Environmental Initiatives for Teaching and Research at Rice University


Report of the Environmental Strategic Planning (ESP) Committee


Draft 7 : 24 November, 1997

Mark Wiesner (Chair)
Rob Dunbar
Kathy Ensor
Keith Hamm
Paul Harcombe
George Hirasaki
Diane Hirschl
Joe Hughes
Walter Isle
Peter Mieszkowski
Hanadi Rifai
Chelsea Marseille Valdes


"Man’s conquest of Nature" is, to many, an apt description of progress. The implicit rivalry expressed in this phrase encompasses an intellectual conquest as well as a mastery of our environment for the benefit of humanity. However, there is tremendous scrutiny and discussion of this world view as global population, urbanization, technological change, and the environmental impacts of technology accelerate. Reductivist responses to such challenges no longer appear sufficient. Population growth, for example, has obvious consequences for urban and economic development, water and energy resources, natural habitats, air quality, and public health; even if the rate of population growth decreases, unmet needs will continue to multiply as we strive to fulfill the legitimate demands of developing countries for an acceptable quality of life. Amidst the debate on what should or should not be done in the face of such change, there is an undeniable responsibility on the part of the world’s educational institutions to foster critical thinking regarding social and ecological patterns, causes and effects, and appropriateness of solutions.

We as educators have the opportunity to provide our students &endash; those future engineers, policy makers, scientists, business leaders, and citizens &endash; with a much-needed understanding of the natural context in which human society exists. Such an education necessarily includes knowledge not only of the science needed to comprehend our environment and of the technologies by which we have shaped and will continure to shape it, but it also requires knowing our environmental heritage and understanding the attitudes and values that, through history, have determined our cultural relationship with the natural world. If we lead ourselves and our students to an understanding of our current situation in all its dimensions, if engineers and scientists enhance a rigorous technical foundation with philosophical and aesthetic grounding in their studies, and if social scientists and humanists have a firm grasp of basic environmental science and technology, we will be far better able to confront environmental challenges, understand their ramifications, and provide the leadership to resolve them.

Houston provides ample material for studying modern environmental challenges; in fact, we believe Rice is perfectly situated to influence the educational, scientific, and local communities by seizing the unique opportunities and responsibilities afforded by Houston’s size and location. The university's international focus is also crucial to studies of the environment, since many of the challenges we confront are global in nature. Our goal is to establish a focused interdisciplinary presence in environmental education and research which will provide interaction among all the schools of the university, academic and professional. To this end we propose:

  • Curricular innovations including integrated environmental courses and curricula which will create avenues for interdisciplinary and liberal education for undergraduates and graduate students as well as meeting the need for solid educational preparation in environmental problem solving and critical thinking,
  • A roadmap for faculty replacement and additions which will invigorate current divisions while servicing environmental curricula and stimulating interdisciplinary research in four selected areas: 

    Society, urban metabolism, and industry;
    Ecosystems and natural resources;
    Surficial Processes
    ; and
    Atmospheric Processes.

  • Establishment of a Steering Committee for Environmental Programs which will serve as a curriculum-based, campus-wide focal point for coordination of coursework and curricula, a forum for intellectual inquiry and discussion, and a source of information on opportunities for study and research on the environment at Rice University.

We propose that these initiatives &emdash; implemented through an evolution of activities on the part of current faculty, faculty enhancements, and the normal process of faculty replacements &emdash; will serve as one vehicle for implementing the general goals set forth in strategic plans for the University and its Schools.



"The environment" is a theme that cuts across academic boundaries. Development of this theme is a natural vehicle for advancing Rice University’s position of national and international academic leadership through a combination of the highest quality liberal education and groundbreaking research. Faculty from departments across the University are active in teaching and research directed at understanding the environment and exploring means of sustaining environmental quality in conjunction with society's activities. Increasing numbers of students are looking to environmental curricula in the pursuit of their professional preparation and personal enrichment.

Moreover, population growth, economic development, habitat loss, a rapidly expanding technological base, and greater pressure on existing resources are among the global trends that conspire to create a growing need for environmental education and research. Rice University is well positioned to make important contributions in solving environmental problems of international, national and regional importance. Our current strengths, reputation, size, and location combine to present substantial opportunities for playing center stage in many of the environmental issues to be confronted over the next 20 years or more.

We propose to build on the foundation of current teaching and research activities in traditional departments through a series of initiatives whose primary goal is to establish a focused interdisciplinary presence in environmental education and research at Rice. We propose a program of education and research which will be a meeting place, or "common room," for faculty and students across the university who share our common concerns about the environment and its future.

These initiatives include:

  • Curricular innovations including integrated environmental course work and curricula which will create avenues for interdisciplinary and liberal education for undergraduates and graduate students as well as meeting the need for solid educational preparation in environmental problem solving and critical thinking,
  • A roadmap for faculty replacement and additions which will invigorate current divisions while servicing environmental curricula and stimulating interdisciplinary research in four selected areas, and
  • Establishment of a Steering Committee for Environmental Programs which will serve as a curriculum-based, campus-wide focal point for coordination of coursework and curricula, a forum for intellectual inquiry and discussion, and a source of information on opportunities for study and research on the environment at Rice University.

Recommendations set forth in recent strategic planning initiatives at the University level and within the Schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences have expressed consensus on numerous key points including the need for interdisciplinary education, expanded opportunities for undergraduate internships and research, selected enhancement of our graduate programs, globalization of the university’s activities and presence, better integration of the undergraduate and graduate student populations, and expanded interactions with the Houston community to name a few. Campus-wide initiatives in environmental scholarship and research are ideally suited to respond to these needs. We propose that these initiatives might serve as one vehicle for implementing the general goals set forth in strategic plans for the University and its Schools.

The following sections detail the key points of the proposed initiative developed over a 9 month period in consultation with faculty and students across the Rice campus. The committee also meet with several representatives from local academic institutions and studied strategic plans for environmental initiatives developed at peer institutions.





1) Facilitate and expand the avenues for undergraduates to study and do research on environmental topics.

Opportunities for interdisciplinary studies centered on "environment" as a theme are numerous and range from informal enrichment of a student’s course work through a broader menu of offerings to the formal pursuit of an undergraduate major or graduate degree. Catalyzed in part by this committee’s efforts, there are currently several curricular innovations which have been put in place, are formally proposed or are under consideration. These include proposals for new courses, new undergraduate double majors, and joint-degree programs.

We envision innovations at the undergraduate level, as meeting the needs of three, often overlapping, groups of students: 1) Students that wish to obtain a solid preparation for graduate or professional study oriented towards careers as environmental professionals such as environmental engineers, scientists, economists, environmental/regulatory policy analysts, lawyers, or historians; 2) Students pursing non-environmental careers such as petrochemical engineers, corporate managers, or architects to name a few. These students will benefit from a knowledge of the environmental dimensions of problems and issues they will confront in their personal and professional lives even though "environmental" may not be in their job description; and 3) Students who will benefit from "environment" as a vehicle for general education.


Focused Environmental Courses and Curricula

Environmental curricula leading to stand-alone undergraduate majors were considered and rejected by the committee. Rather, the committee felt that students entering environmental professions from economics to engineering, are best served when they are able to contribute a sound foundation in a traditional discipline to the environmental dialogue. Currently, there are two options for Rice undergraduates wishing to pursue an environmental curriculum as a double major. Two additional options are under active consideration. At present, a dependent double major in Environmental Engineering Sciences is offered through the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering. Although this double major has been offered in the School of Engineering for over 20 years, innovations adopted in Spring 1997 have put more humanities and social sciences into an engineering curriculum while making it much more accessible to students across the campus. Students pursuing any stand-alone major on campus are potentially eligible to enter into the double major in Environmental Engineering Sciences. Introductory course work in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology are required in addition to 5 core courses within the department of Environmental Science and Engineering. Students are also required to take a minimum number of "environmental" electives in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering. An introductory course for both majors and non-majors has been offered by the department for many years. In the revised double major, undergraduates are also encouraged to participate in research activities during their junior or senior years with the goal of integrating concepts from course work in "capstone" projects.

