Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 47.51
Liaison Chris Frantsvog
Submission Date May 1, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Luther College
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.79 / 14.00 Jon Jensen
Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies
Philosophy, Environmental Studies
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Figures required to calculate the percentage of courses with sustainability content::
Undergraduate Graduate
Total number of courses offered by the institution 668 0
Number of sustainability courses offered 7 0
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 36 0

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer at least one sustainability course and/or course that includes sustainability (at any level):

Total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer courses (at any level):

Number of years covered by the data:

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its course offerings with sustainability content (and course descriptions):
An inventory of the institution's course offerings with sustainability content (and course descriptions):
Afrıcana Studıes
AFRS 172 History of Modern Africa
This course surveys the history of sub-saharan Africa from the 1880s to the present. The course examines African life under European colonial domination (from about 1880 to 1960) and under independent states which succeeded colonial governments after 1960. A primary aim of this course is to explore the diversity of human experience in Africa during the colonial and post-colonial periods. This course makes use of several primary documents to portray ways in which men and women have dealt with the challenges of living in the 20th and 21st century Africa.

AFRS 221 Anthropology in East Africa: Culture Change Among the Maasai
The Maasai pastoralists of Tanzania and Kenya are experiencing rapid culture changes in response to global, national and local forces. In this course we will study "traditional" Maasai culture and examine the ways in which the Maasai of northern Tanzania are adapting to changing social, political, economic and environmental conditions. Topics to be explored include the shift from herding to agropastoralism; the tension between traditional and formal modes of education; the adoption of Christianity in place of or alongside traditional and formal modes of education; the adoption of Christianity in place of or alongside traditional religion; changes in coming-of-age rituals; cultural dimensions, health, illness, and healing; challenges to traditional gender ideology; the Maasai relatinship to their environment; and the impacts of ecotourism, cultural tourism, and wildlife conservation programs on the pastoral way of life. From bases near the city of Arusha and the small town of Monduli students will interact with Maasai people in urban and rural marketplaces; in schools, medical facilities, and places of worship; and at Maasai bomas (family compounds) in the bush. We will also visit the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation area and the Oldoinyo Lengai volcano and pilgrimate routes in order to explore the tension between pastoralism, wildlife conservation programs, and tourism.

AFRS 235 Destiny or Deliverance? Civil Rights and Black Power in the United States
In this course, we will ask whether the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Era were America's destiny (toward which it has always been headed), a deliverance rescuing America from its racist past, or something altogether different. Did the end of Jim Crow change American lfe or did it actually hide fundamental, on-going racial strife in American society. In an attempt to answer these questions, we will cover the mass protests of the 1930s and 40s, the direct action campaigns of the 1950s and 60s, and black liberation struggles that stretched into the '70s. We will do this by analyzing media such as speeches, music, film, television, oral histories and photography

ANTH 101 Cultural Anthropology
A study in what it means to be human, this course uses the concept of culture to account for the tremendous variety of practices and beliefs throughout the world. Students will also examine patterns in human behavior, addressing cultural simlarities as well as cultural differences. Course content provides insight into how cultural anthropologists do what they do - what methods they use to study culture and what ethical issues they may encounter while doing so. Students will be expected to engage some of these anthropological methods through completion of an ethnographic research project over the course of the semester.
ANTH 203 Environmental Anthropology
The study of the environment in ahtorpology addresses problems that not only threaten our ecology but also human existence on the planet. This course will demonstrate the importance of anthropological theory and practice for solving environmental problems and for understanding people's responses to them. The course will begin by laying the theoretical foundations of environmental/ecological anthropology. Then it will be structured around what are seen in anthropology as the key environmental questions arising from increased interaction and unequal exchange among widely different cultures; population growth, economic development and underdevelopment, the loss of viodiversity, environmental management, the future of indigenous peoples, environmental campaigns and collaborations within the context of the politics of natural resources, and the connections between consumption and globalization.

ANTH 204 Native Peoples of North America
The history and culture of Native Americans extending from the initial settlement of the Western Hemisphere to the present. The major emphasis of the course is on the definition of belief systems and values that account for the distinctiveness of the Native American experience.

ANTH 205 Religion and Culture
What is religion? When and how did it develop? Is religion a human universal? What features, if any, are common to all religions? How and why do religions change, and what happens when different systems of religious belief and practice come into contact? This introduction to the anthropology of religion explores these questions and others through in-depth case studies from the ethnographic literature, comparisons made across cultures, and the theoretical works of anthropologists and other scholars. Though some attention is given to the world's major religions, the course emphasizes the religious traditions of indigenous peoples around the globe.

