Ball State University 
Clustered Academic Minors in 
Environmentally Sustainable Practices 

Interdepartmental Minor in:
Sustainable Land Systems

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Environmental Awareness
Environmental awareness has increasingly become a dominant theme in discussing the use of global natural resources.  Sustainable use and development of the land base and its natural resources has become an integral part of fitting human uses to the land in the planning professions.  The term sustainable development has been coined to describe the process of developing spaces for human activities within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.  The goal of such development is to improve the quality of human life for the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

With interest in the environment increasingly becoming an area of concern for a great number of academic disciplines and sectors of society, it also becomes clear that successful solutions for fitting human activity to a dwindling land base and its resources depend upon contributions from many disciplines and interest groups.  Landscape architecture has long been a field which advocates sensitive blending of human activities with natural ecosystems.  As stewards of the land, landscape architects apply a wide range of land resource development and conservation skills to development projects.

From such roots within the Department of Landscape Architecture there has emerged a new interdepartmental minor in Sustainable Land Systems to provide a cross- disciplinary forum for integration of ideas in sustainable, or regenerative, land resource use and development.

The addition of this new minor provides a platform to expand an already growing national reputation in sustainable design currently enjoyed by the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University.  The new program augments the momentum begun at the University by the Green Committee, recent UniverCity events, and two Greening of the Campus conferences.  Participation in cross-disciplinary discussions and exercises allows students to model successful approaches to complex environmental problem solving.  Allowing students to join together to discuss and apply environmental planning and design concepts also  provides the participants with a healthy range of perspectives and values regarding sensitive development of the environment.

A new course in Sustainable Land Systems (LA 471) serves as the anchoring course within the program.  This is complemented by the three core courses (Ecology, Environmental Economics, and Environmental Ethics), a carefully chosen set of electives from which students select three courses, and the closing course within the clustered minors program, Creating a Sustainable Future (ID 400).

Graduating students will enter a job market with a minor which emphasizes not only a knowledge of environmental issues, but also the integration of that knowledge in cross- disciplinary problem-solving efforts.  They will be better prepared to address the complex, interdisciplinary nature of the many environmental challenges the next generation will face.

For more information or assistance, contact:

Department of Landscape Architecture
AB 226 
(765) 285-1971 
Center for  Energy Research/Education/Service 
AB 018
(765) 285-1135.

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25 Hours
Required Courses:
Clustered Minors Core Courses:
BIO 216 Ecology 4
ECON 311/
NREM 303
Environmental Economics  3
PHIL 230 Environmental Ethics 3
Anchoring Course:
LA 471 Sustainable Land Systems 3
Closing Course:
ID 400 Creating a Sustainable Future 3

9 Hours from the Following:
ANTH 312 Ecological Anthropology 4
ARCH 498 Vital Signs  3-6
BIO 418 Community Ecosystem Ecology 3
BOT 480 Plant Ecology 3
GEOL 207 Environmental Geology 3
HIST 204 /
NREM 204
American Environmental History 3
LA 270 Environmental Systems 3
NREM 205 International Natural Resources:
Development and Conservation
NREM 304 Sustainable Agriculture 3
NREM 306 Resources for Self-Reliant Living 3
NREM 357 International Rural Development 3
NREM 405 Integrated Resources 
Planning and Management
PLAN 433 Environmental Planning 3
PLAN 435 Energy Planning 3
PLAN 460 Alternative and Sustainable 
Community Planning
POLS 347 Environmental Law and Policy 3
ZOOL 483 Wildlife Biology 3

NOTE:  All students pursuing a minor within the cluster are encouraged to take NREM 101, Environment and Society, as a distribution elective within the university core curriculum.

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Course Descriptions  Courses

BIO 216 Ecology (3).   Effects of physical and biotic conditions on the distribution and abundance of plants and animals.  Dynamics of ecological systems are examined at the population, community, and ecosystem levels, and from an evolutionary perspective.  Practical applications are emphasized.  Lecture and laboratory. 

ECON 311/NREM 303 Environmental Economics (3).  The application of economic principles to environmental problems.  Emphasis is on applying the economist's decision-making model to environmental issues and the advantages and shortcomings of the economist's analysis. 

PHIL 230 Environmental Ethics (3).  Introduction to and analysis of basic concepts, principles, theories, and issues in environmental ethics. 

LA 471 Sustainable Land Systems (3).  Integratively examinines sustainable concepts in relation to a wide range of land resource issues. 