A "sister" curriculum in Environmental Policy was developed in Spring 1997 with input from this committee as a track within the dependent double major in Policy Studies and is set for adoption in the current academic year. A similar architecture for the Policy Studies and Environmental Engineering Sciences curricula was adopted to facilitate interactions between students in the two double major programs (Figure 1). Faculty in the School of Natural Sciences have independently proposed a curriculum that fits this generic format. Further modifications to the ES&E double major to accomodate issues raised in the Natural Sciences proposal are under consideration. A Humanities-based approach to the study of Cultures and the Environmental within this format is also under consideration. The Environmental Policy track within Policy Studies differs from the ES&E double major primarily in the specific introductory course work and core courses proposed. Students pursuing the Policy Studies double major take introductory course work related to Policy Studies followed by 5 "core" courses in Environmental Policy. A set of electives within the double major is designed to encourage students to incorporate coursework in the Natural Sciences, Engineering, and the Humanities into this double major offered in the School of Social Sciences. A capstone course involves independent environmental research projects.

We anticipate a general introductory course suitable for all environmental double majors as well as non-majors to be offered in the Freshman or Sophomore years. Also, students participating in different environmental curricula at Rice might be encouraged to come together near the end of their studies to perform common capstone projects drawing on the perspectives and expertise of students and faculty from across campus. Such a "capstone" course could be organized as a research effort which would give undergraduates a unique view of research activities here at Rice, sharpen critical thinking, and increase interactions between undergraduate and graduate students.


Figure 1. Generic format for environmental double majors. Common introductory and capstone courses for these double majors are proposed. Introductory, capstone courses, and electives offer opportunities for presenting general education distristribution requirements within an environmental theme to non-majors.



Environment as an approach for General Education

The courses and structure for the double majors discussed in the preceding section encourage students to integrate approaches from humanities, natural sciences, engineering, architecture, business and the social sciences. We hope to use environmental topics as vehicles for encouraging Rice engineers and scientists to see connections between the sciences and humanities and for students of the humanities to better understand the scientific and technical dimensions of our world. Other approaches to general education&emdash; not necessarily mutually exclusive&emdash; seek to provide a common set of introductory courses or a common prescription for breadth of study apart from the major. We envision a possible middle ground where accessibility to environmental curricula and courses fill general education needs as well as a need for more focused study as embodied in a dependent double major. Subsets of courses within the environmental theme might serve as general education distribution requirements. Principles of science and engineering can be demonstrated in introductory environmental courses appropriate for both non-science and engineering majors and majors alike. Similarly, history, literature, architecture, economics, and other subjects can be introduced to majors and non-majors in the context of the environmental theme. Capstone projects with accompanying presentations and written reports will aid students in developing writing and communications skills while introducing to students the analytical perspectives and methods of diverse fields.


2) Use the environmental theme as a common thread in enhancing our graduate programs

Rice University is already exceptionally well positioned to retain or enhance a leadership role in many of the "hot" topics for research and graduate study frequently cited in the strategic plans of our peer institutions as targeted areas for growth: Nanotechnology, Bioscience and Bioengineering, Information Technologies, and Environment. Among these topics, Environment stands out as an area where synergies between many of our Schools have great potential for achieving unique and exciting results. Enhancements in our Science and Engineering strengths in the area of Environment are needed in concert with those in the Social Sciences, Business, Humanities, and the School of Architecture.

Rice University’s small size has served as an advantage in promoting interdisciplinary study at the graduate level; barriers between departments and Schools are small to non-existent. Students pursuing graduate work in ecology, geology, environmental engineering or other fields in the sciences and engineering include faculty from other departments on their doctoral committees as a matter of policy. In some cases, such as the NSF-sponsored traineeships in computational environmental science and engineering, these interactions have been taken a step further and institutionalized with group research meetings, course requirements across departments, seminars, or collaborative research. These interactions should be encouraged in the future and expanded upon through new traineeship programs and collaborative research proposals.

A recent trend in environmental research funding from Federal sources has been to encourage the establishment of multi-disciplinary teams spanning expertise in engineering fields, the natural sciences and the social sciences. This trend is likely to continue as implementation of technologies lags their development. The historically small number of faculty working on environmental topics in the social sciences has handicapped Rice University somewhat in responding to these initiatives. Recent and planned additions to faculty in Economics, Political Science and Sociology will greatly remedy this situation.

Informal interactions based on research opportunities are likely to remain the key avenue of interaction for graduate students across Schools. We hope to enhance these interactions by introducing key "bridges" of environmental expertise into departments and schools across campus. In the near-term, it is our goal to extend this call for participation to existing faculty through participation in seminars in which experts in targeted areas are invited to campus to share their work and views on how their "traditional" disciplines fit into a larger environmental framework. On going seminar series arranged by the Energy and Environmental Systems Institute and proposals for interdisciplinary graduate training such as that funded by the National Science Foundation under the recently announced IGERT program should also be pursued as means to enhance interactions between graduate students and their faculty advisors.

Because individuals have traditionally entered the environmental professions with non-environmental educational backgrounds, there has been a fairly constant demand for professional graduate work as means of enhancing career opportunities and continuing development in the environmental field. Rice may be able to play a role in helping the most gifted of these individuals to achieve their career objects through professional degree programs. We propose that the demand for such graduate programs as well as the potential impacts on the "Rice culture" be examined. Establishment of high-quality professional degree programs might be implemented in concert with achieving other objectives for graduate education articulated in Rice University’s Strategic plan such as the goal of providing more teaching opportunities for our best doctoral students, and expanded interactions with the Houston community. As graduates from environmentally-based professional programs return to industry from Rice, a better mutual understanding of industry and Rice will develop with concurrent benefits such as collaborative research and ease of placing undergraduates in internships.


3) Establish a Steering Committee for Environmental Programs

Coordination of environmental curricula on campus, including double majors, options within a traditional major, joint degree programs, or new courses and curricula is needed. It is not our intent to that this this committee assume responsibility for approving new courses or double majors. Rather, the environmental programs committee would serve to reduce barriers to interdiscipinary teaching and promote coordination. The need for a central clearinghouse for information on environmental course offerings and curricula is especially acute at the undergraduate level. We propose that a program committee be established to coordinate current environmental curricula, make recommendations on proposed and evolving curricula, and to disseminate information on these curricula. Coordination of "capstone" research projects, seminar series, community inclusive workshops, and K-12 participation could also be organized through this committee. This committee should include faculty from across the Rice campus representing the Schools of Engineering, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Architecture with one of its members elected as chair. Activities of the program committee would be supported by a modest budget to provide for secretarial support, brochures, website development, website maintenance, and outreach.


4) Coordinate the development of faculty expertise across campus in four selected areas

The proposed initiatives build from a curricular perspective with the recognition that they must also enhance solid interdisciplinary research and support the development of graduate programs of the similar quality and reputations as Rice University’s undergraduate programs. To this end, we propose that this initiative be implemented as a coordinated effort to develop resources in four interrelated areas that cross the boundaries of departments and schools: 

Society, urban metabolism, and industry;
Ecosystems and natural resources;
Surficial Processes
; and
Atmospheric Processes.

We envision developments in faculty resources as being implemented through an evolution of activities on the part of current faculty, faculty enhancements, and the normal process of faculty replacements. Thus, responsibility for the implementation of these initiatives ultimately falls on the shoulders of our faculty in identifying with this initiative and, encouraging response at the departmental and divisional level. However, to achieve synergy and coordination, divisional Deans will have a critical role in proactively encouraging departmental participation in this initiative as well as seeking out opportunities for new resources in these cross-cutting areas. In consultation with ESSI faculty and the Environmental Programs Commitee, priorities for faculty hires can be established that take into account research opportunities and teaching needs. In some instances, it may be appropriate to include current environmental faculty from various divisions on search committees for faculty in other departments or divisions. Similarly, it may be useful to include faculty active in the Baker Institute, CITI, or other institutes in searches for designated environmental positions. Once faculty are hired, their interdisciplinary activities should be valued on the road to tenure or in merit reviews. Support at the divisional level must also include recognition of collaborative teaching or research efforts in the evaluation of faculty that occasionally take faculty outside of their home departments or divisions. Transaction barriers across divisions in proposal preparation and obtaining matching funds, while already low at Rice University, should be lowered further.