ANTH 305 Social and Cultural Change
A specialized study of cultural and social factors - as various national and social elitism, consumerism, and revolution - which promote change in technical and nontechnical societies. Both theories and case studies are used to explore the processes and effects of energy flow, cultural integration, social innovation, diffusion and other accommodations related to social change.

BIO 112 Insects, Humans, and the Environment
A study of relationships among insects, humans and the environment. Using insects as a model, biological concepts such as evolution, form and function, genetics, development, natural history., biodiversity and conservation will be covered. Includes a presentation of why insects are so successful, giving attention to their behavior and ecological roles in natural, impacts on human society as causes of famines, plagues, and epidemics, and importance in human cultures. Laboratory includes field trips and an investigative approach to learning insect biology.

BIO 140 Introduction to Ecology of the Southwest
Field study of the ecology of the arid Southwest, with a focus on adaptations of orgaisms to arid conditions and understanding the challenges of setting environmental policy. Course activities include hiking in the deserts, mountains and riparian areas of Arizona; daily readings and discussions; a paper exploring the ethical dimensions of environmental policy; and a research project thta may be qualitative.

BIO 151 Principles of Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity
An exploration of the diversity of lfe, its origins, and interactions among organisms and their environment. We introduce key concepts in evolution and ecology, provide an overview of the features of major taxonomic groups and their evolutionary relationships, and explore some of the practical and ethical implications of biodiversity. Through laboratory and field investigations, students develop their ability to make observations, analyze data, read primary literature and communicate results.

BIO 365 Ecology
A study of the complex patterns and processes in the natural world. We examine questions about the distribution and abundance of species and communities, the transfer of matter and energy in ecosystems, and how these relate to biodiversity.

CHEM 114 The Environment: A Chemical Perspective
A study of the environment with emphasis on the relationship between technology and our surroundings. Laboratory work may include field studies in the surrounding area. The course is designed for non-science students with little or no science background.

ECON 255 Environmental Economics
The application of economic principles to environmental issues. Valuable of environmental damage and environmental improvements, including nonmarket approaches. Methods of environmental regulation, such as taxes, standards and transferable permits. Other topics such as climate change and species loss may also be covered.

ENG247 Lıterature and Ecology
What kinds of stories hep us to confront, ignore, deny, or re-imagine the ecological challenges we fac? How do we use narratives and poetry to perceive and imagine ecosystems? And why do we think things like mountains, wind turbines, fjords, limestome, bonovos, the influenza virus or snow-globes are beautiful or ugly, natural or unnatural? This course explores how literature and other cultural texts shape the ways we think about and act in the biophysical world and the systems that comprise it. Readings will vary but may come from traditions of nature writing; explorations of place, space, and time; connections between religion and ecology; relationships linking literature and science, and intersections of ecology and social issues like ability, class, gender and race.

Envıronmental Studıes
ENVS 130 Environmental Forays
In this course students will explore the relationship between humans and the physical environment by 1) reading seminal texts that address this relationship, such as A Sand County Almanac and Silent Spring, 2) studying basic ideas and concepts central to environmental studies and 3) using the prairie-forest border region of Northeast Iowa as a laboratory for investigating how humans interact with the natural world.

ENVS 133 Environmental Conservation
An introduction to conservation of the natural environment. Emphasizing ecological principles, the course covers the history of environmental conservation, the soil, air and water components of the biosphere, and biological diversity. Laboratory/field trips emphasize the ecology of major habitats of northeastern Iowa and human efforts to solve environmental problems.

ENVS 134 Environmental Geology
Just as the physical environment impacts human activities, so too do our actions influence our surroundings. In this course we will seek to understand geologic processes and the ways in which humans interact with them. We will also explore the unique geology and physica geography of northeast Iowa during labs and field trips.

ENVS 215 Environmental Education
An introduction to the theory and practice of environmental education while providing a foundation of basic environmental science content. Emphasis is placed on learning local and regional natural history as well as phenology and basic ecological processes. Students gain skills and learn methods necessary to effectively teach about the natural world. Focus is placed on planning and implementing environmental education programs, inquiry and interdisciplinary approaches and place-based education. The course will include training for environmental curricula such as Project Wild and Project Wet.

