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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rachel Marie Mitchell
BIS 396
Bothell Campus

Topics in Sustainability

Examines topics in sustainability. Includes social, political, historical, cultural, artistic, economic, or scientific explorations of sustainability issues.

Class description

This course investigates the American food system from the ground up. Students begin by learning basic ecological principals, with an emphasis on plant ecology. From there, we explore the history of modern industrial agriculture, the commodification of food, and the environmental and social impacts of modern food systems. Students will read a variety of scientific and popular writings as well as critically investigating the myriad documentaries on this subject. During the course, students also research a crop or food animal in depth, and present their research to the class. This class has a heavy emphasis on group work, critical thinking and analysis, writing, and public speaking.

Student learning goals

Understand the role of ecology in agriculture.

Understand historical developments that have lead to our modern industrial food system.

Understand the human costs of our food system.

Synthesize course and group-research to put a modern industrial crop into an ecological and social context.

Develop a research report and presentation.

General method of instruction

Lecture, discussion, analysis of film, group work, with outside-of-classroom readings and reflection.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Readings, class discussions, written reports and group projects.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Rachel Marie Mitchell
Date: 02/23/2012