Society, Urban Metabolism, and Industry

The area Society, urban metabolism, and industry addresses the roles of individuals, social institutions and cultures in valuing, modifying, and using our environment. Of the 40 or so faculty members that now teach or do research related to environmental topics, approximately one-half of them, from four schools, can be identified with topics addressing the interface between our society and the natural environment. By the year 2020, over 75% of the population of developed nations, representing most of the world’s economic activity, will be concentrated in urban areas. In addition, well over 50% of the populations of less developed nations, representing over 95% of the world’s population will be urban. Thus, population-driven environmental issues will increasingly become issues of urban growth encompassing linkages between economic prosperity, social welfare (including public health) and environmental quality. This area encompasses course work and research topics ranging from the technologies of environmental quality control and environmentally benign chemistry to environmental economics, corporate environmental management, biodiversity protection, valuing ecosystem services, environmental sociology, international environmental policy, and ethics to name a few.

Development of this thrust area will be reinforced by interactions with faculty at other institutions in Texas and around the world. There is considerable potential for synergy with faculty in the Departments of History, and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Houston as well as with their Departments of Industrial Engineering and Chemical Engineering. The University of Texas School of Public Health located in the Medical Center has a long-standing history of collaboration with the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering at Rice. An important factor driving these collaborations has been the complementarity of expertise between institutions. The fields identified for development would further enhance rather than replace these interactions. For example, expertise in combustion chemistry added to Mechanical Engineering or Demographics within Political Science would add capabilities to the Houston community of environmental researchers and educators which is currently wanting at Rice, U of H and UTSPH.


Ecosystems and Natural Resources

Ecosystems and Natural Resources at Rice University currently includes the subjects of biodiversity, terrestrial ecology, ecosystem dynamics, population ecology, behavior, environmental microbiology, environmental modeling, and environment in literature. Openings for the involvement of economists and public policy experts in this area are plentiful. There are also excellent opportunities for interaction of faculty in Ecosystems and Natural Resources with other academic units in the Houston area. In particular, the committee met with Prof. Jim Lester, Director of the University of Houston Environmental Institute who described Natural Resource Conservation as one of 4 focal points for activities within the institute . Although the mission of the Institute is rather inclusive, the U of H group is perhaps strongest in the areas of estuarine ecology, fishing and coastal management, and toxicology. Also, the committee met with Prof. Carl Hacker from the University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH) located in the Medical Center. Hacker reported success in developing ties with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, TNRCC, EPA-Dallas, and various community groups. There are also opportunities for collaboration with the Departments of Marine Sciences/ Oceanography and Marine Biology & Marine Fisheries at Texas A&M at Galveston.


Surficial Processes

The area Surficial processes primarily addresses the physical aspects of the geo- and hydro-spheres. This is the second largest area in terms of current faculty numbers and includes many of the activities in Geology as well as the hydrology, groundwater modeling and chemical fate and transport work performed in ES&E. Development of teaching and research along the axis of Surficial Processes suggests considerable opportunities for intervention of social scientists in areas such as energy policy, use of non-renewable resources, and water resource management.

As is the case for many environmental topics, the Houston area is unique laboratory for the study of issues within this thrust area. Concerns surrounding flooding from major storms, nonpoint sources of pollution associated with stormwater runoff, dependence on ground water and related subsidence, as well as oil and gas exploration present numerous occasions for interaction with local industry, government, research institutions with concomitant possibilities for student internships, external funding, and community involvement. At the international level, the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering has forged a close collaboration with the French Geosciences and Environment Laboratory (CEREGE) in Aix-Marseille. This group consists predominantly of geologists, presenting interesting opportunities for bringing, somewhat ironically, Rice researchers in Geology and ES&E into closer collaboration through this international link. The School of Natural Sciences and the School of Engineering have already committed funds to allow up to 5 Rice undergraduates per year to pursue research or course work on environmental topics associated with the CEREGE.


Atmospheric processes

The area Atmospheric processes encompasses characterization and control of sources of air pollution, atmospheric transport and important dimensions of global climate change. There is a critical shortage at Rice University of engineering and scientific expertise in the area of air pollution and atmospheric processes at scales ranging from source control to global climate change. Polls of Rice students have regularly indicated that course offerings and faculty resources in the area of atmospheric-based aspects of environmental quality is a high priority. Although, achieving strategic dominance in the area would be a significant undertaking, there are likely to be large marginal returns to teaching and research benefits at Rice on modest investments in this area. A basic understanding of air pollutant chemistry, transport, control, and impacts at region to global scales is essential in the education of environmental scientists, engineers, and policy makers. Course offerings in this area at Rice are currently lean to no-existent. In addition, the high national profile of air-quality issues in Houston and our proximity to the Johnson Space Center confer unique opportunities on faculty working on air-related topics. Within the School of Natural Sciences, contributions to this area are likely to be at the scale of global change issues, where two faculty members are internationally known for their work on greenhouse gases from rice fields. Atmospheric processes in the School of Engineering are more likely to focus on regional air quality, source characterization, source control technologies, and technologies for measurement and monitoring. Current strength in air processes within the School of Engineering resides largely in the Department of Statistics. Despite these differences in scale, there is sufficient overlap in interests and underlying principles ( e.g. chemical reactions in water vapor or meteorology) to provide a sense of critical mass amongst faculty working in this area if future hires are strategically placed.


Development of a core of faculty working on air processes at Rice University will be considerably strengthened by the opportunities for interactions with other academic institutions in Texas. There has been very strong interest expressed on the part of faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in working with a Rice-based air group. Partial support for the first year of salary of a new faculty member working in regional air quality has been offered to Rice by the UT group as an indication of their commitment to such future collaborations. There are opportunities for interaction with UTSPH on the topic of air through the Mickey Leland Air Toxics Center.





1) Coordinate activities of Rice’s environmental teaching faculty with activities in the Energy and Environmental Systems Institute.

Rice University’s Institutes have research-based missions. Departments are typically the focus and home for curricula with several notable exceptions such as Policy Studies and Women and Gender Studies. This division between curricula and research is contrasted with a desire to better integrate teaching and research at virtually every level as expressed both by this committee and other strategic planning groups at Rice. The Energy and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI) serves as an umbrella organization for interdisciplinary research on environmental topics and includes faculty from the Weiss School of Natural Sciences, The Brown School of Engineering, The School of Social Sciences, and The Jones School of Business. Within their research missions, the need for collaboration between ESSI and the Baker Institute of Public Policy is clear. The fact that faculty committed to environmental curricula are likely to also be affiliated with EESI suggests the need for dialogue and coordination between an Environmental Programs Committee and ESSI. For example, EESI can play a role in bringing new environmental technologies developed in research or tested in field studies to the attention of Rice faculty and students. Activities such as seminars and workshops might be organized jointly, research projects underway within ESSI might be matched with undergraduate interests in research experience, and in some cases, resources might be shared. Similarly, education-driven interests are likely to catalyze shared research initiatives between ESSI and the Baker Institute. One mission of EESI is outreach to industry, government, and the community. The first EESI annual conference was focused on reconstruction and redevelopment of the Houston Ship Channel, an issue long in the making and continuously delayed because of misunderstandings, mistrust, and political agendas. EESI brought all of the parties together in an open public forum which contributed greatly to moving forward this issue which is so important to the future of Houston and South Texas. EESI’s 1997 De Lange - Woodlands conference on sustainable development attracted a worldwide audience and served a pivotal role in fostering better relations between Rice and the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC). More recently, the EESI conference on pollution prevention/green chemistry focused on and attracted a diverse audience from the petrochemical industry. These and other EESI activities will contribute greatly to environmental education in the broadest sense at Rice University.


2) Encourage the development and instruction in the use of tools in Information Technology, Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology with an eye towards environmental applications.

