Socio-ecological Systems

SES2000 Socio-Ecological Systems

4 Credits

Special Topic Descriptions:

This co-taught course will integrate across the social sciences and ecological sciences to focus on socio-ecological systems(SES), which are linked systems of people with nature, emphasizing that humans must be seen as a part of, not apart from nature. These connected systems are complex, adaptive, and are governed by feedbacks within and between social and bio-physical processes. Studying SES allows for the development of important skills desperately needed for future business leaders, such as approaches for incorporating uncertainty, nonlinearity, and self-reorganization from instability. Students will be taught systems thinking and how to identify and develop an understanding of the interdependent and interrelated structures and feedbacks of dynamic systems. Transdisciplinary approaches will be employed to address complex temporal, spatial, and organizational scales to investigate real world challenges. Beyond just social impact businesses or corporate social responsibility, teaching system dynamics for sustainability allows students to develop as system change leaders.

This course will directly address the new integrated sustainability theme and will provide a strong background for all of our students in integrative systems thinking, ecological integrity, and structural injustice. Students will be introduced to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Planetary Boundaries Framework, resilience strategies, and leverage points for systems-based change for sustainability. Students will also learn concept mapping techniques as a way of visually representing complex systems, their relationships, and indirect connections and feedback effects. The skills learned can then be expanded and built from in subsequent elective courses. There are multiple content versions of this course including Climate Systems, Food Systems, Natural Disaster and Resilience Systems, Prairie Systems, Urban Systems, and Water Systems that are offered across different semesters.

Prerequisites: NST 10XX and FCI 1000 and WRT 1001

  • Program: Undergraduate
  • Division: Mathematics, Analytics, Science and Technology
  • Level: Intermediate Liberal Arts (UGrad)
  • Course Number: SES2000
  • Number of Credits: 4