ENVIRON 305 - Interdisciplinary Environmental Topics
Fall 2023, Section 004 - Sustainability Issues in the Great Lakes Region
Instruction Mode: Section 004 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: SNE Program in the Environment
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This course explores sustainability using a case-based approach. Each case represents a specific real-world, complex problem or issue related to environment and sustainability in the Great Lakes region. Each revolves around a specific decision, e.g. the diversion of water for the city of Waukesha, WI, or the permitting of a new metallic sulfide mine on the Michigan U.P. In many of the case studies, industrial
agriculture looms large, including Lake Erie harmful algal blooms, the expansion of biofuel feedstock growth, and wildlife conservation of the Monarch butterfly. In contrast to textbook examples where problems may be clearly defined and neatly solved, in this class cases are taught with the messiness and ambiguity of real-world problems. Multiple stakeholder groups that have very different perspectives are described and multiple disciplines are drawn on as needed to understand the problem fully, including natural sciences, economics, public policy, law, history and culture, environmental justice, and business and corporations. For each case, a guest speaker and discussant is brought in who is an expert on the
real-world problem, often a person from outside the university.

Course Requirements:

Students will learn to examine complexities, tradeoffs, and joint goals and outcomes for sustainability issues using critical thinking and multiple perspectives. Students will learn to use models as tools to investigate tradeoffs and dynamics in large-scale, complex adaptive systems in the environment. Assignments will include readings and web-based research, homework assignments using models supplied by the instructor, synthesis writing assignments and presentations, and two exams.


ENVIRON 305 - Interdisciplinary Environmental Topics
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
004 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
005 (LEC)
 In Person
Tu 5:30PM - 8:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)