Coursework

The Circularity Impact Program requires all students to take the following courses:

GCC 5044 A Circularity Revolution: Working to Close the Loop on Global Issues

(former title: CEGE 5180 Introduction to Circularity Systems)

Offered in the fall and designed to be taken immediately before or during students’ application to the NRT program. For more information, contact Prof. Bill Arnold [email protected]. Tuesday/Thursday, 1:00-2:15pm in Kolthoff Hall room 134. Link to the course in schedule builder.

Description: The class is designed to provide students the fundamental knowledge and perspectives to develop and critique sustainable solutions for water, energy, and materials use, re-use, and upcycling from technological, policy, and cultural viewpoints. The class will focus on how each student's personal and disciplinary identities intersect with society's needs and on creating a common vocabulary, grounding students in natural elemental cycles, differing perspectives on circularity and resource use, and the importance of the co-creation of solutions. Key foci are introducing analytical strategies and basic tools and mechanisms to achieve and interrogate circularity, such as principles of green engineering, economic and policy tools, and alternative (vs. traditional) concepts of "progress". Case studies, social practice art interventions, and a group project will be used to demonstrate how science and technology, policy, and expansive community/stakeholder knowledge all are important aspects of developing and re-conceptualizing sustainable solutions to problems in water, material, and energy use.

This class satisfies the liberal education (LE) Environment Theme requirement. Part of being a citizen of the world is understanding the connectedness of humans and the environment. Humans are dependent on environmental resources, and they need to be used sustainably. This course explores cost/benefits of technological, policy, and community choices with respect to the environment. The analysis of case studies using different tools, class discussions, and a group project will be used to understand the challenges faced in moving to sustainable resource use. These assignments will require you to locate and critically evaluate information, which is the Student Learning Outcome for this class.

ME 8243 Research and Methods for Sustainability Impact

2 credit course taught by Natasha Wright in Spring 2024 on Thursdays 12:20 - 2:15pm.

This interdisciplinary course will focus on the design of research proposals, products, and services that
aim to hit the triple bottom line of economic viability, environmental sustainability, and social equity. The
course will help students assess the long term value proposition of their individual research project or
other academic or professional interests.

All design aims to address one or more needs. Therefore, the one portion of the course will focus on the
up-front work required to identify stakeholder needs, and use this to define high impact challenges to
engage. You will be trained in design ethnography interviewing skills (open-ended, semi-structured
interviewing), life-cycle analysis (LCA), stakeholder mapping, and theory-of-change, and learn to
leverage these skills in your own work. We will reflect on how researchers conduct and perceive
quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research, and how this translates to sustainability impact
metrics.

Case studies and a self-selected project will be used to demonstrate how science and technology, policy,
and stakeholder knowledge all are important aspects of developing and re-conceptualizing sustainable,
resilient solutions to local and global challenges.

Research Ethics Course

  • 0.5 credit ethics class CEGE 8581 (or an approved ethics alternative such as, but not limited to, PA 5890, section 002). Other alternatives are available; contact the NRT Program Coordinator to learn more.