School of Global Sustainability
In January, 2010, a new School of Global Sustainability was created at USF. The School is an inclusive and holistic academic unit, based on integrated interdisciplinary research, scholarship, and teaching. Its strength derives from the committed involvement of faculty representing natural and social sciences, engineering, business, the humanities, arts, and health.
The school is anchored in its E-campus Master of Arts program in Global Sustainability, but the vitality of the school is generated by performances, collaborations, courses, discussions, shared ideas, research, explorations, and engagements from all USF affiliated faculty and students. The School is managed by an Executive Director and staffed by affiliated scholars, some from the University of South Florida System and some from other universities as well as business, industry, government, and the non-profit sector from throughout the world. The initial degree program, in Global Sustainability, focuses on water. Other concentrations including those dealing with food security and health, the designed and built environments, transportation, gender and ethnicity, global citizenry, climate change, coastal wetlands, the history of sustainable communities, the role of the arts in megacities, and the functioning of civic responsibility are planned for the future. The School of Global Sustainability reflects our commitment to transforming educational practice by leveraging existing intellectual capital, geographical location, emerging technologies, and our local and global partners.
Key characteristics of the School include: 1) The School is rooted in our geographical as well as intellectual capital, Tampa Bay’s coastal shorelines, with two thirds of the State of Florida being surrounded by water; Florida has a critical need for fresh water, and a need to sustain our environment; 2) USF offers renowned researchers in climate change, coastal environments, sustainable cities, health and society, STEM areas related to sustainability; 3) The School brings it all together, providing an E-campus MA program, along with an on-campus intellectual center for shared engagement, facilitating the creation of integrated, interdisciplinary research teams; 4) The initial emphasis is on global sustainability and water, but the School will evolve to reflect a broader focus on Sustainable Healthy Communities; 5) FTE generated will follow participating faculty to their respective departments/colleges.
Dr. Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, an internationally-recognized expert on urban water issues who has worked to create clean and sustainable water and sanitation systems through programs for UNESCO and the European Union, is the current SGS Director.
College of Arts and Sciences
There are several departments that explicitly focus on environment and/or sustainability. For example, in the natural sciences, the departments of Integrative Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Geography all offer relevant courses, and their undergraduate and graduate degrees focus, in part, on environmental topics. In addition, students can major or take a graduate interdisciplinary degree in the Department of Geography called “Environmental Science and Policy.” In the social sciences, the departments of Anthropology, Geography, and Government and International Affairs each have specific environmental or sustainability research and curriculum themes. Likewise, there are many courses and degrees in the humanities that, in part, focus on the environment. In several departments, there are community based courses with service-learning opportunities and international educational opportunities for students.
College of Behavioral and Community Sciences
The College of Behavioral and Community Sciences has a strong community focus at USF, and thus the expertise of many faculty members fits nicely within the community-based focus of sustainability.
College of Business
USF’s College of Business has several programs focused on sustainability and many faculty are involved with research or teaching on environmental issues. A strong theme within the college is business sustainability and sustainable enterprise, and there are practical projects on which students can work.
College of Education
The College of Education has a focus on science and environmental education, particularly within secondary education, but also including informal science education.
College of Engineering
Many faculty in the College of Engineering have a research or teaching interest in the biophysical environment. In particular, the faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are highly active on a number of initiatives given the topical nature of the undergraduate major. There are international and community based experiences available for students within the degree programs.
College of Marine Science
The faculty members in the College of Marine Science in many ways focus on and contribute to environmental education and research. In particular, several faculty members have expertise or interests in global climate change.
College of the Arts
Several faculty members in the College of the Arts have interests in the environment. In addition, several student and faculty projects have involved faculty from other disciplines to explore issues of sustainability and the environment. The Graphic Studio, The Institute for Research in Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum also have strong interests in environmental themes.
Students in the Honors College can take seminars on environmental topics taught by faculty in a number of different disciplines. In addition, many Honors students conduct senior projects that focus on sustainability and environmental issues. The Honors College annual seminar series for 2010-2011 will take the theme of Global Challenges for a Sustainable Future: Conversations with USF Scholars in Outcome-driven Sustainability Science.”
The USF Graduate School offers an annual grant funding program to promote research in sustainability science: Graduate Student Challenge Grants: Building Research Partnerships across Disciplines. These awards are up to $5000 per research team and fund one-year research projects organized by master’s and doctoral students. Each proposal must be submitted by a team of four students, where at least two of the students are from two different colleges. The proposals must be submitted in one of the following topic areas: neuroscience, sustainability of populations and/or the environment, diabetes and autoimmune disorders, partnerships with industry, global (international) research, or the arts.
Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions
The mission of the Patel Center is to promote and support nonpartisan, independent applied research that leads to the discovery, dissemination and application of new knowledge about the sources of and solutions to problems of global concern. The Center facilitates research and activities on topics of global concern and works to apply that work in areas of need around the world. Research that the Center is involved with focuses on the areas of education, water and sanitation, urbanization and migration, and sustainable activities. The Center will be housed in USF-Tampa’s first green (LEED certified) building, a four-story structure featuring environmentally-conscious sustainable design and employing technology that conserves energy and resources.
Center for Urban Transportation Research
The mission of the Center is to serve as a resource for policymakers, transportation professionals, the education system, and the public by providing high quality, objective transportation research.
Clean Energy Research Center
The mission of the Center is to develop, evaluate and promote commercialization of new environmentally clean energy sources and systems such as hydrogen, fuel cells, solar energy conversion, biomass utilization, etc., that meet the needs of the electric power and the transportation sector through multi-disciplinary research, technical and infrastructure development and information transfer.
Power Center for Utility Explorations
The mission of the Center is to explore all energy related issues comprehensively in renewable energy, transmission, distribution and generation systems.