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Spring Semester Course Descriptions for Undergraduates and Gap Year Students

Leading and Learning for Transformation and Resilience

Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill social science, education, leadership, or environmental studies requirements – 3 credits

This course surveys models of education and leadership and their roles in the sustainability movement. It also introduces the holistic, experiential, and progressive education model used by the Expedition Education Institute. The living and learning community provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to develop their skills and practices as leaders, learners, and advocates. Through experiential learning cycles of action and reflection, students collaboratively explore transformative approaches to education and leadership for change.

Learning Community as Personal and Social Change

Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill social science, education, outdoor leadership, psychology, or environmental studies requirements – 3 credits

This course explores the learning community model and how it supports deep learning, personal development, and cultural change. Students learn group development theory and practice facilitation, decision-making, cooperative communication, and conflict resolution skills. They become skilled in outdoor community living and learning. Trust, including the honoring of our commitments to one another, emerges as a foundation of our efforts. Students gain the experience and knowledge necessary to establish healthy communities in other settings.


Culture and the Environment

Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill social science, anthropology, sociology, human ecology, or environmental studies requirements – 3 credits

Cultures shape the ways humans interact with the land, and historically, they have been closely adapted to their local environment. Students investigate the ways that culture can support a sustainable society by exploring dominant US culture, regional subcultures and past and present local indigenous cultures. We look especially at the implied environmental ethics of cultural practices and beliefs. Students consider approaches to changing our culture to promote sustainability and whether their own unexamined beliefs and actions are in line with their environmental values.

Sustainable Solutions to Environmental Concerns

Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill environmental science, environmental studies, or sustainability requirements – 3 credits

This course explores the social, economic, and ecological conditions that lead to environmental degradation and how these conditions impact potential solutions. Students learn about and experience firsthand numerous regional environmental concerns centered around land use practices, water issues, agricultural practices, and energy production. They also investigate environmental justice issues in rural areas, urban centers, and Native American communities. We will have the opportunity to see innovative approaches at many levels, from the top-down, large-scale approach of Federal policy making to bottom-up, small-scale approaches of permaculture and indigenous seed banks.

Living and Water Systems of the Southwest

Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill natural science, ecology, or environmental studies requirements – 3 credits

The plains, deserts, and grasslands of the Southwest have a flora and fauna ingeniously adapted to live in its varied and harsh environments. Through investigation and observation, students come to appreciate these adaptations and to see them as a model for creating resilient human societies. The water systems of the Southwest are also severely stressed by climate change and overexploitation. We explore the conflicts between human water use and the maintenance of healthy local ecosystems.

Each course is designed to earn 3 credits. The full semester program is designed to earn 15 credits.

The five courses are a package deal; they cover the breadth and depth of our experiences, supporting each individual and the whole learning community to extend the learning beyond what is possible through single modes of learning in separate courses.


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