Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Course Content and Outcomes Guide for SOC 228 Effective Fall 2021

Course Number:
SOC 228
Course Title:
Introduction to Environmental Sociology
Credit Hours:
4
Lecture Hours:
40
Lecture/Lab Hours:
0
Lab Hours:
0
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces core sociological concepts and theories, as a social science, to examine the relationship between humans and the environment. Explores central questions, research, and theoretical debates about the structural and cultural causes and consequences of various social and environmental problems and how to respond to these issues through policies and actions. Fosters the development of the skills needed to think critically about social and environmental changes and the tools needed to address them. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Approved Texts/Materials: per instructor discretion.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Analyze the cultural and structural causes and consequences of environmental problems using sociological perspectives. 
  2. Describe how individual life experiences relate to environmental issues using the sociological imagination.
  3. Identify data trends and outcomes on individuals, social groups, society, and nature, using appropriate social research methods. 
  4. Explain social inequality and systems of power as they relate to environmental issues. 
  5. Propose possible strategies to solve environmental problems through the lens of active community participation.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

Sociology offers a unique perspective that helps us understand how our lives are connected to each other, the larger society, and nature. Sociologists use scientific methods to study how societies are organized, why they change, and the different ways that social forces impact people’s lives, as well as other species and ecosystems. The sociological perspective allows us to understand how micro and macro issues interact, through the power of social contexts and systems-thinking, with varying structures, cultures, and groups shaping how we engage with each other and the world around us.

Cultural Literacy

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze and evaluate how cultural systems relate to broader social dynamics.

Aspirational Goals

We hope that the careful study of society and the environment will empower our students to develop the insights, empathy, and skills to analyze and address social issues through applied learning and active engagement in society, demonstrating understanding of systems of oppression, respect for diversity, critical thinking, and collaboration in problem-solving.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

In addition to following guidelines for assessing General Education outcomes, instructors will assess student learning of course-level outcomes by using various assessment tools, per instructor discretion.  See sample of assessment strategies

  1. Class participation in discussions and/or in small groups (on-line or on campus) 

  2. Short analytical homework assignments on specific concepts or issues

  3. Response papers or journals reflecting on life experiences or social events

  4. Research papers, using analyses of academic sources (i.e., signature assignments)

  5. Quizzes and/or exams

  6. Oral histories and interviews

  7. Oral or video presentations

  8. Community-based learning projects, involving learning objectives, service to community, and reflection

  9. Group research and presentation projects

  10. Additional assignments, as deemed appropriate for assessment of learning objectives

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Sociological perspectives related to environmental problems.

  2. Use the Sociological Imagination to describe the connections between our ways of living and our impacts on social and natural systems.

  3. Causes of social and environmental change, through the concepts and theories of environmental sociology, such as colonialism, economic exploitation, industrialization, development, the production and consumption treadmill, global stratification, corporate power, environmental racism and classism, anthropocentrism, population trends, etc.

  4. Historical, current, and cross-cultural comparisons of trends.

  5. Cultural and structural dynamics, including varying ideologies and economic and political systems.

  6. Consequences of social and environmental changes at micro and macro levels, such as pollution, climate change, habitat destruction, mass extinction, environmental injustice, technological dependency, migration and displacement, etc.

  7. Efforts to address environmental problems, such as lifestyle changes, policies, system changes, cultural paradigm shifts, social movements, sustainable development initiatives, etc.