ENV 6077 Land Use Planning and Policy
This course reviews traditional legal controls over land in the United States, including zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations at the local level, and state-wide planning initiatives found in states such as Vermont and Oregon. Students will consider those land use laws and societal factors that contribute to blighted inner cities and suburban sprawl, develop familiarity with relevant policies in their own bioregions, and consider modern planning techniques and emerging trends in sustainable and resilient community development.
RSC 6030 & 6031 Thesis - Proposal & Writing - 3 credits total
Each student will complete a significant, original scholarly or creative work in her area of concentration. (Specific requirements for each thesis will be negotiated in meetings with the student’s thesis committee.) After approval of prospectus by the thesis committee, the student enrolls in RSC 6030 and independently produces an original thesis that applies what the student has learned to her local ecosystem. Ideally, in addition to contributing to the body of work already available in relevant areas of knowledge, the thesis will also contribute to the student's career goals. 
RSC 6032 & 6033 - Applied Professional Project - Proposal & Writing - 3 credits total
Each student will complete a significant applied work in his area of concentration. (Specific requirements for each project will be negotiated in meetings with the student’s committee). After approval of prospectus by the project committee, the student enrolls in RSC 6032: Applied Professional Project - Proposal and independently produces an original proposal for work that applies what the student has learned to her local ecosystem. Ideally, in addition to contributing to the body of work already available in relevant areas of knowledge, the thesis will also contribute to the student's career goals. Writing is continued in RSC 6033
RSC 6034 Capstone Portfolio
Following completion of the coursework and practicum the student will draw upon the completed materials to create a portfolio that demonstrates accomplishments in accordance with program goals and a set of goals the student has drafted for himself. Typically a student will decide at the end of the first year if she is moving into the non-thesis track and will articulate particular goals at that time. The portfolio is tied together by a substantive reflective paper, which describes the case for the academic integrity of her coursework, the activities she has engaged within the coursework, and the connection to the student’s career.
Resilient & Sustainable
Communities Course Descriptions


RSC 5010 A Bioregional Approach to Communities
This course provides students with the experience and direction necessary to understand their own communities within a bioregional context. This requires students to identify and map where they live in terms of geology, biology, and climate, rather than relying on political borders, and to research and interpret the natural and cultural histories of their regions in order to understand how their own bioregions enable some possibilities of human community development while limiting others. In addition to researching and writing a Deep History of their bioregions, students will compile an annotated list of resources that provide an expanded temporal representation of the region’s geology, botany, wildlife biology, human population dynamics, cultural practices, and environmental impacts.
RSC 5020 Climate Change and Resource Impacts
This course will provide students with an overview of the major drivers of global environmental change, such as climate change, resource scarcity, loss of habitat and agricultural land, population growth, increasing consumption patterns in globalized economy, and water issues. Students will learn how to interpret and evaluate predictive models, explore ways in which existing models might contribute to their understanding of their own bioregions, and create an inventory of resources with specific bioregional relevance as a way of planning adaptively for resilience in preparation for disruptions.
RSC 5030 Sustainable Economic Development
Beginning with an introduction to theories of economic and community development, students will evaluate classic and alternative economic models and become familiar with existing policies that may facilitate or hinder sustainable economic development. Within a context informed by political economy, resource management, and property rights, students will work through local application of the challenges of planning for equality and resilience, while learning to analyze indicators and measurements of economic progress and well-being.
RSC 5040 Energy and the Environment
Energy use, in multiple forms and applications, is the primary driver of accumulating greenhouse gas emissions in the Earth's atmosphere, leading to a changing global climate. While people may have a general understanding of the link between energy use and global warming, few understand how our
energy systems evolved, the social and institutional inertia that perpetuates our dependence on fossil fuel sources of energy, and the steps necessary to begin the essential transformation to a sustainable energy future. This course provides a comprehensive coverage of these issues with a particular emphasis on preparing students to promote sustainable energy initiatives in their own communities.
RSC 5050 Theories of Sustainability and Resilience
Beginning with the history of theories of sustainability and resilience, as well as their standard applications in policy and practice, this course will examine critiques of these theories as paradigms and goals of community development, and evaluate responses to these critiques from within the sustainability movement. Students will explore ways of measuring sustainability and resilience, and consider how the language associated with these theories can be used in setting community goals and motivating stakeholder action.
RSC 5060 Regional and Community Food Systems
This course will provide overviews of the history of industrial food production and theories of sustainable agriculture before asking students to assess the "sustainability" of current food systems at different scales, to become familiar with laws and policies determining food production and distribution, and to evaluate diverse models of more sustainable food production. As an applied way of understanding local issues of food security and sovereignty, students will identify the range of resources relevant to regional food production and analyze local foodsheds in a bioregional context.
RSC 5070 Leadership and Organizational Transformation
In this course students will develop an applied understanding of group behavior, leadership ethics, and the process of cultivating an organizational culture, while learning to understand various types of organizations from a systems perspective. Working in teams, students will evaluate different approaches to guiding the evolution of organizational structures and
    objectives; explore ways to cultivate the capacities of personnel; learn to address obstacles to transformation through effective interventions; and become proficient in analyzing and managing internal and external communications.
RSC 5080 Social Justice and Community Mobilization
Students in this course will identify social and cultural barriers to community involvement, considering how issues of race, class, ethnicity and gender affect community decision making. Students will research local laws, policies, and customs that may contribute to—or inhibit—community mobilization, while learning to assess community health and needs, build and manage effective coalitions, evaluate methods for community development according to scale, and measure community participation and success in achieving sustainability.
RSC 6000 Community Arts, Recreation, and Public Spaces
Students in this course will explore the theoretical foundations and practical expressions of community art and recreation projects, with special attention to how such community cultural development contributes to the larger project of creating more resilient and sustainable communities. In particular, students will explore the possibilities of instigating such projects in their own communities, evaluating their potential in terms of increasing social cohesion and providing a range of health benefits. 
RSC 6005 Transportation Systems
This course examines existing and potential transportation methods, policies, and infrastructures at the municipal level, with a special interest in energy efficiency, safety, and resilience in the face of possible disruptions. Students will use their own communities as case studies, collecting and interpreting data and developing a preliminary set of recommendations.
RSC 6010 Community Health
After becoming familiar with existing health systems and agencies at the local, state, and national levels, students will produce an inventory of environmental, social, and behavioral health-related issues in their own communities, and investigate the possibilities for collaboration between agencies, health advocacy groups, and relevant community organizations.
RSC 6015 Emergency Management and Communication
Students in this course will develop a bioregional risk analysis examining floods, wildfires, earthquakes, climate change impacts, public health crises, and food and social inequities. Students will gain knowledge and skills required of emergency managers and communicators by staffing virtual scenarios that apply principles of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and by developing resiliency-based pre-plans and responses for immediate and long-term impacts of emergencies. 
RSC 6020 Dispute Resolution, and Creative Problem-Solving
This course will introduce students to a range of contemporary theories about the nature of conflict, the principles of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and the role of creative problem-solving in facilitation and mediation. Students will explore the laws governing mediation in their own bioregions, and will work in teams to develop the skills needed to facilitate agreement among a range of stakeholders in participatory planning processes. 
RSC 6025 Topics in Green Design
Rotating through a series of special topics, this course provides an opportunity to explore a variety of approaches to green design. Topics may include: permaculture, sustainable architecture, design and build projects, and creating comprehensive plans for communities.