Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.07
Liaison Breeana Sylvas
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of California, Merced
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Teamrat Ghezzehei
Associate Professor
School of Natural Sciences
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Does the institution offer at least one immersive, sustainability-focused educational study program that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused immersive program(s) offered by the institution:

CORE 1 is a curricular requirement for all freshmen at UC Merced.

The CORE 1 Course—which is subtitled “The World at Home: Planning for the Future in a Complex World”—is future-oriented, to help students gain the intellectual tools, knowledge and insights they will need as informed citizens devising solutions to real-life problems. CORE 1 aims to understand the world at large as it is reflected in California’s current issues. By examining, for example, the local evidence of global problems, students grapple with the issues that affect them personally and professionally.

CORE 1 poses a set of questions as they are framed by the various domains of human knowledge known as the disciplines. In CORE 1, UC Merced faculty introduce students to how their disciplines define the challenges faced by informed citizens of this new century.

For example:
• Can advances in technology mitigate the effects of burgeoning populations and resource depletion?
• How will a changing climate affect the future migration of human populations?
• How do citizens decide among conflicting ethical choices, each with a compelling claim?

Faculty from all three Schools join together to show how such complex questions might best be probed through connecting the insights of their disciplines.

In CORE 1, students:
• work together in groups on joint projects or problems to build leadership and teamwork abilities;
• learn to think analytically and communicate effectively in the context of problems affecting their lives and futures; and
• use quantitative methods as well as ethical judgment to make decisions and defend those decisions to peers;

A hallmark of the course is a disaster scenario collaborative assignment where students complete an abbreviated drought plan for California. The prompt reads: “As researchers who consult for the California Department of Water Resources, your team must develop a targeted two-year policy for identifying and distributing currently available water while balancing the needs of humans with those of the environment. The governor has asked for a statistically-informed narrative proposal with visual displays of information (including data pertaining to contexts such as residential, agricultural, industrial, commercial, civic, and/or environmental uses) in which your team details a plan for allocating a significant amount of our current water reserves toward an overall reduction rate of at least 25%.”

The website URL where information about the immersive program(s) is available:

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