Across the Curriculum

Dickinson offers over 100 courses each academic year that help students gain knowledge about sustainability concepts, problems and solutions while building competencies and dispositions for creating a sustainable world. Over time, these courses have been integrated throughout the Dickinson curriculum in over 39 academic departments. In fall 2015, the Class of 2019 onward will be required to take a sustainability course as part of the general degree requirements.

These courses address the question, “How do we improve the human condition equitably in this and future generations, while conserving environmental systems necessary to support healthy and vibrant societies?”

Dickinson offers numerous courses in arts and humanities, social sciences and laboratory sciences that explore the different dimensions of sustainability from a variety of perspectives. Over 96%* of our Class of 2015 graduates took a sustainability course during their studies at Dickinson, without requirement (*this doesn't include courses taken abroad).

Dickinson students can identify sustainability courses using the course designations Sustainability Investigations (SINV) or Sustainability Connections (SCON) when conducting an online course search.

Faculty designate these courses each semester using our Sustainability Course Designation process. These two categories of course designation differ in the degree to which sustainability is a focus.

Sustainability Investigations:

Sustainability Investigations (SINV) courses engage students in deep and focused study of problems of sustainability as a major emphasis of the course. They may focus on a selected dimension of sustainability, but do so in context with and reference to the three major dimensions of sustainability: social (including cultural), economic and environmental. Many of these courses use sustainability or sustainable development as an explicit lens through which to examine questions about society, economic and human development, science and technology, or human interactions with the environment. But courses that use other paradigms may also be considered to be Sustainability Investigations courses if they examine social, economic, and environmental dimensions of questions about meeting human needs in a world of finite resources and complex, interconnected systems.

Sustainability Connections:

Sustainability Connections (SCON) courses engage students in making connections between the main topic of the course and sustainability by using assignments, selected readings, problems, examples, case studies, or a unit to explore questions within the broader context of the course about human interactions with the environment and their consequences for social, economic or environmental objectives. Often the explorations draw on knowledge and perspectives from more than one discipline, but can be rooted in a single discipline. Sustainability Connections courses may focus on all or just one of the dimensions of sustainability ­ social, economic or environmental ­ but with reference to at least one of the other dimensions. Sustainability is a significant but generally not a major emphasis of Sustainability Connections courses.