Course Consideration: PSYC3648

Ian Tash, Podcaster

In this episode, Podcaster Ian Tash interviews Dr. Carol Raupp about the course PSYC3648 Environmental Psychology

Available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Music @TheRunnerOnAir


Speaker 1 0:01
Hi, my name is Ian Alexander TASH, and you’re listening to course consideration brought to you by the runner. CSUB has a lot of different degrees, and even more classes. But most of us don’t know what’s being taught on our campus. And we might be really missing out on some of that. So that’s why I decided to interview some professors to hopefully see what sort of interesting odd things that our campus thinks might be cool to learn. I hope you enjoy the interview. Could you think you could introduce yourself to the listeners and tell them a little bit about yourself?

Speaker 2 0:38
Okay, I’m Carol Rob. I’m a professor of psychology at CSUB. It’s about my 36th year here. And I have taught many different kinds of courses during my time here, but the one that I’m most heartfelt about would have to be the environmental psychology course. And then I teach some other courses and environmentally related areas too, which I developed as interest in specialty because of the great need. Before I came to Bakersfield, I thought of myself as an environmentalist in the 1980s. But it was all in my head, and I wasn’t really doing anything about it. And then here, the need is so clear. And I decided I wanted to teach about it.

Speaker 1 1:28
That’s, that’s quite wonderful. So you actually mentioned the class, I wanted to talk to you about a little bit, the environmental psychology class, Psych 3648. How would you describe that class?

Speaker 2 1:42
it can be described in several ways, one, that it counts as a general education, self course. And the self courses are meant to be self transformational and to give students an opportunity and a motivation and a likelihood to change their lives on a permanent basis and take something away from the course and their degree that they carry with them. So it’s a course that psychology and psychology concepts in science, but it’s also self transformational. And in more recent years, I’ve also emphasized trying to help students through the assignments connect with their local community, and with bigger issues of environmental justice. And I’ve tried to be a bit more optimistic in recent years about that we really do know how, and what we need to change, we just need to get there. It’s not all grim. But we do need to get a move on.

Speaker 1 2:52
Right? Yeah, I totally agree. And that’s why when I discovered that there were classes like living the green life and environmental psychology, I really wanted to dive more into this class. So just to let our listeners know a little bit more about this class, what’s what’s the workload for this class? Like, what should they expect when they go into it?

Speaker 2 3:14
Okay, well, I would say it has some traditional academic loads. So there’s multiple choice tests, a couple of midterms and a final. But it also has several small applied assignments, there’s one called know your community, where people go out and connect with a green activity or location in the community and write a report about it. And then we discuss it in class, or they find out about an environmental issue from a list of about 200 I have in the syllabus, they find out a little bit about that, bring it back to class, discuss it, and so forth. But the huge thing is, students take on a five-week personal behavior change project. And they are asked to make a meaningful change in their impact upon the environment, they measure their carbon and water footprints before and after the project to see for themselves. They’ve made changes in those areas. And, you know, as the years go by, and pressing the urgency of this, that we all we have to do this, we have to make dramatic changes in our life. It’s still going to be a quality of life, and it’s going to be a different life. And so in that one, I urge them to take it very seriously. And they keep data on themselves for five weeks and then write a report about it. And it’s possible to still get a good grade even if some things flubbed up if they understand the psychology of why that happened. Why did I not to find myself able to do that kind of thing, but lots of students make big changes. I’d be curious myself to try to measure for instance, how much water has been conserved over the years, every now and then I get a student in the class who reports at the beginning that they take showers with the water running for two or three hours a day as a stress reduction. And so they’re using 1000s of gallons of water a week. And another kind of thing going on is more recently since the vocabulary has changed from vegetarianism to plant-based eating a lot more people are interested now in changing how they eat. And that has a huge environmental impact. So they’re making a difference in their own lives, and they’re making a difference in the world around them.

Speaker 1 5:42
That’s actually really interesting. Like the showers one is one, I would have sort of expected that idea of like, you know, showers, you know, I get a lot of people take long showers, but the plant-based eating thing I actually hadn’t thought of as a psychological issue, like a changing of language, that’s actually, that’s actually really cool to learn about. So I walked away from this already learning something about this stuff. So that’s awesome. Thank you very much for that. Um, so obviously, there’s a lot of self transformational aspects in this class that I think is really cool. Not every class offers that. And you mentioned that it covers that, that self requirement for GE, who else would you say this class is for other than just people looking to fill out GE requirements?

