Pacific Seminar 2: Sustainability

Gene Pearson,
University of the Pacific


The course introduces students to the concept of sustainability and how sustainability policies are developed and implemented in corporations, universities, and non-profit and government agencies. Students explore the best ways for government agencies to encourage individuals and organizations to implement sustainable practices.

Course Size:

Course Format:
Small-group seminar

Institution Type:
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate

Course Context:

The course is part of the University of the Pacific's Freshman Seminar Program which is required of all first year students. These seminars are designed to develop academic writing, research and oral presentation skills as well as broaden social awareness and encourage engaged citizenship.

Course Content:

This course covers topics of resource utilization [soils, water, metals, energy,etc.] in the context of developing a more sustainable society. Students develop research skills including the retrieval, evaluation and interpretation of information. They develop critical thinking and writing skills by presenting the results of their research both in writing and orally.

Course Goals:

In addition to developing critical thinking, research, writing and oral presentation skills, it is expected that the student will gain a much greater awareness of their natural environment and its finite nature. An additional goal is helping the student understand how sustainability policies are developed and implemented as well as their challenges and benefits.

Course Features:

The students will interact with individuals working on sustainability issues on site and well as interacting with individuals invited to campus. The students apply what they have learned in the first half of the semester by completing the capstone sustainability policy/implementation paper and formally presenting their results to the class during the final two weeks of the semester.

Course Philosophy:

Energy topics are a natural fit for a course centered on the topic of sustainability.


Assessment is based on the student presentations and their written paper. The paper becomes part of each students Pacific e-portfolio which is used for assessment thoroughout their tenure at Pacific.


Pacific Seminar: Sustainability [DRAFT Syllabus] (Microsoft Word 40kB May12 09)

Teaching Materials:

Pacific Seminar Expectation for all Sections (Microsoft Word 60kB May12 09)

References and Notes: