Shape up your degree with sustainable and experiential learning courses next semester

JESSICA LEWIS Guest Columnist

Starting the new year and the new term provides a great opportunity to reflect on the past and consider the future. At South Dakota State Uuniversity, students’ considerations should include academic progress and future opportunities. Questions may be, “am I on track to graduate,” “am I well-positioned to find meaningful and gainful employment” or “what shape is my degree in?” Should you want to create opportunities for yourself and develop a set of skills and knowledge that will allow you to flourish, consider greening up and shaping up your curriculum.

 Employers desire the “T” shaped professional. They want graduates with the technical, disciplinary-specific skills commonly known as “hard skills.”

Just as vital, companies continue to call for a workforce that possesses the transferable or “soft” skills needed to collaborate and succeed as a professional. These include, but are not limited to: communication, cultural competencies and critical thinking.

Students can get that “shapely” profile that attracts employers through sustainable and experiential learning. Academic courses and hands-on learning focused on environmental, economic and equity matters – aka sustainability – teach cross-cutting skills and knowledge that are required in today’s workplace. 

This sustainability literacy (competencies related to the three E’s) prepares students to face complex problems and work through them for real-world solutions.

We’re excited about the sustainability happenings right here at SDSU. Just look at State’s webpage and see recognition for students, staff and faculty tackling significant issues related to energy, social justice and economic prosperity. We continue to make yellow and blue go green through research on solar cells for energy storage and through state-of-the-art approaches for preparing nurses to deliver quality rural healthcare. Students from all colleges and majors have the opportunity to make an impact and prepare for the global workplace through sustainability focused courses.

 When selecting courses for the upcoming terms, consider where you will gain the knowledge and skill regarding social, economic and environmental responsibility. What classes will you take to finish out the general education goals? Where will you intern or study abroad? Will you select a minor?

The green answers to these questions can help students stand out from their peers and create the T-shaped professional who employers desire. Sustainable courses are taught on campus and online every semester. When reviewing degree requirements, keep the following courses in mind: 


Jessica Lewis is an academic adviser here at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]


AGEC-479 Agricultural Policy

ANTH-210 Cultural Anthropology

CA-110 Individual Financial Literacy

CM-460 Sustainable Building Systems

ENGL 481/581 – Travel Studies

FREN-496 Field Experience

Technology, Society, & Ethics

GEOG-343 Environmental Disasters & Hum Hazards

GER-496 Field Experience Culture

GLST-201 Global Studies

GLST-481 Travel Studies-Senegal

HIST-349 Women in American History

HIST-368 History & Culture of Am Indian

HO-434 Local Food Production

HON-492 Tp-Galapagos

ID-480 Travel Studies-Scandinavia

LA-389 International Experience

NE-435 Intro to Nuclear Engineering

NRM-110 Environmental Conservation

NRM-230 Natural Resource Mgt Technique 

NUTR-111 Food, People & Environment

PSYC-324 Psychology of Aging

PSYC-364 Cross Cultural Psychology

SOC-150 Social Problems

SOC-245 Energy, Environment, & Society

SPAN-396 Field Experience

WMST-101 Intro Women’s Studies