CSS launching program on sustainability, environment

Drew Mannetter will direct the new program.

The College of St. Scholastica  will initiate a new academic program this fall entitled “Sustainability Studies and the Environment.”

The course of study will lead to a bachelor of arts degree as a major. A minor will also be available.

Sustainability in the academic context is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

“This program is a close fit with the mission of The College of St. Scholastica,”  Dr. Wolfgang Natter, vice president for academic affairs, said in a Friday news release. “One of the Catholic Benedictine values that guides our college is stewardship, the prudent and respectful use of all resources. The Sustainability Studies and the Environment program is elevating our commitment to an even higher level.”

The program’s core required courses are drawn from the fields of biology, chemistry, economics, the humanities, political science and philosophy. These are followed by elective tracks of courses in either Public Policy, Community Action and Advocacy, or Environment and Behavioral Change.

Drew Mannetter, Ph.D., will direct the Sustainability Studies and the Environment  program.

“This will be distinctive from other academic approaches to sustainability studies in its focus on social justice, advocacy, public policy, and societal change,” Mannetter said. “I have been teaching sustainability and environmental ethics for many years and am excited to work with fellow St. Scholastica faculty members in multiple disciplines who also harbor a passion for this work. We will prepare students sensitized by concern for the environment and able to advocate for change. Immersion experiences, research, seminars and internships will all be available to enrich student learning.”

Mannetter has been an associate professor of philosophy and classics at St. Scholastica since 2013. He has been a member of the St. Scholastica faculty since 2004.

Tammy Ostrander, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Arts and Letters, proposed the new Sustainability Studies and the Environment academic program and oversaw its foundational framework. She cited Pope Francis’s first encyclical, Laudato Si’, from 2015, which says caring for the Earth is a moral imperative.

“This argument is compelling here at St. Scholastica, an institution of higher education that embraces Catholic social teaching,” Ostrander said. “This program will encourage students to recognize the ways that individuals and groups can unite to promote the common good, engender awareness, and combat apathy.”

Sustainability is “a transdisciplinary study,” Ostrander said. “By combining academic work in multiple areas, students can approach the study of sustainability from a variety of perspectives and gain a variety of skills. As such, this degree is well-suited for a liberal arts-based college such as St. Scholastica.”