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Education and Research

Externally Funded Projects

Pacific faculty and staff have been very active in research on environmental and sustainability topics. Faculty in Engineering, Biology, Chemistry and from the McGeorge School of Law are conducting projects in diverse topics ranging from the study of plastics being consumed by marine animals, to the movements of Anadromous fish in the Calaveras River, to oxygen levels in Delta waters, to international water law. Since June 2005 Pacific has received over $4 million for environmental research.

Internally Funded Projects

Pacific also dedicates some of its own funds to research, and environmental and sustainability-related research has represented a large portion of the projects funded. Since June 2005 Pacific has provided over $40,000 to faculty, staff and students to conduct projects on topics such as the following:

A Documentary on Coral Reef Preservation
Bio-diesel Fuel Production Prototype
Solid Waste Inventory on the Stockton Campus
Paper Use on the Stockton Campus: Reduction, Reuse and Recycling
Environmental factors impacting amphibian disease
Sustainable Energy Use on the Stockton Campus
Education and Sustainable Development in Rwanda

Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
The Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences emphasizes a hands-on, field-oriented approach to the study of geology and environmental science. Coursework can lead to either a major in Environmental Studies or Science, or it can be part of a Minor in Environmental Studies.

BA in Environmental Studies
The environmental studies major is a liberal arts degree program that provides a multi-disciplinary approach to the environmental issues and concerns that are a hallmark of the late 20th century. It may be especially useful to students who are already pursuing a major in one of the contributing fields, but it may also appeal to students who simply wish to consider the environment and its problems from a variety of perspectives

BS in Environmental Sciences
The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science is offered with the cooperation of several departments in the College and prepares students with the practical skills and knowledge required to critically evaluate environmental problems and issues and provide applied solutions.

Minor in Environmental Studies

Academic Minor in Sustainability
Pacific is introducing a new Minor in Sustainability beginning Fall 2009, coordinated through the School of Engineering. To earn a minor, a student will complete 20 units of coursework selected from among courses in Engineering, International Studies, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Economics, Philosophy, and Business.

Pacific Seminar Offerings

  • It's Not Easy Being Green
  • People, Planet and Profit
  • Who Gets What and Why? (Community Based Learning section)
  • Photography as Social Advocacy
  • Energy and Climate Change
  • Plenty of Fish in the Sea?
  • Gaia's Got a Fever (Honors section)
  • The Environmental Class
  • Economics and Social Welfare (Honors section)
  • Think Globally, Act Globally
  • Your Health is In Your Hands
  • A Sustainable Future?
  • And Justice For All
  • Animal Rights and Wrongs (Honors section)

Courses in Other Departments

Civil Engineering

CIVL 060. Water Quality
Chemical reactions and processes in aquatic systems with engineering applications. Chemical equilibrium and kinetics associated with acid-base, dissolution-precipitation, complexation, and reduction-oxidation reactions in natural and engineered environments.

CIVL 132. Introduction to Environmental Engineering
Physical, chemical, and biological processes associated with water quality in natural environments and engineering systems. Operation and design of water and waste-water treatment facilities. The occurrence, behavior and control of indoor and regional air pollution.

CIVL 133. Water Resources Engineering
Hydraulic analysis and design including pipe flow and open channel flow. Elements of the hydrological cycle. Deterministic and probabilistic analysis of rainfall-runoff data for estimation and design. Application of computers in hydrologic and hydraulic design.

CIVL 136. Design of Water Quality Control Facilities
Advanced coverage of the physical, chemical, and biological processes involved in the design of water and waste-water treatment plant facilities. Includes applicable design standards and regulations.

CIVL 138. Solid Waste Systems Design and Management
Introduction to solid waste systems; analysis of problems associated with storage, collection, transport, processing, and disposal of solid wastes. Review of current and expected regulatory requirements. Planning and design of solid waste management components including systems and processes for solid waste prevention, recycling/composting, incineration, and landfilling.

Sociology 93: Environment and Society
This course will investigate various explanations for the creation of environmental problems and the relationship between environment and inequality. Students will also highlight and critique potential solutions.

Philosophy 035. Environmental Ethics
An investigation of various environmental problems and the ethical attitudes and principles required to address them properly.

Biology 176. Ecology & Conservation Biology
This course introduces principles of ecology and considers threats and disruptions to ecological systems from the level of local populations through ecosystems, landscapes, and global processes. Ecological principles will be used to help understand these systems, to make predictions for the future or for other systems, and to evaluate possible solutions, The class will consider the importance of economic and demographic forces in causing conservation problems and in shaping conservation strategies, and students will practice planning conservation areas.

Economics 157. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
The application of economic theory to natural resource and environmental issues. Microeconomic principles are used to suggest what a proper balance between human activity and environmental preservation might be and to critically analyze current environmental policy. Both domestic and global issues are addressed. Topics include resource scarcity, sustainability and sustainable development, water conservation, mobile- and stationary-source air pollution, global warming, and toxic substances.

History 052. John Muir's World: Origins of the Conservation Movement
John Muir (1838-1914) is considered by most the "father" of the modern Conservation Movement. This course traces his life, his conservation crusades, and his global legacy. Home of the John Muir Papers, University of the Pacific's Library will be used by all students in the course for research on an aspect of John Muir's contributions to conservation. Field trips to the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez and to Yosemite National Park are often a part of this course.

History 136. American Environmental History
Topical survey of historical roots of environmental crises in contemporary North America beginning with western concepts of natural history. Main focus: three centuries of changing American attitudes, policies and activities that lead to the rise of the Conservation Movement by the late nineteenth century. Tensions between users and preservers, and the development of an ecological school of environmentalism since the 1940s.

Education 316 (Graduate Course, Curriculum & Instruction) Interdisciplinary Curriculum Inquiry
The purpose of this course is to engage doctoral candidates in exploring the ways subject matter content can be viewed through an interdisciplinary curricular lens. Educational problems, like political, economic, environmental, social, cultural problems need to be viewed from multiple perspectives requiring synthesis rather than separation of content disciplines. The challenge to better understanding the world around us lies in the ways in which we organize and utilize available knowledge. The intent of this course is to provide students with an interdisciplinary framework for understanding problems and inquiry-based skills necessary for understanding the ways in which content knowledge is interrelated.

International Studies 174. Global Environmental Policy
An examination of the major environmental problems confronting the world today and an analysis of specific policies formulated to address those problems. Among the issues to be studied are deforestation, atmospheric and marine pollution, climate change, ozone depletion, and species loss.