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Syllabi and Course Descriptions

 

Psychology Subdisciplines:

History of Psychology
Research Methods
Biopsychology
Development
Learning
Cognition
Motivation and Emotion
Individual Differences
Social Psychology
Mental Health
Environmental Psychology
Ecopsychology
Conservation Psychology


Syllabi and Course Descriptions

On this page you may access a collection of syllabi contributed by instructors who currently teach courses that integrate psychology and environmental issues. These instructors are full of great ideas, many of which do not appear elsewhere in the manual. Click on the email link to contact an instructor. Some of the syllabi may be downloaded from this page in .pdf format; others are accessible by clicking on the weblink listed. Courses are listed by title in alphabetical order. Click on a title below or scroll down the page to see the instructor's course description and instructor contact info.

Behavior and Environment (R. DeYoung)

Conservation Behavior Seminar (R. DeYoung)

Conservation Psychology (G. Myers)

Ecopsychology (P. Kahn)

Ecopsychology (C. Chalquist)

Environmental Psychology & The Wilderness Experience (D. Campbell)

Environmental Psychology at Rocky Mountain National Park (D. McMillan)

Human Dimensions of Conservation (J. Fraser)

Introduction to Ecopsychology (A. Fisher)

Planetary Psychology (C. Chalquist)

Psychology and Sustainability (M. Mills)

Psychology for Sustainability (S. Koger)

Psychology of Environmental Stewardship (R. DeYoung)

Psychology of Sustainable Behavior (C. Manning)

The Psychology of Sustainability in Germany and Denmark (E. Amel & C. Manning)

 

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Behavior and Environment

Raymond DeYoung, Ph.D. [rdeyoung@umich.edu]
Associate Professor, School of Natural Resources & Environment
University of Michigan

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduction to environmental psychology that examines human-environment interactions with a focus on environmental stewardship. Course develops an information processing model of human nature and uses this model to explore human behavior, the settings they prefer and best function in, and how they maintain mental clarity and attentional vitality.

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Conservation Behavior Seminar

Raymond DeYoung, Ph.D. [rdeyoung@umich.edu]
Associate Professor, School of Natural Resources & Environment
University of Michigan

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Responding to climate disruption, resource limits and energy descent will require behavior change on a massive scale and over a long period of time. One implication of this new bio-physical reality is the need for each one of us to become behavioral entrepreneurs. Many new, and newly re-learned skills and behaviors will be needed in order for us to respond well to the coming downshift. But none are more central than the abilities to cleverly problem-solve, to plan and manage our behavior, to be resourceful, to be supportive of others, and to cope with the emotions resulting from our losing either an affluent lifestyle or the hope that perpetual growth will one day provide us all with material affluence.

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Conservation Psychology

Gene Myers, Ph.D.
[gene.myers@wwu.edu]
Professor
Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington Univ.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: A combined upper division elective/required course for our M.Ed. in Env. Education program, this course is aimed at environmental educators. I have taught it many different ways. It always has a practicum component involving working with young people in 1:1 or small group situations, interviewing or in other ways placing my students in the learner/researcher-practitioner role. In terms of academic content, I usually aim to highlight parts of the research bases for the following discourses / paradigms of environmental education: Systematic behavior change campaigns; democratic/ participatory collective action; and culture & connection to nature and place. The formation of an environmental morality is often a focus as it is a special interest for me. I usually manage to invite in one or two colleagues, take students to a conference, or in other ways expose them to the emerging network of conservation psychologists & related folk.

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Ecopsychology

Peter Kahn, Ph.D. [pkahn@uw.edu]
Professor of Psychology
University of Washington

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Ecopsychology seeks (a) to reshape modern psychology by showing that it cannot stand apart from an intimate human connection with the natural environment, and (b) to integrate our connection with nature with our scientific culture and technological selves.
As a species, we came of age with nature, and a need for nature still resides within the architecture of our bodies and minds. Abundant research demonstrates physical and psychological benefits of interacting with nature. And ecological sustainability may well be impossible without people experiencing nature, and feeling its depth, space, and bounty. At this moment in history – as we degrade, pollute, and increasingly destroy so much of the natural world so quickly, and live in increasingly sophisticated and pervasive digital worlds – ecopsychology seeks a new vision of the human-nature relationship.