Speaker 2 6:33
Well, it’s a junior-level class, and it’s upper-division, and so forth. I would say. It’s for everybody, we’re, we’re all in the sinking boat right now. The loss of biodiversity and we’re all choking on the air pollution and so forth. So it’s for everybody, but at a junior level or above. And, you know, it counts for itself, it counts in the psych major as an elective. It counts for people in the environmental resource management, Major, so forth. And I’ll say that there’s a faculty committee at the university right now who’s trying to develop an entire minor in Sustainability, and a new core course for it, that would be sort of an interdisciplinary introduction, and so forth. So I hope there’s more available in the future. Yeah,

Speaker 1 7:31
That would be really interesting to see more of a environmentalist sustainable programs here at CSUB. I’m very happy that we have one, at least in the psychology department, this in this form, I’ll definitely make sure to make sure my psych major friends are listening, because I know which elective to take. But that being said, though, do you have any warnings for anybody, just about people who go into this class, like any preconceptions that they should put aside or just anything that they should just keep in mind before they enrolled?

Speaker 2 8:02
I would say not so much these days, when I started teaching this course, in some form or another more than 20 years ago. And when I was first teaching it, there was more skepticism in denial that there was such a thing as the climate catastrophe building at that point in time, and you know, I get this. So sigh reviews back in here, and you’re there when it says, Oh, she’s an eco feminazis. And it’d be another one that said, It’s so unfair that we are subjected to this professors personal opinion about what’s happening to the earth when it’s not really happening kind of thing. These days, I’d say most students come in with at least some vague awareness of the thing called climate change, or climate catastrophe. And what that has to do with some possible danger looming somewhere in the future, somewhere. But I continue to be startled by how few of them seem to know what’s happening. Now. It’s happening to them, it’s happening here. And they need to know that. So it’s a serious course, in that sense. But again, I try to also emphasize what this has to do with moving their quality of life in a more positive direction, such as being less poisoned, and moving towards a more positive greener community, in all senses of the word and so forth. So yeah, I think they just I would like to see students take it seriously, but they may come in rather clueless, and that sometimes makes students feel frightened and guilty, but got to deal with it.

Speaker 1 9:42
Yeah. So when you say frightened and guilty, that idea of just sorry, I’m putting the thoughts together in my head, and making sure I’m processing that correctly, just so they might kind of just reject the material somewhat kind of going into it because of their fear of the matter or

Speaker 2 9:58
not so much these days. it’s more, more almost apologetic all the times like, oh, oh, I didn’t realize this. And I didn’t realize that I didn’t realize this and I didn’t realize this was connected to that. And I didn’t realize there was environmental injustice, such a thing as that, you know, and I didn’t know I was doing this.

Speaker 1 10:21
It’s a maybe more of like a climate grief than

Speaker 2 10:24
Yes, yes, that although, you know, it also attracts and it’s fine. Students who are green, some of them are greener than I am and a more expert about some areas of greenness. And those kinds of students tend to find it Affirmative. You know, to have like-minded souls around them.

Speaker 1 10:47
Glad that there’s that community sort of being built through this class, then in a way people that exchange information. That’s, that’s, a great thing. But how often is this class offered at CSUB?

Speaker 2 11:02
The course was only offered once this year, because of my course schedule. It is going to be offered this spring, spring of 2021. And it’s going to be face to face. Yay. And I hope, but I have to negotiate it with my department. I have to offer it twice next year.

Speaker 1 11:23
All right. Well, that that will be something to, for us to keep an eye on there to see where it’s offered, but at least next spring, we know for those of us that are listening, that’s good. So I have one more question for you about this class. And it’s a two-parter. So what has been your favorite moment? teaching this course and your least favorite moment teaching this course?

Speaker 2 11:51
So many? Some?

Speaker 1 11:53
Okay. All right. All right. No,

Speaker 2 11:55
no, you said that to me ahead of time I had to think about, I have to say the one I still get the biggest kick out of is that there was a time one day I was just walking across the campus minding my own business, and a bicycle zoomed up to me. It’s just and the person might, you did this to me, and then started laughing, just laughing hilariously and took off the helmet. And I thought it was one of my former environmental psychology students, and she said after your class, now I ride the bike everywhere. And I’m vegetarian. And I’m this and I’m that and she just was laughing. And she said her life was so much better. And so it was funny because of the way she presented it to me, You did this to me. And I’m good, I’m glad. And then the worst. And this is repeated a few times here and there every now and then I have a student comes up to me. After they’ve taken the class and been out of it for a while. They come up to me and they just sort of laughingly tell me that once the course was over, they stopped doing anything. And, you know, isn’t that kind of funny? As if they think I will think that’s funny. And I think it’s tragic. You know, I don’t try to chew them out or anything. But that’s that, you know, that’s a bad moment to think somehow it didn’t get through.

Speaker 1 13:15
Thank you for joining us for course considerations brought to you by the runner on the air. What did you think about this class? Feel free to reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tiktok. And of course, you can always read our publication on We hope to see you again soon.