Rice students stand to benefit greatly from exposure to cutting edge technologies emerging from developments in Information Technologies, Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology as well as their application to environmental problem solving and analysis. In a reciprocal fashion, researchers in these fields are well positioned to benefit from an understanding of where new technologies can be applied in environmental markets. For example, Rice University’s strength in information technologies has only been partially tapped in environmental applications. Yet, virtually every facet of environmental science, engineering and policy stands to benefit considerably from advances in information technologies including improved statistical analyses, optimization algorithms, data handling, validation, and collection, and "dematerialization" technologies. For the last 3 years, students from Environmental Science and Engineering, Statistics, and Computational and Applied Mathematics have pursued course work and research through a National Science Foundation Traineeship Program in Computational Environmental Science and Engineering. In this program, students have brought new computational algorithms and statistical methods to bear on problems ranging from regional air quality to membrane facility design. This collaboration allows students to work on important problems in environmental quality control while using environmental data sets and optimization formulations to test new mathematical tools.

More collaborations of this type will increase the "multi-dimensional" returns on investments in the classroom and in the laboratory. The environmental stage is particularly well suited to these types of collaborations as we attempt to keep pace with the technical, ethical, and social issues arising from the application of various branches of science (e.g. computer science and mathematics applied to information technologies or chemistry and materials science applied to nanotechnology).





1) Develop resources in Environmental Policy in the School of Social Sciences

The increase in private-sector involvement in environmental decision-making has not come at the expense of activity in the public sector. Policies must be crafted that provide efficient incentives for the private sector, new technologies in detection and treatment impose new challenges to regulatory bodies and, increasingly, environmental issues are viewed from a global perspective. Rice University will play an active role sorting through such issues exploiting synergies between its activities in the Baker Institute and the proposed environmental initiatives. The relative proximity to Mexico and the level of trade with Latin American countries passing through Houston confers an opportunity for Rice to be at the forefront of studies addressing international trade and the globalization of environmental issues. The need for growth in this area is evidenced by the initiative taken to date within the School of Social Sciences. The level of activity in the environmental arena within the School of Social Sciences is rapidly expanding. Currently, courses are offered in Environmental Sociology, Environmental and Energy Economics, Urban Politics, Public Policy/Public Administration, and the Politics of Regulation. Two faculty members in Economics participate in environmental course offering. An additional faculty member specializing in Environmental Regulation joined the Political Science faculty this Fall, bringing the number of faculty contributing to environmental course offerings in that department to three. One faculty member in Sociology offers the Environmental Sociology course and has an active research program which address the evolution of public attitudes and perceptions regarding the environment and environmental regulation. Despite these exciting developments, the need for greater resources in the area of Environmental Policy is great. A glaring weakness in our current menu of expertise on campus is the shortage of faculty in the field of environmental economics (with the notable exception of President Gillis). Also, the prominence of population growth as the fuel of environmental degradation strongly suggests the need for an environmental demographer.


2) Develop Corporate Environmental Management as a theme in the Jones School

The Jones School has great potential as a partner in this initiative as it seeks to develop ties with the rest of Rice campus, develop research, and build an executive degree program. Environmental regulation and decision-making are expanding beyond issues of public sector decision making (command and control) to include an important role for private sector decision making. To competitively operate in this regulatory domain, businesses will require information that correctly communicates the consequences of production and allows private sector stakeholders to maximize profits, minimize risk and liability and most effectively conform to environmental regulations. Development of areas such as environmental accounting, environmental management systems, and production optimization within the Jones School of Business would be an innovative step in a forward-looking initiative which recognizes the importance of economic well being for environmental protection. Development of an Environmental Corporate Management theme in the Business School would be aided by an internationally visible forum for environmental problem solving. Houston retains an international identity as a center for energy extraction industries, providing an opportunity for working with U.S. and foreign firms on problems associated with managing natural resources and impacts from the development of energy resources. Similarly, access to one of the world’s largest concentrations of chemical and refining industries confers unique opportunities on Rice in developing this theme.


3) Develop Ecology and Earth Systems as a theme in the School of Natural Sciences

Faculty in the Weiss School of Natural Sciences share a long history of environmental education and research in the areas of ecology, geosciences, climate, and chemistry. Often, these areas of expertise are grouped into departments, programs or Schools of Earth and Planetary Science, Environmental Science or Earth Systems. Local resources present a pressing need for work in this area. Wetlands, estuaries, and coastal waters are threatened with overuse and neglect. Nearby Galveston Bay is the Nation’s second most productive estuary. Such ecosystems in other parts of the nation and the world have assumed a high priority for study and protection. Our proximity to the Johnson Space Center confers unique opportunities for involvement in research efforts aimed at remote sensing, understanding modifications to regional habitats and global climate change.

There are some 14 faculty members working on environmentally topics in the departments of Geology and Geophysics and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In addition, one faculty member in the Department of Space Physics and Astronomy, with a joint appointment in Environmental Science and Engineering, focuses on atmospheric physical processes linked to Earth System dynamics and global warming. We propose that Rice’s resources in this area be coordinated around the departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Geology and Geophysics.

3a) Bolster the development of Environmental Geology within the Department of Geology and Geophysics

The department of Geology and Geophysics has moved towards Environmental Geology as one of two primary areas for teaching and research and currently offers an undergraduate option in this area. Five faculty work on deciphering and understanding the record of past climate changes and the mechanisms of change. This research contributes toward understanding the consequences and impacts of global warming. Two faculty teach or do research related to the environment concerns geochemistry of fluids and physical and chemical interactions between rocks and fluids. A third environmental topic concerns geological hazards; the research of three faculty members bears on these issues.

Additional strength is needed in the areas of low-temperature geochemistry, and geomorphology to bolster current activities. Redirection of two department lines over time towards these fields would both enhance the Earth Systems or Environmental Geology component of the department while building bridges to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Science and Engineering, and Civil Engineering.

3b) Reinforce strengths in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) currently has six tenure-track faculty and three instructors whose primary research and teaching activities include evolutionary biology, forest ecology, and biogeochemistry. The first two are central to issues of biodiversity protection, conservation biology, and sustainability of the natural resource base. The third focuses on a key element of global environmental change and complements work done by faculty in Geology and Geophysics and Space Physics. The department currently lacks expertise in ecosystem modeling, particularly as applied to aquatic systems and in the context of the role of the biosphere in modifying environment at all scales. The addition of expertise (in either Geology and Geophysics or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) in area of large-scale surficial processes, addressing the use of newly-available large data sets, remote sensing and GIS for analysis of complex environmental problems at regional scales would better integrate research activities between ecologists and geologists.


4) Develop the Study of Cultures and Environment in the Humanities

The role of Rice's faculty in the Humanitives and some areas of the Social Sciences in this initiative is crucial. Students across the university, including (and perhaps particularly) those pursuing technical studies, need the opportunity to develop an understanding of the relationship between culture and nature as it is expressed in literature, thought, and social behavior. Attitudes toward the natural environment as expressed by individual writers and an understanding of the human role in the earth's natural history define in part the manner in which we as a society value and perceive the environment and natural resources we seek to protect. In the School of Humanities at Rice environmental activities have concentrated on courses offered in Environmental and Ecological Ethics (Religious Studies) and Literature and the Natural Environment (English). A course in Environmental History has been offered, but not on a regular, ongoing basis. The lack of a full-time faculty member working in the area of environmental history is a conspicuous hole in our ability to provide humanistic and philosophical grounding for lifelong involvement, whether professionally or personally, in crucial environmental issues facing our society. Links with the School of Social Sciences will be valuable in developing this segment of the environmental initiative. There is an existing course in Environmental Sociology, but the inclusion of work on native cultures and the natural environment in Anthropolgy would be a valuable addition, linking with the course on Native American Literature in English. A general hemispheric approach would also be important here, linking with Latin American studies as well as Canada. Other cross disciplinary and transcultural initiatives would provide even greater strength in this component of the environmental program at Rice. Some connection with Women and Gender Studies needs to be made, and Philosophy could be linked with Religious Studies in the study of the effect of ethical concerns as well as belief systems on our relationship with the natural environment.

