Executive Summary

Purpose

To provide an array of resources for faculty teaching courses focused on environmental justice (EJ). 

Methodology 

CEJS assembled an initial database of 34 syllabi through searches on US university websites. Syllabi were selected based on three primary characteristics: the term “environmental justice” or near equivalent in the title; detailed descriptions of learning objectives, student assignments, and/or readings; and available online through publicly-available, password-free, linkable websites. Special attention was given to finding syllabi from Jesuit and historically Black colleges and universities. Secondary criteria included diversity in geographic location, ownership (public/private), and Carnegie “basic classification” category.

The initial database represents a limited subset of all university courses focused on environmental justice (EJ), and an even smaller subset of courses that deal with EJ as one of their topics. A large number of universities show their commitments to environmental justice not through course offerings, but through faculty research, conferences, workshops, on-campus work, community outreach and collaboration, and other activities. A university’s absence from the database must not be construed as indicating a lack of interest in EJ.

Departmental Home

EJ courses are offered by or cross-listed in 31 different departments, including 19 interdisciplinary departments, “Studies” programs, or collaboratives, and 12 disciplinary departments. Home departments for these courses are primarily interdisciplinary, with the largest portion of courses being offered by Environmental Studies departments (8), followed by Geography (4). EJ courses are almost always taken by students as one of a set of options through which they may fulfill departmental or university requirements; for only one department is EJ a requirement for all majors.

Bibliography

An initial bibliography was developed from readings assigned in the selected syllabi, categorized according to theme (race; urban issues; history of EJ movement; etc.) as noted in the syllabus or by inspection of the work. Courses utilize an extremely wide variety of resources; the partial bibliography includes 500 articles and documents alone, in addition to textbooks, websites, and film resources. A summary of foundational resources highlights a few works from each category, with links to the complete article or document where available.

Notable Assignments

In addition to standard assessments such as individual and team term projects or papers, reading responses, and participation, we have noted some innovative or otherwise notable student assignments as examples for faculty. These include alternative-format writing assignments, field projects and service-learning, debates, video productions, and others. Detailed descriptions of a few selected assignments are given, along with links to the original syllabi for all notable assignments.

 


Contact Us:

The EJTR website will be updated with annotations for more commonly used articles and with reflections from interviews with EJ faculty. For information about adding your syllabus to the database, contact the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability atcejs@seattleu.edu.

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