The program is poised to meet the needs of an expanding student market as mainstream interest in sustainability is rapidly growing, said Dominican’s Provost Dr. Kenneth Porada.
“We are seeing increased student interest in acquiring interdisciplinary knowledge, practical information, and skills related to sustainability,” Dr. Porada said. “The addition of this program will enable Dominican to enhance our comprehensive leadership in socially and environmentally responsible green education.”
The program joins Dominican’s growing number of program options in sustainability, including the Green MBA (MBA in Sustainable Enterprise) and the Sustainable Enterprise Certificate programs initiated in fall 2007.
The Sustainable Communities program, which will be housed in the Department of Humanities, integrates environmental education with cultural analysis, public policy, social action, and project-based learning.
The two-year upper division program will be offered on weekends through Dominican’s Pathways program for adult learners. Dominican anticipates enrolling 20-25 students in the first Sustainable Communities cohort. Students must have at least 70 lower-division units to enter the program. The program will debut in the 2008 – 2009 academic year.
Students will enroll in core courses as well as in one of two concentrations: Ecological Food Systems or EcoDwelling.
“The Sustainable Communities BA seeks to provide our students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to be effective social change agents able to help humankind undertake the transition to sustainability with intelligence, compassion, and creativity, protecting the natural environment while advancing the cause of social justice,” said architect Carol Venolia, who will teach EcoDwelling in the program.
The core courses examine cultural ecology, global economic literacy and international governance, sustainable land management, and sustainable communities.
The Ecological Food Systems Concentration examines alternatives to the current industrial agricultural system. Students graduate from the two-year course series prepared to regenerate culture through their work as farmers, educators, policy designers, land stewards, and urban and community food security professionals. Courses include eco-literacy and community nutrition, ecological agriculture, and agro-ecology.
The EcoDwelling Concentration explores ways to work with sun, wind, water, earth, and the living world to shelter, heat, cool, and nourish ourselves without harming the environment. Through design projects, hands-on building experiences, lecture/discussions, and mentoring meetings, students are encouraged to implement their evolving visions of sustainable dwelling. This is not an architecture program, but it can complement architectural training. Courses include ecological design and building, dwelling design with natural systems, ecological building concepts and skills, eco-home design, and an eco-design/build project.
In addition to classwork, there are co-curricular activities, service learning projects, community outreach, public events, and career/internship opportunities. Students will work in cohorts in order to encourage development of a sense of community among students moving through the program together.