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Ecopsychology

Craig Chalquist, Ph.D. [craig@chalquist.com]
Core Faculty Professor
California Institute of Integral Studies

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Ecopsychology rose in the mid-1990s after decades of thoughtful transdisciplinary inquiry into how mind and surroundings cleave together. Indigenous in ancestry, transpersonal in scope, qualitative in method, and critical in social commentary, ecopsychology sought to heal an ancient legacy of dualism that split self from world, psyche from place, thought from passion, and mind from body. Today’s ecotherapists have glimpsed some of the shadows cast by this ambitious endeavor as the movement finally begins to go mainstream.

This course will offer an overview and update on the field of ecopsychology, look deeply into where some of its shadows might fall, and suggest new pathways for exploration that trace the strong ties connecting us to place, matter, planet, and each other. Two of these pathways, ecotherapy and terrapsychology, will allow us to follow these ties farther down into the depths where psyche is indistinguishable from world.

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Environmental Psychology & the Wilderness Experience

David Campbell, Ph.D. [dec1@humboldt.edu]
Professor
Humboldt State University

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Exploration of behavior-environment relationships. Ecopsychology, wilderness experience, and appraisal of our natural environment. Analysis of the social environment (privacy, territoriality, crowding). Evaluation of the built environment (home, workplace, community).

ONLINE SYLLABUS

 

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Environmental Psychology at Rocky Mountain National Park

Donna K. McMillan, Ph.D. [mcmillan@stolaf.edu]
Associate Professor of Psychology
St. Olaf College

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In our month together, we will be delving into the human relationship with the rest of the natural world. We will particularly explore 1) subjective experience in nature and 2) empirical research about people’s relationship with the natural environment, but we will also consider 3) how cultural factors and 4) different systems and institutions influence this aspect of our lives. I hope it will prove to be exciting and meaning for you to explore in-depth your own and others’ relationships to nature. While the broad subfield of environmental psychology examines interactions of human beings with all sorts of environments – including social and built environments, in this course we will be focusing particularly on our relationship to the natural an environment.

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Human Dimensions of Conservation

John Fraser, Ph.D. [jfraser@newknowledge.org]
President & CEO, New Knowledge Organization, Ltd.
Adjunct Lecturer, Hunter College of City University New York

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is premised on the idea that conservation will only be achieved through change in how people choose to act toward the environment. It takes as self-evident the principle that that natural systems and human systems are integrally linked to one another. The goal of conservation psychology is to promote conservation through the scientific study of cognitive, affective and behavioral processes. On completion of this course, it is expected that students will be conversant in the basic constructs informing conservation psychology and understand how to use this framework in conservation recommendations, to effectively criticize conservation strategies through the lens of human dimensions research, to recommend research strategies to address deficiencies in a conservation programs, and to understand the link between successful policy strategies and sound psychological theory.

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Introduction to Ecopsychology

Andy Fisher, Ph.D. [andy.fisher@uvm.edu]
Lecturer, Environmental Studies
University of Vermont

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course introduces students to the full sweep of what is currently meant by the term ecopsychology. Ecopsychologists assert that the relationship between humans and nature is definitive of human psychology, viewing all psychological and spiritual matters within the context of our membership in the natural world. By expanding the focus of psychology to include the relationship between humans and nature, they aim not only to develop a truer picture of human psychology but also to draw attention to the psychological dimensions of the ecological crisis. As a field, ecopsychology is increasingly making its way into the academy, consulting room, and popular imagination.

Covering the psychological, philosophical, practical, and critical dimensions of ecopsychology, the course aims to foster an appreciation for the significance and exciting nature of this new field. Ecopsychology has gained popularity in the form of “ecotherapy.” This includes wilderness therapy, nature-inclusive psychotherapy, group practices to help face “eco-anxiety” and “eco-despair,” and other nature-connecting activities. Beyond such practice, however, a number of thinkers have developed eco-centric psychological theories that fundamentally reconceptualise humans, nature, and psyche. Ecopsychology has, moreover, been envisioned as an ecologically transformed and explicitly political psychology that is dedicated to creating the subjective conditions for an ecological society. The course will progress through these various topics, allowing students to determine for themselves the relevance of ecopsychology to their own interests.

