Community Resilience: Science and Society

Fall 2016 quarter

Taught by

ecology, plant biology
Jolie Sandoz
community studies, writing, analog game design, women's studies
  • UG

What can people do to foster the health of ecological systems and of human communities? Interplays of stress and resilience shape living systems, human and environmental. We can think of resilience as a system’s capacity to absorb or adapt to disturbance while holding to its original function and purpose. Stress broadly defined is anything that makes a system’s development more difficult, as the system acquires and transforms energy and material. 

We will investigate the dynamic connections in living systems between stress (also referred to as change, or disturbance) and resilience (response or adaptation). Key questions include: What is resilience in ecological and human communities? How do ecological systems, and the human mind and aptitudes for action, draw resilience from stressful experience? And how can we build social capital (human relationships) and promote collective action, while supporting ecological and social capacities to respond positively to change? 

Our second class meeting will be a one-day Saturday field trip to an old-growth forest and to Mt. St. Helens. There we will begin to examine relevant scientific and social concepts. During the rest of the quarter, Olympia’s Capitol Lake and the community of Olympia will focus our investigations of social and ecological capacities that support resilience before, during, and after stressful disturbance.

Program learning activities will include field work, labs and interactive workshops, discussions, readings, and research and writing assignments. Program participants will explore scientific perspectives, and work together to develop analytic habits of mind and performance as thoughtful observers and writers. Credit will be awarded in biology, ecology, and resilience and community studies.

Community Resilience:  Science and Society  can be taken as a one-quarter program. It is also linked to  Community Resilience  programs in Winter and Spring. 

Program Details

Fields of Study

biology community studies ecology sustainability studies

Preparatory For

environmental science, education, community organizing, non-profit/associational sector, government


Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered

Evening and Weekend

Advertised Schedule

Wednesdays, 6-10 pm and Saturdays, 9 am- 5 pm. First meeting Wednesday, September 28, 6pm, Sem II C1107.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning