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Environmental courses in works

By Daily Bruin Staff

March 10, 1996 9:00 p.m.

Environmental courses in works

Newly-developed Institute grounded in Mother Nature

By Kathryn Combs

Daily Bruin Contributor

At a time when the environment is a pressing issue, UCLA faculty
have developed a program to find solutions to current environmental

In response to the lack of general education courses at UCLA on
the environment, the university founded the Institute of the
Environment, headed by Professor Richard Turco.

Institute officials are developing an environmentally-based
curriculum to span both undergraduate and graduate studies. These
courses will come from various university departments, ranging from
urban planning to biology to engineering.

"By drawing people in from different departments, it allows
students to see that environmental study isn’t confined to one
discipline." said Johannes Feddema, an assistant geography
professor who is currently teaching Geography 5, the first in the
series of classes offered by the institute.

Geography 5, an introductory course on the study of the
environment, offers a broad overview of the problems plaguing the
environment. The course provides students with basic knowledge
about environmental problems, Feddema said.

"The advantage … is that it (Geography 5) will expose students
to disciplines that they might not think of as environmentally
important … this is important from the perspective of a GE
course." he said. "What I’ve done is try to show how different
disciplines within the university are looking at how to study the

While the basics of the course remain similar to what has been
taught in the past, Feddema has added five guest lecturers to
represent the many disciplines involved in researching
environmental issues.

The lecturers include biology Professor William Hamner, urban
planning Assistant Professor Julie Roque, atmospheric sciences
department Chair Rich Turco, civil and environmental engineering
department Chair Michael Stenstrom and Arthur Winer, an
environmental science and engineering professor in the School of
Public Health.

Further plans include developing a minor in the study of the
environment. Students from majors not traditionally associated with
environmental study will be able to take courses offered by the
institute and receive a minor in environmental studies, said Mel
Suffet, head of the environmental science and engineering program
in the School of Public Health.

By bringing together faculty and students from various
university departments, the institute officially hope to foster a
relationships among departments on environmental issues, which will
include interdisciplinary research.

"It is clear that there are serious environmental problems
regionally, locally and globally … in order to solve these
problems you need a multi-disciplinary approach." Turco said. "It
means getting various people from various fields working together
on the same problem side by side. A university like UCLA has a
unique combination of highly talented people to develop solutions
to these problems."

Through researching criteria such as water, land, individual
health and urban planning, the institute will provide an annual
Environmental Report Card for Southern California. Through it, the
institute will be able to offer advice to surrounding communities
on what to do about resulting problems.

Turco saw this as leading to an Environmental Report Card for
UCLA. This would enable students to look at various aspects of the
environment that directly effect them as inhabitants of the UCLA

"We are not just interested in solving existing problems, but in
training and educating people to deal with future problems," Turco
said.Comments to [email protected]

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