Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.21
Liaison Julie Hopper
Submission Date July 29, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Elias Platte-Bermeo
Sustainability Program Assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one immersive, sustainability-focused educational study program that is one week or more in length?:

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

Faculty-Led Programs (FLP) bring the world to USC and USC to the world. Through Dornsife Experiential Learning, FLP supports and guides the development, implementation and coordination of safe programs that challenge preconceptions, lead to personal transformation, encourage problem-solving and are a driving force for a better future in our community and our world.

For students, this takes the form of fostering critical thought, intellectual growth, and professional practices through exposure to diverse traditions, languages, perspectives, and contexts in courses that are conducted both internationally and domestically.

For faculty, FLP provides opportunities to research on-site, to innovate experiential curricula and programming, and to teach and work with students in diverse cultures and contexts. These programs enrich the work, instruction and professional lives of our faculty back here on USC's Campus in Los Angeles.

Faculty-Led Programs include a wide array of options such as Problems without Passports, core courses and basic language courses that reflect various disciplines and studies, include domestic and international travel and range in duration from one week to an entire semester. FLP includes a dynamic variety of session options such as Maymesters, Julymesters, Spring Break, Spring Semester and Spring Semester Tail Programs and summer programs.

1) ENST 432: Environment and Governance: International and National Policymaking
The problems without passports class is designed to expose students to policy makers and to major domestic and international institutions, working either closely with local decision makers or towards developing national and international level environmental policy framework in the Netherlands and Germany. Risk of extreme climate events, coastal flooding, food security, biodiversity conservation, etc., are some of the topics that will be covered in the class. Students will attend special presentations, meet directly with the leaders of major institutions and organizations, participate in brainstorming sessions on special topics and learn first-hand how policy framework is developed. As a result of the meetings and visits, students will write a policy-oriented scholarly paper, using the readings, meetings, interviews, presentations, and outside material. Students are encouraged to apply for SURF.
More information: https://dornsife.usc.edu/enst-432/

2) Environmental Studies 499: Tropical Coastal Zone Sustainability
The course will introduce students to field skills and ecosystem management tools used to investigate complex environmental problems in coastal areas. Such topics will be reviewed in terms of their application to local issues within the Los Angeles region and to more remote areas of the world such as island ecosystems located in the Caribbean Sea. Students will be provided with directed opportunities to work and learn in temperate and tropical coastal environments, and to gain a better understanding of the interdisciplinary complexities of implementing ecosystem management strategies in a real landscape.
More information: https://dornsife.usc.edu/enst-499/

3) BISC 499: Coastal Biodiversity, Sustainability, and Conservation
This is a highly-immersive course with a somewhat dual focus. Students will pursue topics in coastal marine management, sustainable aquaculture and fisheries biology in the exceedingly endemic biodiversity and Mediterranean climate of Catalina Island. Here students will be encouraged to develop their own research focus for a field-based project, while learning about the history and application of sustainable aquaculture initiatives, coastal marine management and marine conservation biology. Students will have an amazing array of labs at the Wrigley Marine Science Center, including what we have lovingly dubbed “the blue house” which is home to researchers conducting exciting, cutting-edge research projects with focuses in marine biology, genetics, and molecular biology -just to name a few! The class will then travel to the subtropical climate of Taipei, Taiwan. At National Taiwan University students will visit the Fushan Botanical gardens while discussing the deleterious impacts of global climate change and the implications for future global ecosystems. This portion of the course will involve highly-interactive discussions, and field-trips to provide for global insights into coastal ecosystem management and conservation biology. Overall, this course allows students a unique opportunity to work alongside their instructors to develop invaluable skillsets applicable to a cross-section of highly exciting and important fields of research. When not in class, everyone will have access to Wrigley’s amazing waterfront activities like snorkeling, hiking and kayaking. When in Taipei, students will branch out from the main focus of the class to also observe the rich cultural history of Taiwan by visiting local museums and exploring the campus of National Taiwan University.
More information: https://dornsife.usc.edu/bisc-499/

4) IR 422: Ecological Security and Global Politics
The 4-unit PWP course explores the complex issues surrounding climate change and its impact on the Arctic region through one week of class study and three weeks of field work in Finland (Helsinki, Rovaniemi, and Inari), Norway (Tromsø and Oslo), and Iceland (Reykjavik and Akureyri). The popular view of the Arctic as a region of frozen solitude and remote beauty is now quickly yielding to a more complex series of images: a bellwether of climate change, as the polar ice caps shrink; an energy bonanza, as exploration for oil and gas riches long imagined now become accessible; the venue for a new tourist industry alongside expanded commercial shipping, as the dream of a Northwest (and Northeast) passage becomes a reality; and a zone of interstate confrontation, as all the preceding push the Arctic powers to expanded territorial claims. These developments raise multiple policy issues. How can conflicting national interests be reconciled? Are current treaties sufficient to protect the fragile Arctic ecosystem from the degradation of petroleum prospecting and commercial shipping? How will the infrastructure to deal with oil spills or maritime incidents be built? Who will defend the interests of the traditional peoples of the Arctic regions? A rudimentary international legal framework exists, from the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to the committees of the ad hoc Arctic Council. But it is just that—promising, yet rudimentary—and only beginning to negotiate the many conflicting positions of the main Arctic powers: the U.S., Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark. Will these positions on territorial, economic and environmental issues harden into confrontation, or can the Arctic become the locus of a successful new regime of “global governance”? The task for students—after an intense week of preparation at USC—will be to explore these issues with diplomatic, energy, environmental and other experts in six settings (Helsinki, Rovaniemi, Inari, Tromsø, Oslo, Reykjavik, and Akureyri) as prelude to drafting a coherent set of policy recommendations.
More information: https://dornsife.usc.edu/ir-422/

Website URL where information about the institution’s immersive education programs is available:
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