Avoid this class at all costs. The assignments are overly time-consuming and purposeless. You are assigned a long, dry reading and expected to write an intelligent summary + analysis of the topic without ever discussing the subject in class. Expectations for the analysis are unclear. You lose points for not knowing the correct jargon (the professor and TA, Carolanne Boughton, are unforgiving over slight details) and not analyzing it as expected. Professor Dale is not a helpful professor. She is passive-aggressive and unaccommodating. Do not expect any leeway for health-related issues. This class is not accessible for students with different needs/learning styles. That being said, prof Dale knows a lot about her subject, and the lectures are occasionally interesting. Do not take this class if you dislike public speaking. Active participation and one class presentation (with a partner) are required. This class is framed as an introductory course to US environmental policymaking, but it demands a great amount of previous knowledge. The previous reviews were right in saying this should be a Poli-sci class. Do not take this class unless you are already well-versed in the US government. Find a better class, thank me later.
Overall, this class was worth taking and I learned a lot. Lisa is a GREAT lecturer - one of the most articulate, clear, and knowledgable professors I've had so far. You do genuinely learn a lot about environmental policy and how the US government works. I always left the class feeling like I had learned a ton and her lectures were very digestible and informative. I will, however, give a couple warnings. Lisa is kind of mean - the way she delivers and dishes feedback is odd and does not encourage participation. Sometimes she'll act like the question you asked is stupid or unclear and if you contribute to discussion and answer one of her questions she will often pick apart your answer and basically tell you you're wrong but in kind of a mean way that embarrasses you. A professor should tell you if your answer is wrong but there's a right and wrong way to deliver criticism and Lisa's way is just NOT IT!!! In terms of grading, again, her feedback is often mean and not constructive and sometimes the grading is SO arbitrary. She'll dock points off for random things that you can't really foresee and you obviously can't object to it because she'll just be mean to you. Although her grading is sometimes really strange, it is not hard to do well in her class (B+ is definitely doable, A- and A require effort but also doable). The midterm questions were extremely straightforward and as long as you paid attention in class and did the readings you'll be totally fine. If anyone is interested in understanding the basics of environmental policy, definitely take this class. Just be prepared for some odd and harsh criticism
I took Prof. Dale's class in Spring 2018, the first semester she taught it. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, informative elective. Especially if you are from the West (Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, California, Arizona, etc.) this course will help you understand your home so much more. She comes at the topic from a practitioner's background as well as a policymaking background, and that is very clear throughout the course. While there is some information about ecology/science, it is probably more similar to a political science course than a sus dev course. It is reading-heavy, however, and Dale is an extremely fair grader, so if you're looking for an easy A this isn't it. Her syllabus is very organized, so the workload is certainly manageable if you plan it out.
Writing this review because Sclar no longer teaches Urbanization and Sustainability. Watson is a great prof. and I learned a lot. There's quite a bit of reading, including 4 books (we didn't read the last one because of the transition to remote learning), but all were applicable. There were a couple of short essays and a final essay (changed to a group essay for us, again because of the pandemic), all of which were graded fairly and had A-averages. When the pandemic hit, Watson was super understanding and reduced the reading, canceled a required field trip, and assured us that we would all pass. She works on these issues every day at the mayor's office and you can tell that she knows her stuff. She is really passionate about her field, facilitates great discussions, and provides helpful feedback. Urbanization is a huge field, but Watson is great at picking out the things that you need to know as a beginner and teaching you key things about them.