democracy go hand in hand, you will be expected to write a wide variety of genres including a food narrative, controversy analysis, researched argument, public argument, and manifesto.


WRIT 111 K: Nature Imagery and the Environment

Georgia O’Keeffe once wrote, “My center does not come from my mind – it feels in me like a plot of warm moist well tilled earth with the sun shining on it.” Many of her landscapes express this outlook and the belief she and so many Americans have shared that American culture comes to know itself best through nature and the environment. This seminar is about learning to read pictures, whether or not you know much about art, and sharing our understanding of pictures by writing ever more capably as the semesterprogresses about nature imagery from various periods of American history. A relatively short research project will combine students’ skills in reading nature imagery with insight into how groups battling over environmental and energy exploration issues have employed landscapes and pictures of animals and plants to advance their positions.