ENVS 220 Environmental Geochemistry
In this course we will focus on chemical reactions in the environment in order to understand the properties and behavior of air, soil and water. We will apply this understanding to environmental issues such as resource extraction, energy production, toxic waste disposal, and climate engineering while also exploring the ways in which chemistry can be used as a tool to increase our understanding of environmental processes, both in the present and in Earth's geologic past.

ENVS 230 Earth Systems and the Environment
This course focuses on 1)the operation of the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere within the context of the Earth system as a whole, 2) how the operation of these systems may change over time and 3) how human activities influence and are influenced by these systems. We will draw on the immense field laboratory of the Italian peninsula to explore Earth System processes from the deep geologic past to the present. Course work will be based primarily on field observations and analysis.

ENVS 310 Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet
Among the planets of our solar system, the Earth along has remained hospitable to life throughout its long history. What processes and feedbacks have consistently maintained conditions on the Earth's surface within the bounds required for the survival of life. From the earliest Earth to the modern day, we will explore the intertwined histories of life, atmospheric chemistry, geologic processes, and the climate system. Additional emphasis on the scientific techniques used to reconstruct Earth history.

ENVS 320 Soil Genesis, Morphology, and Classification
Simply put, life depends on soil. Soils effectively link the physical, biological and chemical environments and the study of soils is paramount to understanding and integrating concepts in archaeology, biology, chemistry, geology and environmental science. Students will gain a basic understanding of soil formation processes and the relationship between soils and other Earth systems as well as conducting basic field description of soils and interpreting the environmental history recorded in soil profiles.

ENVS 485 Seminar
This course will be an interdisciplinary seminar for students completing the environmental studies major or minor. It will be topical in nature and will combine lecture and seminar approaches to the exploration of environmental issues and policies. Students may complete more than one seminar.

Ethics and Pub Life
EPL 450 Global Citizenship
This course is designed for students who have lived or spent a semester or more studying abroad. It will enable students to reflect on how their immersion in a foreign culture has affected their values and vocation. By combining practial experiences with scholarly and artistic works, students will a) reflect on the role of culture, b) think about the articulate and application of values in the public spherec 3) xplore the relation among politics, economics, culture and society, and d) develop their own ethical perspectives as "global citizens." There will be a heavy emphasis on writing, group work and oral presentations.

HIST 291 Envıronmental Hıstory
This course introduces students to the field of environmental history. Students will examine the ways in which humans, plants, animals and microbiota have acted as agents ni the history of the world. The course emphasizes historical developments after 1300 and especially investigates the role of science, colonialism, capitalism, and the state in changing the physical state of the environment and the ways humans understand their surroundings.

International Studies
IS 230 Intro to Internatıonal Studıes
An introduction to the field of international studies, focusing on global and geographical literacy and using multiple disciplinary approaches to analyze such issues as war and peace, environmental sustainability, economic development, post-Colonialism, world religions and cultural identity.

Paid 450 Green Germany: Advanced Models of Sustainability
This course will survey social structures that have historically supported and promoted environmental pollution and destruction, particularly in Europe, and will draw on similarities between the German and American situations. Students will study and visit environmentally sustainable projects and engage with political parties and local citizen organizations in Germany, Iceland and Denmark. Central to the course are ethical issues in the development of environmentally sustainable projects, including both the immediate impacts and long term implications on the local populations. The group will be based in Husum, northern Germany, a major wind enery center, and will visit Hamburg Berlin, Denmark and Iceland.

Paid 450Ethics and Technology
Technologies pervade modern life. They buzz in our pockets, heat our food, transport us across vast distances, but also change the atmosphere of the planet. Are they merely means that contribute to our fulfillment of the good life? Or do some technologies and the mindset that accompanies them diminish what it means to be human? How should we assess technologies ethically? To what extent do technologies illumine, exacerbate, create or resolve moral problems? this course explores questions like these as they arise in the areas of globalization, economics and human rights; computers, robotics, and information technology; biotechnology and genetic engineering and population, energy and the environment.

Paid 450 Here on Earth: Vocation in a Sustainable Global Community
This course explores texts, including films that reveal the interdependence between people and communities as we strive to nurture well-being on our planet Earth. Discussion will be framed by the concept of vocation and will draw on the experiences of local individuals who are committed to some form of "social" sustainability in their life's work. This exploration will lead to the question, "How can educated, morally serious people discern their roles in a global community."

PHIL 140 Environmental Philosophy
A study of the philosophical response to the environmental crisis. The course begins with a survey of environmental problems and a brief history of the environmental movement. It then examines various philosophical attempts to reevaluate human attitudes and responsibilities toward the nonhuman environment.