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Planetary Psychology

Craig Chalquist, Ph.D. [craig@chalquist.com]
Core Faculty Professor
California Institute of Integral Studies

COURSE DESCRIPTION: We have all heard about “green” this and that as well as grim news about multiple environmental crises—but almost no public discourse about how all this arises from, impacts, and is seen through the dimension of human psychology. Psychology itself, in its mainstream applications, has been from the beginning primarily a psychology of departure: a psychology of alienation from the ele­ments, from the natural world, and ultimately from ourselves and each other.

This course poses the question: What would a psychology of homecoming look like? Through the lens of this question we will survey various perspectives and approaches that deal with the psycholo­gical dimension of our relationship with the environment, including mainstream ecology, deep ecology, bioregionalism, ecopsychology, ecotherapy (applied ecopsychology), integral ecology, and the relatively new field of terrapsychology, the deep study of our psychological connections to specific places. Using seminar-style lecture, film, and various exercises, we will also explore different modes of ecological homecoming.

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Psychology and Sustainability

Michael E. Mills, Ph.D. [memills@gmail.com]
Associate Professor of Psychology
Loyola Marymount University

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course examines human behavior and human nature in the context of ecological factors.  The focus of the course will be on how psychology might help contribute to solve, or to mitigate, ecological problems that are likely to occur in this century, including  depletion of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), human population overshoot of the planetary carrying capacity,  climate change, species extinction, etc.

ONLINE SYLLABUS

 

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Psychology for Sustainability

Susan M. Koger, Ph.D. [skoger@willamette.edu]
Professor of Psychology
Willamette University

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Environmental degradation (e.g., resource overconsumption, pollution, climate change) is the most pressing problem confronting contemporary society: Without a livable planet, humans, like other animals, cannot survive. Because human behavior is at the root of the problem, Psychology, the science of behavior, offers important insights for understanding and changing unsustainable individual and societal systems. Due to the applied nature of the material, a service learning component is included.

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Psychology of Environmental Stewardship

Raymond DeYoung, Ph.D. [rdeyoung@umich.edu]
Associate Professor, School of Natural Resources & Environment
University of Michigan

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Explores research on psychology of environmental stewardship and creates a toolbox of approaches for promoting durable conservation behavior.

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Psychology of Sustainable Behavior

Christie Manning, Ph.D. [cmanning@macalester.edu]
Visiting Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies
Macalester College

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is an introduction to the psychological study of sustainable human behavior. Effective solutions to environmental problems require that we understand and address the behaviors that lead to them. In this course we will use psychological principles, theories, and methods to examine the reciprocal relationship between human beings and the natural world. We will discuss the complex nature of environmental problems and review important psychological and social factors that underlie a range of sustainable and non-sustainable behaviors. We will cover approaches that encourage sustainable actions and apply these approaches in three class projects: a self-change project, a community-change project, and a communication/education project.

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The Psychology of Sustainability in Germany and Denmark

Elise Amel, Ph.D. [elamel@stthomas.edu]
Professor of Psychology and Director of Environmental Studies
University of St. Thomas

Christie Manning, Ph.D. [cmanning@macalester.edu]
Visiting Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies
Macalester College

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The Psychology of Sustainability is the scientific study of the interplay between human behavior and the natural environment. Although emerging now as an important field of research in the United States, it is well established in Germany (Umweltpsychologie) and other European countries. We begin the course by examining the scientific evidence regarding environmental issues including global climate change, industrial food systems, and depletion of natural resources like fresh water, oil, and metal deposits. Then we examine psychological factors associated with decision making and conservation-related behavior. We will cover such topics as norms, values, and incentives and why they may strengthen or weaken the link between our attitudes and behaviors. We close by examining interventions designed to change human behavior. Locating the course in German cities such as Hamburg and Berlin as well as the Danish city of Copenhagen will provide ample opportunity to examine important concepts by directly observing how these strategies have been applied.

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