The Center for the Study of Cultures can play an important role in these cross-disciplinary and even university-wide initiatives. For the past three yearss the Center has supported an Environmental Studies Reading Group which involves faculty from all four major divisions. In addition it is this year providing funding for a series of lectures on aspects of environmental education. The Center is also a source of funding for research on environmental topics for all the faculty in the Schools of Humanities and Natural Sciences.

Rice’s Education Department, and the Center for Education are well positioned with faculty from the Schools of Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Engineering to examine environmental curricula, develop materials, and encourage their use. Just as the environmental theme is a catalyst for integrated learning at the university level, there is great potential for use of environment to teach principles of science, technology, social sciences, geography, art, etc. to children in K-12 institutions. Indeed, environmental education has become an important part of many K-12 schools. However, much thought is needed improve these programs, putting them into an age-appropriate context, and encouraging our children at an early age to think critically. The potential benefits of a well thought out K-12 program are enormous. Just as our schools effectively impart a sense of National and State identity, our schools can also play an important role in defining our sense of self in a global context.


5) Encourage the participation of the Architecture School in work on urban growth, land use and civil infrastructure.

Under the pressure of world population growth, the majority of this passing on to our cities, it is essential that the urban environment be as attractive and healthy as possible if the surrounding natural and agricultural lands are to be preserved. Thus, there is a pressing need to ensure that our built environments are efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally sound. Architects have an important role to play in pairing environmentally benign building materials with specific uses, conceptualizing the use of space in a fashion which promotes efficient energy use, flow of people and materials, and beneficial social dynamics. There is an important need to bring economists, civil engineers and architects, ethicists, environmental engineers, sociologists, and others together to consider issues of civil infrastructure and urban growth. The impact of city codes, such as those for construction and landuse, on human behavior as played out in the context of property rights, property values, environmental justice, and public health is but one example. As urban growth presses further on natural environments and agricultural lands, the urgency of these issues will only increase. Again, these issues are no more evident than here in Houston, the Nation’s fourth largest city, and the last major US city without zoning. Indeed, 20 years ago, the Rice Design Alliance based in the School of Architecture and the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering made important contributions to the then revolutionary planned community of the Woodlands. The growth of cities world-wide underscores the fact that what we learn in Houston may have global implications.


6) Develop and coordinate environmental expertise throughout the School of Engineering

Activities in the George R. Brown School of Engineering have been a prominent focal point for activities in environmental education and research at Rice for 30 years. Rice University was an early innovator in introducing environmental science and engineering to its curriculum. Today, environmental research extends well beyond ES&E, including faculty from Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Statistics, Computational and Applied Mathematics, and Civil Engineering. Opportunities for growth in environmental activities throughout the School of Engineering are greater than ever. Coordination of this growth will further improve Rice’s posture in attracting top faculty and students, enhancing existing departments, and advancing a new prototype for the role of engineering research and education in environmental protection.


6a) Build on existing strengths in Environmental Science and Engineering

Environmental Science and Engineering (ES&E) at Rice was established in 1968 as one of the first educational and academic units in the United States devoted to the science and engineering of water as a resource (although teaching has always included additional areas). Faculty in ES&E have worked for some time with faculty in the departments of Geology and Geophysics, Chemical Engineering, and Civil Engineering to offer environmental "options" in undergraduate majors through these departments. Approximately two-thirds of the Civil Engineering undergraduates and one-quarter of the Chemical Engineering undergraduates are estimated to be currently pursuing environmental options through their departments. In addition, ES&E has long offered a double major in Environmental Science and Engineering targeted to students pursuing majors in one of the natural sciences. This double major was recently restructured and is now directed to students from all departments on campus. Currently, over 20 courses in Environmental Science and Engineering are offered by 6 tenure track faculty members and one lecturer. One faculty member holds a primary appointment in Space Physics and Astronomy. Some 30 graduate students and post-docs are currently in the program. Students taking graduate degrees in Environmental Science and Engineering account for the third largest group of post-graduate degrees in engineering at Rice.

In addition to these significant educational activities, research activities in ES&E are substantial, accounting for over $3 M in research grants and contracts in 1996. ES&E research expenditures, exclusive of those accountable to the Energy and Environmental Systems Institute, are typically the largest single line item for extramural research in the Brown School on a departmental basis. While ES&E faculty have been active in the Energy and Environmental Systems Institute, they have also established lasting collaborations with faculty associated with RQI, CITI, and the Institute for Bioscience and Bioengineering.

Critical research pioneered in ES&E includes the modeling of transport and fate of organics in surface and ground water systems, technologies for hazardous waste treatment, the nature of biofilms in natural and engineered systems, inhibition of nucleation in brines; the use of membrane processes for water and wastewater treatment, and applications of environmental bioengineering. These research efforts are often part of externally funded, inter-institutional research centers such as the National Center for Ground Water Research (now in its fourteenth year of operation), an EPA Hazardous Substances Research Center (S&SW), the Superfund University Training Institute, the US/European Union University Consortium for Environmental Science and Engineering Education, The Gulf Coast Hazardous Substances Research Center, and the Gas Research Institute-sponsored Brine Chemistry Consortium.

Thus, By virtually any measure of productivity and scholarship, ES&E has been a powerful force in the Brown School and will be a key element in the proposed environmental initiative. However, by necessity, ES&E’s success has been built on a focused expertise in water pollution and aqueous environments. A 1996 strategic plan for ES&E identified three new areas for growth in the Department based on research opportunities, curricular needs and evolution of the profession. These areas are: 1) air pollution/ atmospheric processes; 2) solid and hazardous waste engineering; and 3) intermedia chemical transport. A campus-wide lack of faculty specializing in air quality, or solid waste disposal prevents students from obtaining an integrated view of the generation and inter-media transfers of pollutants between air, water and land. The need for education and research in these areas is all the more compelling in the context of the regional microcosm of international issues which we in the Houston area must address. For example, air quality in Houston is poor and is currently in violation of federal air quality criteria. The need and opportunity for work on air pollution problems in the area has been compounded by this summer’s announcement of EPA plans to enforce air quality standards on fine particulate materials. There are a large number of hazardous waste sites along the Gulf Coast. Many have been placed on EPA's priority list underscoring the local and national need for work to remediate sites and prevent future contamination. Several military bases are located in Texas offering opportunities for interaction with the armed forces in transferring technologies from military to civilian sectors, and in working on waste disposal and environmental contamination problems encountered at department of defense facilities across the U.S.


6b) Bring cutting edge developments in computational mathematics, statistics, and system modeling to bear on environmental problem solving

The need for computational engineering approaches to environmental problem solving is significant. Better solutions for underlying systems of equations, optimization algorithms to be used in facility design and field sampling, and means of "making sense" of the copious volumes of environmental data now produced daily are needed. There is a critical need for a course in Environmental Statistics taught to both undergraduates and graduate students studying the environment. Faculty in CAAM and in Statistics have applied their expertise to environmental problem solving very successfully on topics ranging from ground water contamination and membrane facility design, to analysis of trends in Houston’s air quality. This latter example is particularly noteworthy in that a substantial research program in spatial-temporal processes applied to environmental applications has been developed by two faculty members in Statistics. Graduate students in these departments participate in the NSF-funded traineeship program in Computational Environmental Engineering. There are even greater opportunities for extending these collaborations to include Rice’s social scientists, and others for example in developing methods for decision making based on large spatial and temporal data sets.


6c) Develop Transportation and Civil Infrastructure as a theme within Civil Engineering

Our society has begun to consider questions such as what we should do with an aluminum can or perhaps even a car when its first useful life comes to an end. However, we have not yet addressed the issue of "what do we do with the Bronx when it must be recycled", or how should we build cities today to make them easier to "recycle" in 100 years. As cities and supporting infrastructure age, Civil Engineers will be asked to confront these issues. There are also critical issues related to the manner in which development occurs. For example, transportation issues will continue to influence the manner in which cities grow. Engineering of transportation systems is closely linked with myriad environmental issues; non-point source runoff, and transportation as a source of air pollution are frequently cited. Cities will continue to be faced with deteriorating sewers and distribution systems for potable water supply. Development of Transportation and Civil Infrastructure within Civil Engineer would diversify the existing department in a manner which would also allow for active participation in the proposed environmental initiative.