Political Science
POLS 132 Global Politics
This course will introduce students to 1) global issues, with examination of themes like globalization, economic development and poverty, global warming, ethnic conflict, democratization and war, and 2) global governance, with an emphasis on the role of states, nonstate actors and multilateral institutions.

POLS 258 Environmental Politics and Policy
In this course, students will identify and examine environmental issues confrontin the United States, as well as the larger world. Students will identify and evaluate both current and proposed policies for addressing those issues. We will pay particular attention to the range of actors involved in the making of environmental policy and will emphasize the relationship among politics, economics, ethics, and science in the making of environmental policies in the United States and internationally.

REL 235 Science and Religion
Ever since the rise of modern science in the 17th century, a lively debate has ensued in the West centered on supposed conflicts between the methos and content of science and those of religion. Can the universe be explained by appeal to natural processes alone or is it necessary to posit the reality of a non-material (or spiritual) dimension? Where can traditional religious understandings fit into a world dominated by scientific truth? This course will explore these questions through an exploration of the creation/evolution debate, theories of emergence and mind, and modern cosmological theories, considering in each case the implications of how we answer these questions for the building of a sustainable future.

REL 241 Christian Ethics
An introduction to the biblical and theological sources of Christian ethics, types of moral theories and methods of moral deliberation. Students develop a moral framework for a response to a variety of issues related to human sexuality, ecology, business, medicine and war.

REL 243 Environmental Ethics
A critical examination of issues in environmental ethics from diverse Christian perspectives. The course examines root causes of environmental problems, philosophical and theological assumptions about nature and resources for response in Christian traditions. Particular attention is given to demographic and economic factors at the global level as well as personal consumption decisions at the local level. Case studies ground reflection in concrete situation. Typically offered during alternate years at Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State

Social Work
SW 204 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I
This course focuses on theories of human behavior and the interaction between behavior and he social environment. The course develops a conceptual framework and theory related to the development of human behavior and responses to life cycle challenges. Human diversity, global perspectives and an ecosystems approach to understanding human behavior are emphasized.

SW 303 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II
This course describes how organizations, communities, society and the natural environment impact individuals, families and groups. A social justice lens will be used to understand the dynamic interaction among systems in the macro social environment. A key focus is on the interplay between human behavior and the physical, social and political environment. Special attention is given to global perspectives, issues of human diversity in a macro context and self-examination in relation to ethical and human diversity issues.

SOC 345 Race, Class, and Gender in Contemporary Society
An assessment of how race, class and gender influence the attainment of societal honors, rewards and power in the United States today. Similarities and differences in social structures and ideologies of modern society are emphasized for race, class and gender.

SOC 356 Environmental Sociology
Examines how cultural, social and economic forces shape the relationships between societies and their natural environments. Environmental dynamics such as pollution and natural resource use are connected with social dynamics of human population, industrial production, poverty, urban planning and consumer culture. Examination of environmental movements and countermovements illustrate how understandings of the natural environment change over time and are often in concentration.

SOC 475 Seminar: Social Movements
Explores theoretical issues related to social movements - why they emerge, how they evolve, how they are organized ,why people join them, what factors determine their success - while learning about various historical and contemporary social movements such as the Black civil rights, environmental, religious right and gay rights movements.

Women Gender Studies
WGST 130 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
This course combines a cross-cultural surve of gender diversity with a history of gender studies, emphasizing the key theories; case studies, and social, economic and political climates. Students will explore variations in gender systems, focusing on other cultures to better understand their own. The primary goal is to develop a set of scholarly tools that render gender a useful category of social analysis. Designed as an introduction to women and gender studies; required for the WGST major and minor.
+ Date Revised: Dec. 16, 2014

The website URL where the inventory of course offerings with sustainability content is publicly available:
A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the course inventory:
The Center for Sustainable Communities and Associate Dean did a survey of all courses in April 2014 to created an updated list of sustainability courses and courses that contain sustainability content.

How did the institution count courses with multiple offerings or sections in the inventory?:
Each course was counted as a single course regardless of the number of offerings or sections

A brief description of how courses with multiple offerings or sections were counted (if different from the options outlined above):

Which of the following course types were included in the inventory?:
Yes or No
Internships No
Practicums No
Independent study No
Special topics No
Thesis/dissertation No
Clinical No
Physical education Yes
Performance arts Yes

Does the institution designate sustainability courses in its catalog of course offerings?:

Does the institution designate sustainability courses on student transcripts?:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.