Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking

Many scientists and engineers are trained to take a reductionist view of the world, breaking it down and analyzing it in discrete well characterized chunks on which experiments can be done and hypotheses tested. Unfortunately the synthesis required to take the reductionist knowledge and place it back into broader contexts is often missing from their training and subsequently their mental models of how to approach topics such as sustainable communities.

Public Health Analytics

The socioecological model of public health clearly establishes the importance of physical and social environments in building healthy, sustainable communities and influencing population health. This research paradigm is firmly embedded in the idea that the health status of an individual is simultaneously produced by individual biology and their surrounding physical, social, cultural and political context.

Civil Engineering Systems

In CEE 3000, we learn about civil engineering systems and how to apply the systems approach and a sustainable engineering approach to planning, design, implementation, operation and renewal of systems. Per the Civil Engineering Code of Ethics, the concept of sustainability is the operating paradigm for making decisions across the life cycle of civil engineered facilities. A primary goal of the course is the expand the way we think about civil infrastructure systems from primarily physical to sociotechnical.

Sustainable Food Systems

Food nourishes not only our bodies, but our spirits, families, and communities. At its best, food is healthful, economically sustainable, culturally appropriate and environmentally beneficial. Yet, all too often and for too many people, the quantity, quality and character of food remains inadequate for individual nutrition and damaging to our economy, society and environment. Food production and distribution is increasingly mono-culture, globalized and processed, with significant impacts on human well-being, climate, environment, economy, and culture.

Urban and Regional Economics

In Urban Economics, Atlanta is an interesting city. It is one of the most segregated cities ethnically and economically. It is one of the most sprawled cities in the US. The unique features affect your life. Atlanta shows very low inter-generational income mobility. Drivers spend so much time stuck in traffic. We study urban economic theory to explain how the city characteristics affect your life.

Chemical Product Design

This course provides a product design algorithm that can facilitate design and development of new or improved products. The design process emphasizes the concepts of sustainability, and discusses the impact of products, specifically chemical products on the community. Product design is discussed from the social, cultural and environmental perspectives, whereby the need for technology development for the social good becomes key.

Urban and Regional Economics

In Urban Economics, Atlanta is an interesting city. It is one of the most segregated cities in terms of races and incomes. It is one of the most sprawled cities in the US. This unique features affect your life. For example, children from families at the 25th percentile income in Seattle, have economic outcomes comparable to children from families at the median in Atlanta (Raj et al. 2014). Why do Atlanta kids show this poor performance? We study urban economic theory about your life and city.

The Rhetorics and Poetics of Dirt

This course asks students to examine what we talk about when we talk about “dirt,” and how do the things we communicate about dirt change its presence in our lives. The major assignments facilitate learning goals through four units: dirt vs. soil, earthworks, dirt stories, and trendy dirt. The primary texts in this course will largely deal with a North American perspective on dirt. We will engage with American film (ex: Grapes of Wrath, Waterworld, Noma, Interstellar, The Martian, the Mad Max megaverse), and contemporary American literature.

Sustainability, Technology, and Policy

This course - taught on the Pacific Program - will develop a theoretical understanding of sustainability, from a bottom-up perspective that considers ecological outcomes as a function of human institutions. It begins with defining and understanding the tragedy of the commons, and develops an understanding of why we might not be doomed to this tragedy. While exploring broad themes in environmental ethics, philosophy, and management, it will explore cases in the Pacific context, and will include a service-learning project in Fiji.

Technology and Society

Technology and Society examines connections between the history of technology and other aspects of human history. The course uses historical episodes to challenge widely held misperceptions about technology and how it operates in the modern world. I argue that technology is a human product, not an autonomous force. Technology makes nothing happen by itself, but only as the result of human action. People can choose to design and use technology in different ways to better serve human needs.

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