6d) Develop Pollution Prevention as theme within Chemical Engineering

The need to proceed to the source of environmental contamination rather than continually treat its symptoms has initiated a re-examination of the manner in which chemical and industrial processes are carried out. Preventative measures ranging from "better housekeeping" (e.g. reducing spills) to changes in process operation (more efficient use of materials) or materials substitution (use of super critical CO2 in place of organic solvents) have been implemented. These changes often amount to a "re-engineering" of industries and processes and are an active area of research in Chemical Engineering. Indeed, "gray-beards" of the Chemical Engineering profession have identified pollution prevention as one of the strategic areas for development in the field. Despite significant interest on the part of chemical engineering as expressed in its recent strategic plan, resources do not exist to cover environmentally benign processing, advanced separations, and pollution prevention in research or teaching to any significant degree. Efforts to develop this theme within Chemical Engineering should be supported. Opportunities for interaction with the one of the worlds largest petrochemical complex in the world here in the Houston area are evident. However, synergies with other efforts on campus are also substantial. At least two faculty members in the Department of Chemistry are actively involved in environmental research with ES&E faculty related to membrane separations and environmentally benign chemistry. One of these faculty members holds a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Within Materials Science there are numerous opportunities for developing more environmentally benign materials, materials that do more with less, new catalysts for environmental quality control and pollution prevention, and building materials that can be easily recycled within the urban metabolism.


6e) Explore combustion and fluid mechanics as themes for interaction with Mechanical Engineering

There is a crucial need in the Brown School of Engineering for expertise in the area of fluid mechanics. This expertise should encompass both computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and experimental fluid dynamics. While such expertise will yield benefits to numerous engineering and science disciplines at Rice, the potential benefits in the environmental arena are particularly great. Expertise in compressible and non-compressible fluids would support work in air transport, geophysics, geomorphology, hydraulics, groundwater modeling, and environmental process engineering as well as traditional chemical engineering and bioengineering.

Combustion has traditionally been a topic covered within mechanical engineering departments, typically in the context of the internal combustion engine. Within the environmental context, expertise in combustion is critical if motor vehicles, peak-load electrical generators, and gasoline powered home appliances are to be made less polluting. However, there is also a need to better understand the combustion process within the context of combustion by-products resulting from incineration of, for example domestic and hazardous wastes. With dwindling space available for land disposal in many parts of the Nation, and the need for technologies which can destroy compounds which might otherwise have environmental half-lives of thousands of years, there is a greater need to understand the chemical transformations that occur during combustion and means of improving the efficiency of the process. Development of this theme in Mechanical Engineering as well as expertise in computational and experimental fluid mechanics would likely yield benefits to the proposed initiative as well as that department.

6f) Involve Rice’s Electrical Engineers in developing new sensors for environmental monitoring.

Better methodologies in analytical chemistry have pushed the envelope on regulatory standards. Similarly, new methods for detection and measurement in the laboratory, the field and from remote platforms have as much potential to change the way in which we think about environmental regulation as they do to improve the ease and efficiency of the actual measurement.


Appendix 1

Courses on Environmentally-Related topics at

Rice University



Anthropology (ANTH)


The course treats both the theorization and the ethnographic exploration of the urban imaginary; urban spaces and practices; urban, suburban, and post-urban

planning; city-states, colonial cities, and capital cities; and the late 20th-century metropolis.


Compare the historian's and social scientist's approaches to the emerging preindustrial city. Cities are the products of an interaction of physical and social environments and their histories may reflect their enormous symbolic weight. We use the comparative method to explore general principles of development lurking behind the different faces of ancient urbanism. Also listed as HIST 377. Instructors: Maas, R. McIntosh

ANTH 381(S) MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY (3-0-3) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP II Cultural, ecological, and biological perspectives on human health and disease throughout the world. Instructor: Georges

ANTH 388(F) THE LIFE CYCLE: A BIOCULTURAL VIEW (3-0-3) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP II The human life cycle from conception to death. Focus is on the interaction between biological processes and culture. Also offered as WGST 335. Instructor: Georges


Architecture (ARCH)



Historical survey of the city from Sumer to the baroque capitals. Instructor: Ingersoll



Overview of issues concerning natural resource consumption and environmental impact pertinent to urban design activities. Instructor: Blackburn



Analysis of the theory and practice of architecture from the 15th century until postmodernism in terms of its relationship to nature, with emphasis on "anti-ecology" as the pessimistic antithesis to the optimistic pursuit of ecological design, "anti-ecology" being predicated on the idea that human settlement and architecture are inherently against nature. Instructor: Ingersoll


Biological Sciences (BIOS)



Experimental, laboratory, and field studies of natural history, evolution, and animal behavior. Includes computer simulations of population genetics. Monday lecture and one afternoon lab section during second half of each semester. Limited enrollment (60). Required for biosciences majors. Prerequisite: Bios 211. Instructor: Thornhill



Field and lab experiments in ecology. Taught in one-half of the semester. Prerequisite: Bios 213. Corequisite: Bios 325. Instructors: Fulton, Harcombe



Systems analysis of the earth from a biological perspective, with emphasis on biogeochemical cycles and global change. Prerequisites: Bios 201-202 or

permission of instructor. Offered in odd-numbered years. Instructors: Fisher, Sass





Study of coastal wetlands, including floodplains, swamps, and freshwater, brackish, and saline marsh systems, with regard to biological importance, interactions, wetland development, and management strategies. Prerequisites: Bios 201-202, 325, 329, and 336 or permission of instructor. Offered in even-numbered years. Instructors: Fisher, Sass

BIOS 325(F) ECOLOGY (4-0-4) Group B


Analysis of population dynamics, species interactions, plant and animal community organization, and ecosystem function. Prerequisites: Bios 201-202 or junior

standing in a science/engineering major or permission of instructor. Instructor: Fulton

BIOS 329(F) ANIMAL BIOLOGY (3-0-3) Group B


The evolution and systematics of the animal kingdom, with consideration of functional morphology, comparative physiology, behavior, medical implications, and management options. Prerequisites: Bios 201-202 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Fisher



Review and discussion of literature on current research in forest and grassland ecology. Prerequisite: graduate standing or permission of instructor and department

chair. Instructors: Fulton, Harcombe



Review and discussion of literature on current research in conservation biology. Prerequisite: graduate standing or permission of instructor and department chair.

Instructors: Harcombe, Thornhill



Review and discussion of literature on current research in wetland ecosystems. Prerequisite: graduate standing or permission of instructor and department chair.

Instructors: Fisher, Sass



Review and discussion of literature on current research in regional and global ecosystem dynamics. Prerequisite: graduate standing or permission of instructor

and department chair. Instructors: Fisher, Sass


Chemical Engineering (CENG)



Application of the principles of staged processes, transport phenomena, kinetics, and economics to the simulation, design, and operation of equipment and processes. Instructor: McKee



Study of the geology, chemistry, and physics of multicomponent, multiphase fluids in porous media. Includes hydrostatic and hydrodynamic properties of fluids in soils and rocks and the simulation of fundamental transport processes in one dimension. Instructor: Hirasaki



Instruction in the calculation of multicomponentmultiphase transport in one to three dimensions using finite difference methods. Includes development of multidimensional models of systems and the representation and estimation of geological heterogeneity. Instructor: Hirasaki


Civil Engineering (CIVI)



Survey of the operational characteristics of transport modes, the elements of transportation planning, and the design of stationary elements. Required for B.S.C.E. (not required for environmental engineering option). Instructor: Sedlak


Economics (ECON)



Analysis of governmental regulatory activities under antitrust laws and in such regulated industries as communications, energy, and transportation. Econ 370 and 435 recommended. Prerequisite: Econ 211. Instructor: Chae

ECON 438(F) ECONOMICS OF THE LAW I (3-0-3) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP II Exploration of the role of economics in understanding the legal system. Includes applications to contracts, property, rights, and torts. Prerequisites: Econ 211 and 370 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Soligo

ECON 439(S) ECONOMICS OF THE LAW II (3-0-3) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP II Exploration of the role of economics in understanding the legal system. Includes applications to financial markets, insurance, discrimination, and constitutional issues. May take ECON 439 without taking ECON 438, but ECON 438 recommended. Prerequisites: ECON 211 and 370 or permission of instructor.