ID 400 Creating a Sustainable Future:  The Clustered Minors Capstone (3).  Capstone course for students in the interdepartmental minor programs in environmentally sustainable practices.  Variable topics.  Emphasizes interdisciplinary perspectives on creating sustainable  practices--environmentally and culturally--for the future.  Seminar format, with visiting scholars working interactively with students. 


ANTH 312 Ecological Anthropology (3).  Explores the system of relationships between any human population and its environment focusing on cultural behavior.  Uses studies from ancient to modern times and models and theories from ecology and anthropology. 

ARCH 498 Vital Signs (3-6).  University-wide program designed for students with outstanding academic records, capable of bridging disciplinary interests, with a commitment to learning about the emerging field of environmental assessment.  Participants develop environmental assessments of internationally recognized architecture.  Emphasizes first order principles, relationships of informational content to design decision-making, protocols for field investigation of buildings and annotated bibliographies. 

BIO 418 Community and Ecosystem Ecology (3).  Principles of ecological organization at the community and ecosystems levels.  Emphasis on the processes that influence the structure and function of communities and ecosystems.  Laboratory includes field and lab studies of plant and animal systems. 

BOT 480 Plant Ecology (3).  Factors affecting the distribution and abundance of plants.  Patterns, structure, and development of plants at the individual, population, and community level.  Laboratory provides experience with ecological experimentation at the physiological, population, and community levels. 

GEOL 207 Environmental Geology (3).  Examines geologic materials and processes affecting the human environment.  Discusses geologic hazards, mineral and energy resources for the future, groundwater, surface water hydrology, and urban geology.  Regularly scheduled laboratory. 

HIST 204 / NREM 204 American Environmental History (3). Designed to give students knowledge of resource use in the United States.  Government policies and private enterprise practices of exploitation and conservation from settlement to the present are treated in historical perspective.  Emphasis is on the way resource use has shaped society. 

LA 270 Environmental Systems (3).  Qualitative investigations and analysis of landscape systems.  Studies include the assessment of vegetation, climate, hydrology, soils, and subsurface geology as determinants of landscape architectural form; natural processes as they relate to the principles of landscape architectural construction. 

NREM 205 International Natural Resources:  Development and Conservation (3).  An analysis of problems occurring as a result of development and use of natural resources worldwide.  The role of resource management and conservation to enhance the carrying capacity of the earth.  A case-study approach to the management of global environmental problems. 

NREM 304 Sustainable Agriculture (3).  Natural resource use in agricultural systems with emphasis on principles of sustainability.  Includes integrated pest management, permaculture, and other production practices that conserve soil, water, and biological resources.  Field trips included. 

NREM 306 Resources for Self-Reliant Living (3).  Considers the environmental effects of hard and soft technologies.  Focuses on devising a survival strategy based on self-reliant concepts in housing, waste material, water use, agricultural production, and total energy systems. 

NREM 357 International Rural Development (3).  Analysis of rural development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  Emphasizes the roles of population, agriculture, history, conflict, technology, international debt, multilateral organization, and political and cultural traditions in development efforts.  Interdisciplinary readings and case studies. 

NREM 405 Integrated Resources Planningand 
Management (3).   Introduction to strategies used in environmental planning and resource management in contemporary society.  Stresses use of data analysis and its role in the decision making process by conceptually centering on natural and human-made systems.  May require field trips. 

PLAN 433 Environmental Planning (3).  Introduction to the fundamental issues and technologies associated with planning for sensitive use of environmental resources.  Topics include waste management, air and water quality planning, ecological systems, and methods of environmental analysis and implementation. 

PLAN 435 Energy Planning (3).  Energy resource issues in urban planning.  Strategies for incorporating energy efficiency in housing, land use, transportation, social services, and community development.  Analysis of energy policy, with emphasis on innovative public and private sector initiatives at the community level. 

PLAN 460 Alternative and Sustainable Community Planning (3).  Seminar course examining nontraditional approaches to community planning and design.  Focuses on concepts associated with the design of sustainable communities.  Historical precedent, case study, and utopian alternatives are synthesized to project alternative futures for present community planning and design issues. 

POLS 347 Environmental Law and Policy (3).  Significant facets of the legal system's response to conflicting demands upon environmental resources.  Composition of environmental problems, control issues, policy formulation, and legal remedies. 

ZOOL 483 Wildlife Biology (3).  Identification, population dynamics, and geographic distribution of wildlife species with particular emphasis on those of the United States.  The harvest and management of wildlife.  May require additional field work. 

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