Education for Social and Ecological Responsibility

oikos

At Oklahoma City University, we have established the Oikos Scholars Program for Social and Ecological Responsibility in an attempt to provide an educational experience that will prepare students to engage our current and future global challenges and become 21st Century leaders for social and ecological responsibility.

Oikos is the Greek word for house. The root word for both ecology and economics, it points to those dual responsibilities that are central to the mission of the Oikos Scholars Program. All Oikos scholars participate in service learning projects; complete courses addressing issues of peace, justice, and ecological sustainability; and are required to complete at least one approved international education experience while at Oklahoma City University.

The Oikos Scholars curriculum includes the following:

PHIL/REL 2163:  Moral Issues in Contemporary Culture:  Peace & Non-Violence
This course will investigate various perspectives on peace and non-violence.  Special emphasis will be placed on cross-cultural approaches to these issues, including an analysis of peace and non-violence in the major world religions.  The course is taught over the course of the fall and spring semesters, and the spring semester includes a service learning component.  This course satisfies the first year requirements for the Oikos Scholars Program and the Values and Culture, Cross-Cultural and the Service Learning requirements of the General Education Curriculum.  Number of Credits: 3

BIOL 1314:  Environmental Science
This course emphasizes biological aspects of the environment, including the effect of the humans on other organisms (and vice versa), and their role in the biological ecosystems.  This course is designed for students who have little or no training in science and does not count toward a biology major.  Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory each week.  This course satisfies the Lab Science requirement of the General Education Curriculum Number of credits: 4.  BIOL 3314:  Principles of Ecology  4 credits can be taken in place of BIOL 1314 in order to satisfy the lab science requirement in the Oikos Scholars Program.

Sustainability and the Environment
Investigation and critical examination of various perspectives concerning sustainability and environmental ethics. Course includes a service-learning component and satisfies the first semester requirement for the Oikos Scholars Program as well as the Service-Learning requirements of the General Education Curriculum (3 credits).

SOC 2013: Introduction to Sociology: Poverty & Social Justice
Investigation and critical examination of basic sociological concepts and perspectives with special attention on poverty and social justice issues and strategies for positive social change. Course includes a service-learning component and satisfies the third semester requirement for the Oikos Scholars Program, and the Sociology and Service- Learning requirements of the General Education Curriculum (3 credits).

INDP 3963: 21st Century Problems Research Seminar for Oikos Scholars 
Oikos scholars will develop a junior-senior project that will integrate two of the following three areas: peace and nonviolence, social justice, and ecological sustainability. Students will meet weekly for faculty guidance in relation to this project. The project will include research, a written reflection component and a service-learning component, i.e. the implementation of the junior-senior project. Course satisfies the junior-senior year requirement for the Oikos Scholars Program and the 21st Century Problems requirement of the Liberal Studies Core (3 credits).

International Education Experience

Each Oikos Scholar is required to have at least one approved international education experience while a student at Oklahoma City University.

I would be very interested to hear from other higher education institutions about what you are doing in relation to education for social and ecological responsibility, and I hope you will share your ideas and programs as comments related to this post.

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About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is The Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. From 2009 to 2015, Mark was dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences and Wimberly Professor of Social Ethics at Oklahoma City University. Previously, Mark was dean of the Wimberly School of Religion at Oklahoma City University and Founding Director of the Vivian Wimberly Center for Ethics and Servant Leadership. Prior to becoming dean of the Wimberly School of Religion in 2002, he was associate dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University and chair of the department of philosophy. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University.
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One Response to Education for Social and Ecological Responsibility

  1. Sherry Chang says:

    Education for Social and Ecological Responsibility is the must-do issue we have to face today! It is not the issue of what, but how to do it.

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