Instructor: Brito



Economic analysis of the development and problems of urban areas, with emphasis on current policy issues. Prerequisite: Econ 211 or permission of instructor. Not offered every year.



Analysis of environmental problems, using economic theories of externalities and common property resources. Includes regulation, taxes and subsidies, transferable pollution rights, and legal solutions to environmental problems, as well as alternative energy sources and the pricing of depletable energy resources. Prerequisite: ECON 211. Instructors: Blackburn, Mieszkowski



Advanced analysis of the economics of antitrust and other forms of regulation. Not offered every year.



Analysis of urban development and such urban problems as housing, land use, transportation, discrimination, and pollution.


English (ENGL)



Environmental Science and Engineering (ENVI)

ENVI 201(F) INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS (3-3-4) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP III Study of chemical, physical, and biological components of the environment as natural resources and the effects of pollution on their maintenance and utilization.

Also offered as HEAL 201. Instructor: Ward


Examination of emerging trends toward sustainable development and global environmental protection. Includes international treaties on management of the oceans, global warming, ozone depletion, biodiversity, and development patterns, as well as the impact of trade treaties such as NAFTA and GATT. Limited enrollment. Offered every other year. Instructor: Blackburn



Study of the principles and the significance of measurements used to assess environmental quality. Includes hands-on measurements of both classical methods (e.g., titration and others) and modern instrumental methods of measuring pollutant concentrations. Prerequisites: CHEM 101 and 102. Instructor: Tomson



Survey of the fundamental principles of water treatment, wastewater treatment, air pollution control, and solid waste management. Instructor: Hughes



Legal techniques used by societies to plan and regulate the use of environmental resources. Instructor: Blackburn



Fundamentals of the hydrologic cycle, hydrograph techniques, flood routing, and open channel flow; hydrologic design; local watershed application and laboratory. Also offered as CIVI 464. Instructor: Bedient



Study of the principles of mass balance, chemical partitioning, transport, and transformation in surface waters, ground waters, and the atmosphere. Instructor: Wiesner

ENVI 443(F) ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE (3-0-3) This course emphasizes the science of the atmosphere. Subjects studied include radiation, climate dynamics; energy balance models; structure and stability; water, cloud, and precipitation physics; atmospheric dynamics; storms and special systems; and atmospheric electricity. Prerequisite: open to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students in science and engineering with permission of instructor. Also offered as SPAC 443. Instructor: Few



Open to environmental science and engineering majors with permission of department chair. Written thesis required.



Study of groundwater hydrology, hydrogeology, well mechanics, and hydraulics. Includes contaminant transport in aquifer systems, numerical models, and groundwater remediation. Instructor: Bedient



Study of current remediation technologies for soil, water, and air. Covers SVE/sparging, surfactant/cosolvent and thermal technologies, reactive barriers, bioremediation, phytoremediation, soil washing, pump and treat, air emission controls. Includes selection criteria, costs, operating strategies, and troubleshooting. Instructors: AATDF staff scientists and invited lecturers from industry.



Exploration of environmental microbiology. Includes cell biology, microbial ecology, metabolic diversity, bioenergetics, microbial growth, and the degradation of environmental contaminants, with emphasis on the role of microorganisms in the environment and engineered systems for environmental applications. Offered in even years only. Instructor: Hughes

ENVI 530(S) PHYSICAL-CHEMICAL PROCESSES IN ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (3-0-3) Introduction to colloid and surface chemistry, precipitation, mixing, particle aggregation, settling, packed bed filtration, adsorption, ion exchange, gas transfer, membrane processes, chemical oxidation, and disinfection operations used in environmental pollution control and potable water treatment. Prerequisities: Envi 403 (or equivalent) and 534. Instructor: Wiesner

ENVI 534(F) TRANSPORT PHENOMENA AND ENVIRONMENTAL MODELING (3-0-3) Study of the principles of fluid flow, mass transport, and transformation processes in natural and engineered systems. Includes applications in reactor engineering and in the chemical and biological reaction kinetics of environmental systems modeling for streams, lakes, estuaries, and the atmosphere. Prerequisites: ENVI 401, 434, or graduate standing. Instructor: Wiesner



Examination of the theory and application of biochemical processes in environmental engineering. Offered in odd years only. Instructor: Hughes

ENVI 550(S) APPLIED WATER CHEMISTRY (3-0-3) Exploration of the theoretical basis for considering the chemistry of natural and wastewater systems. Includes interfacial processes and parameter estimation methods in common use. Instructor: Tomson

ENVI 564 ATMOSPHERIC DYNAMICS (3-0-3) Study of hydrodynamic equations of motion on a rotating planet solved for static, perturbed, and unstable flows in mesoscale and macroscale weather systems on earth and other planets. Instructor: Few



Independent investigation of a specific topic or problem in environmental engineering under the direction of a selected faculty member. Preparation of a formal report and the oral presentation of research results required.

ENVI 630(F) CHARACTERIZATION, TRANSPORT, AND TREATMENT OF PARTICLES IN WATER (3-0-3) Study of the theory and methods for characterizing aquasols, colloid chemistry, particle transport in porous media and simple flows, particle aggregation, aggregate and deposit morphology, and other special topics. Offered in odd years only. Instructor: Wiesner

ENVI 631(F) ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS ANALYSIS (3-0-2) Exploration of process interactions, optimal design, and focused treatment needs related to water supply, water and industrial waste treatment, water reuse, residuals management, and other special topics. Offered in even years only. Instructor: Wiesner



Formal lectures and student projects in areas such as groundwater transport and modeling theory, water quality models, analytical and numerical techniques, and

computer applications. Instructor: Bedient



Formal lecture and assigned reading in topics such as redox kinetics and thermodynamics, adsorption and desorption, and the associated mathematics. Instructor: Tomson

ENVI 641(S) ADVANCED TOPICS IN ENVIRONMENTAL BIOPROCESS ENGINEERING (hours variable) Exploration of the biodegradation of xenobiotic compounds, methods of studying biotransformation processes, and the design of bioremediation systems. Prerequisite: Envi 525 or 536. Instructor: Hughes


Geology (GEOL)


Study of the nature of the earth and the processes that change it. Required for geology and geophysics majors; may substitute GEOL 102, 107, or 108. GEOL105 is a recommended corequisite. Offered in fall only. Instructors: Anderson, Gordon, Levander, Wright

GEOL 102(S) EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH (3-0-3) FOUNDATION COURSE: GROUP III Survey of the history of the earth and the evolution of its continents, ocean basins, life, and climate over the past 4.6 billion years. Geol 101 recommended but

not required. GEOL 105 is a recommended corequisite. Offered once per year. Instructor: Wright Dunbar

GEOL 107(F) OCEANS AND GLOBAL CHANGE (3-0-3) FOUNDATION COURSE: GROUP III Overview of the impact of the ocean and ocean evolution on the earth's climate. Includes geological, physical, chemical, and biological aspects of change. Offered

in alternate years. Instructor: Droxler


Study of how geological and environmental crises have affected the earth throughout history. Includes meteorite impacts, global extinctions, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and the effect of humans on the environment, as well as an overview of the historical perspectives, scientific background, and development of these processes, the development of predictive scenarios, and society's adaptations to such hazards. Offered in alternate years. Instructors: Leeman, Sawyer

GEOL 326(F) ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY (3-0-3) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP III Examination of interrelations between humans and the geologic environment, with emphasis on geologic processes, hazards, and environmental management. Includes groundwater, soils, landslides, subsidence, water systems (e.g., river, coastal, and lacustrine environments), earthquakes and volcanic activity, mineral and energy resources, and waste disposal, as well as local field trips. Not offered every year. See also Geol 426. Instructor: Wright Dunbar

GEOL 332(S) SEDIMENTOLOGY (3-3-4) Study of processes in sedimentation and sedimentary rocks. Includes both clastic and carbonate rocks and lab exercises, as well as a one-weekend field trip.Instructors: Anderson, Droxler


Introduction to oceanography. Includes a survey of geological, physical, and biological aspects, as well as one Saturday field trip. Offered in alternate years. Instructor: Droxler

GEOL 353(S) ENVIRONMENTAL GEOCHEMISTRY (3-0-3) Study of the theories and problems of chemical hazards in the environment due to natural processes, with emphasis on low-temperature aqueous systems.

