Integral Ecology & Sustainability

Course Sampling


Aerial Photo of XU's CampusBiology Department

Life: Ecology and People (BIOL 120/136)

An exploration of critical environmental issues that affect our world today, through a study of ecological principles and their interaction with human society, especially considering the ethical, political, and economic aspects.

Ecology (BIOL 250/251)

A course on the relationships between organisms and their living and non-living environments. Laboratory and field exercises to illustrate ecological principles. Local aquatic and terrestrial habitats are investigated.

Introduction to Environmental Science (BIOL 260/261)

In this introductory course, students will focus on the study of the natural environment, specifically how living and nonliving components on Earth are interconnected. Students will examine how natural and human activities alter these natural systems resulting in environmental problems at both local and global scales. Students will be introduced to concepts of sustainability and solutions for current and future environmental problems that humanity will encounter.

  • Lab: In this course, students will gain hands-on experience in environmental science topics through observation and experimentation in the field and laboratory, data collection and analysis, communication of results and discussions on current environmental issues. Students will also be exposed to various local environmental organizations and issues through guest speakers and field trips.

Environmental Studies Seminar (BIOL 398)

An environmental issue is selected and explored in depth. The seminar uses a multidisciplinary approach that analyzes the ecological, economic, and ethical consequences of the problem so that students gain an appreciation for both the interconnectedness and the complexity of environmental problems.


Chemistry Department

Chemistry: Environment and Energy (CHEM 102/103)

The relationship between chemistry and contemporary society.


Economics Department

Natural Resource Economics (ECON 320)

This course emphasizes the efficient use of natural resources to benefit mankind's well-being. Also considered are the circumstances in which markets may not work to achieve this efficiency, the so-called 'market failure' issue, and consequently the kinds of government policies that might be needed to correct such failure. As an economics and environmental studies course, this course provides important insights as to how to best manage natural resources to serve the interests of the members of society. And, as an Ethics/Religion and Society focus elective, it will help us appreciate alternative points of view with respect to how mankind and natural resources should coexist.

Environmental Economics and Policy (ECON 421)

Analysis of concepts and models concerning economics and the environment, with applications to policy questions. Further covering and expanding on topics from ECON 320. Students will work on an experiential project throughout the course of the semester, with a government, corporate or non-profit organization, implementing sustainable practices focused on; Efficient Allocation, Sustainable Scale and Just Distribution. Project work will focus on particular natural resources or ecosystem services.


History Department

Bicycling Our Bioregion

In ten tours, students will learn about the layers of history and sustainability in our region. Each day readings and riding will intersect to address the historical and contemporary relationship between people and place. Students must have their own bicycle in good riding condition. No special training or fitness necessary. Rides will range from 6 to 20 miles roundtrip and will proceed at a pace that any student in normal health can manage. Upon registration, more detailed information will be sent to ensure students are prepared and excited about the first day of class. 

Urban Ecologies and Economies

This course is an historical investigation of the intersections, collisions, and synergies between urban ecologies and urban economies. With an eye on the future of the city as a form of settlement and a means of production, the course focuses mainly but not exclusively on American cities, including Cincinnati.

US Environmental History

Survey of the history of the United States focuses on the interaction between human societies and the non-human natural world. It covers many of the traditional topics in American history, including the clash of cultures in the colonial era, the Revolution and its aftermath, commercial and geographic expansion, and the Civil War, but always with an emphasis on the role of the environment in shaping human action and interaction. Themes will include changing and conflicting ideas about nature, the role of natural wealth in the development of American civilization, and the various forms of exploitation of human and natural resources.


Management Department

Managing For Sustainability (MGMT 322)

This course provides an overview of the issues faced by business managers related to the topic of Triple Bottom Line Sustainability: economic vitality, environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility. The course emphasizes experiential learning and practical application of concepts.

Global Supply Chain Management (MGMT 333)

This course provides undergraduate business students with a thorough introduction to the field of Supply Chain Management with an emphasis on current practice and emerging trends. Course topics will include supply chain design and strategies in a global business environment; selection and management of supply chain partners; inventory, warehousing, and materials management; logistics and transport systems; information flows and technology; and measurement of supply chain performance with regard to quality, responsiveness, cost, and sustainability.


Physics Department

Our Universe: The Earth (PHYS 108/109)

This course will examine natural and human-induced causes affecting the environment from a physics/engineering perspective. Students will first address the way science interfaces with the climate change, energy policy and sustainability, urban infrastructure, environmental health and the impact of developing economies, and the role of technology and scientific innovation in addressing the environmental problems.


Sustainability Department

Cultural Studies and Sustainability (SUST 301)

Drawing on sociology, literary criticism, history, and postcolonialism studies, students will examine the relation between sustainability and theories of culture as a site of resistance and negotiation where different groups compete for recognition, representation, and power. Students will consider sustainability as a cultural construction, and compare different
cultural processes and practices surrounding the notion of sustainability.

Sustainable Development (SUST 401)

Drawing on fields such as development studies, anthropology, geography, corporate social responsibility, and management studies, this course will aim to provide students with an understanding of the histories of negotiations, complex governance structures, and politics surrounding global pursuits for sustainable futures.

Topics in Sustainability (SUST 460-465)

One credit courses offered each semester (3 in the Fall, 3 in the Spring) with topics ranging from Sustainable Product Development to LEED Building Design. Students have the opportunity to take one or all of the classes, taught by experienced professionals in the Sustainability industry in Cincinnati.

Capstone Experience: Sustainability (SUST 495)

This course is designed to help students prepare their capstone paper and presentation in sustainability, fulfilling a (3 credit hour) requirement of both the BA in Economics, Sustainability and Society (ECOS) and the BSBA in Sustainability: Economics and Management (SUST) majors. The capstone paper/presentation will be based on a topic for which the student has had direct experience. Through classroom and one-on-one faculty discussions, guidance will be provided that enables the student to complete a scholarly research paper to include a concise thesis statement, data collection and analysis, and exposition. Students will present their work to colleagues and relevant business/government/community contacts. The capstone course will provide students an opportunity to have in-depth discussions in their area of interest and develop oral and written communication skills.  Check out the students topics for their capstones from spring 2019!


Theology Department

Sacred Ground and New Story

To better understand the environment and the harm being done to it. To better integrate Christian beliefs with environmental concerns.

Science, Civilizations, and Sustainability

Civilizations are shaped by many forces- government, religion, economics, environment, and worldviews. Modern Western civilization has been shaped by influences that are unique to the West but also influences that are drawn from other civilizations. One of the principal forces that shapes civilizations is science - this is particularly true of the modern West with its own version of techno-science. Civilizations thrive and civilizations collapse. What answers - and threats- come from "science"? Is our own civilization destined to collapse under its own social and ecological weight? What might we learn from other civilizations that might help us avoid such a destiny? We will approach these and related questions from three scholarly specializations in an interdisciplinary course.