GEOL 418(S) GEOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY (3-3-4) Study of geological aspects of oceanography. Includes geomorphology, nearshore processes, seafloor spreading, plate tectonics, marine geophysics, marine sediments, and paleoceanography. Not offered every year. Instructors: Anderson, Droxler

GEOL 420(S) MARINE GEOPHYSICAL METHODS (hours variable) Fieldwork, with emphasis on methods of seismic reflection data acquisition, processing, and analysis. Includes experiments carried out using research vessel, followed by processing and interpretation of data and presentation of findings. Not offered every year. Instructors: Anderson, Sawyer



Study of marine geologic principles and processes using examples from the southern oceans. Not offered every year. Instructor: Anderson

GEOL 426(F) ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY (3-0-3) Enriched version of Geol 326. Completion of extra project required to receive credit at this level. May not receive credit for both GEOL 326 and 426.

GEOL 504(F) CLASTIC SEDIMENTARY ENVIRONMENTS, PROCESSES, AND FACIES (3-0-3) Study of modern and ancient sedimentary environments, with emphasis on fieldwork. Includes examination of depositional models in relation to climatic, oceanographic, and tectonic influences. Instructor: Anderson

GEOL 505(F) APPLIED SEDIMENTOLOGY (1-6-3) Field investigation of the sedimentary deposits of northwestern New Mexico to provide graduate students in sedimentology with training in field methods, interpretation of sedimentary deposits, and facies mapping. Prerequisite: Geol 504. Not offered every year. Instructor: Anderson

GEOL 506(S) CARBONATE SEDIMENTOLOGY (3-0-4) Characterization of modern and ancient, shallow and deep sedimentary environments and facies. Includes examination of different depositional models in relation both to climate and to hydrographic and geographic settings, as well as three field trips. Prerequisite: Geol 332. Instructor: Droxler


History (HIST)



DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP II Study of the political, environmental, and social impacts of technology on urban growth in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries, with emphasis on the city-building process, urban technology, public works and city services, and environmental conditions. Not offered 1997-98.

HIST 330(S) U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY (3-0-3) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP II Study of human interaction with the American environment from colonial times to the present. Includes colonization, westward expansion, industrialization, conservation, and environmentalism in light of five centuries of both reckless exploitation and efforts to restore harmony between humans and the natural world.


Political Science (POLI)

POLI 331(S) ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS AND POLICY (3-0-3) Considers the major issues in the increasingly important policy area of the environment. Emphasizes the American experience but also considers certain crucial international aspects of these issues. Limited enrollment (40). Instructor: Whitford



Exploration of issues of political behavior and public policy in urban and metropolitan areas. Includes urban decline and revitalization, the conflict between Snowbelt and Sunbelt cities, fiscal management, and urban and suburban relations. See also POLI 432. Limited enrollment (40). Instructor: Hamm

POLI 335(S) POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT OF BUSINESS (3-0-3) Study of the foundations of government involvement in public policy and the institutional processes guiding executive, legislative, and bureaucratic officials.Includes theories of collective action and their application in the political world. Limited enrollment (40). Instructor: Stein

POLI 336(F) POLITICS OF REGULATION (3-0-3) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP II Study of the government's regulation of business and the political factors that shape its content. Limited enrollment (40). Instructor: Whitford


Religious Studies (RELI)

RELI 362(S) ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3-0-3) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP I Exploration of the issues and problems of ecology, the environment, and future generations from perspectives of moral theories and religious traditions. Not offered 1997-98. Instructor: McKenny


Sociology (SOCI)


Introduction to the study of the dynamics of population change. Includes demographic data sources, components of population change, mortality patterns, family planning, the measurement of migrations, and population-economic models. Not offered 1997-98. Instructor: Smith

SOCI 367(F) ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY (3-0-3) DISTRIBUTION COURSE: GROUP II Examination of public attitudes toward environmental issues and the interaction between technological developments and ecological constraints as they shape the American future. Includes findings of the biennial "Texas Environmental Survey." Not offered 1997-98. Instructor: Klineberg


Space Physics and Astronomy (SPAC)

SPAC 203(S) ATMOSPHERE, WEATHER, AND CLIMATE (3-0-3) FOUNDATION COURSE: GROUP III This course emphasizes the fundamental science of the atmospheric system. Among the subjects to be covered quantitatively are climate changes, solar radiation and the Earth's energy budget, atmospheric motions and circulation, clouds and storms, and atmospheric environmental concerns. Instructor: Few

SPAC 443(F) ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE (3-0-3) This course emphasizes the science of the atmosphere. Subjects studied include radiation, climate dynamics; energy balance models; structure and stability; water, cloud and precipitation physics; atmospheric dynamics; storms and special systems; and atmospheric electricity. Prerequisite: open to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students in science and engineering with permission of instructor. Also offered as ENVI 443. Instructor: Few




Appendix 2.


Faculty offering environmentally related courses or active in environmental research






area of activity
Kathryn Milun
The Fourth World: Issues of Indigenous Peoples

R. McIntosh
Paleoclimate & Human Response
Biochemistry & Cell Biology
George Bennett
Microbiology and Biotechnology

Fred Rudolf
Biodegradation of munitions wastes
Jackie Shanks
Andrew Barron
Environmentally benign chemistry

Vicki Colvin
Analysis of surfaces/ aquatic chemistry

Graham Glass
Gas phase chemistry/ reaction kinetics
Chemical Engineering
Kyriacos Zygourakis

George Hirasaki
Porous Media

Herbert McKee
Air Pollution Control

Clarence Miller
Interfacial Processes
Civil Engineering
Joel Conte
Risk Analysis
Computational & Applied Mathematics
John Dennis
Multiobjective Design Optimization
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Alan Thornhill
Conservation Biology

D Queller

Frank Fisher
Wetland Ecosystems, animal behavior

Joan Strassmann
Animal Behavior

Mark Fulton
Plant Diversity

Paul Harcombe
Ecology, Conservation Biology

Ronald Sass
Global Ecosystem Dynamics
Peter Mieszkowski
Environmental & Energy Economics

Ronald Soligo
Economics of the Law










Walter Isle
Literature and the Environment

James Blackburn
Environmental Law
Environmental Science
Phil Bedient
Hydrology & Watershed Analysis
& Engineering
Joseph Hughes
Biological Processes

Mason Tomson
Environmental Chemistry

Herb Ward
Environmental Microbiology

Mark Wiesner
Physical Chemical Processes/Systems Analysis
Geology & Geophysics
John Andersen
Geological Oceanography/Sedimentology

André Droxler
Sedimentology/ Oceanography

Dieter Heyman
Environmental Geochemistry

Bill Leeman
Environmental Geology

Dale Sawyer
Analysis of Environmental Data

Virginia Sisson
Mineral Resources
Randal Hanson
United States Environmental History
Political Science
David Brown
Political Economy of Latin America

Keith Hamm
Urban Politics, Parties and Interest Groups

Rick Wilson
Public goods

Andrew Whitford
Environmental Regulation

Richard Stoll
International Relations

Robert Stein
Public Policy and Bureaucracy
Policy Studies
Donald Ostdiek
Environmental Policy
Religious Studies
Gerald McKenny
Environmental Ethics
Chandler Davidson
Political Sociology

Steve Klineberg
Environmental Sociology
Space Physics & Astronomy
Arthur Few
Atmosphere Weather and Climate
Katherine Ensor
Environmental Statistics/Air Pollution

Dennis Cox
Environmental Statistics
Jones School of Business
Michele Daley

Doug Schuler
Legal and Government Processes

Craig Dunn
Legal and Government Processes
Gordon Wittenberg
Building Technology