Honors News Archive

News in Brief

Climate Change conversations continue at UW

Nov 16, 2016

Students who attended our Global Challenges—Interdisciplinary Answers event on Climate Change perused the Take Action table for ideas on what to do next, to stay engaged with this complex issue.

There were lots of materials from community organizers, UW departments, and RSOs at the table, representing the wide range of efforts guests of the event already support, including this shortlist of upcoming climate-change related courses in Honors and in departments across UW!

We ran out of handouts quickly at the event, so here is a copy of that (far from exhaustive) list. Let us know if you want something added to this list by contacting forcarey@uw.edu, and keep building momentum as an interdisciplinary community of practice! 

Download a PDF of this list and find other articles, resources, and discussions about Global Challenges like climate change and poverty as a barrier to health access when you join our Global Challenges—Interdisciplinary Answers Facebook Group.

Winter Quarter 2017

Honors 394B “Climate Change, an international Perspective: Science, Art & Activism” Bob Pavia, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, Arctic Studies

The course will begin by building a foundation for understanding climate change causes and impacts, including atmospheric science, oceanography, chemistry, and ecology. Interwoven with the science will be discussions of how Arctic states are working together to mitigate climate change impacts. Arctic indigenous peoples are also working with Arctic states to engage in the climate change discussion. The course consider the impacts of climate change to those nations and people, and also how they are contributing through literature, music, art.

Ocean 450/Honors 221 “Climate Extremes” Paul Johnson, Oceanography and Paul Quay, Earth and Space Science

To better understand the key factors that control the earth's present and future climate, this course examines episodes in the earth's past when extreme climate conditions existed. Dramatic changes in the earth's climate have resulted from natural variations in solar insolation, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, rates and pathways of ocean circulation, plate tectonics, and the evolution of vascular plants and, in modern times, the burning of fossil fuels.

Honors 397 “Storytelling for [climate] change” Jess Wallach, Geography

What happens when we weave our own stories into the climate conversation? How does sharing these stories transform our understanding of climate change, and where we see ourselves in the issue?  How do these new understandings empower us as learners, educators and change-makers in the climate movement? With an emphasis on collaborative storytelling, art as activism and climate justice, this seminar brings students together to explore these new kinds of climate stories.


Spring Quarter 2017

Honors 222B “Why the Public Accepts or Rejects Science”

David Battisti, Atmospheric Science, and Steve Harrell, Anthropology

The course begins with some consideration of what science is, drawing from literature on the scientific method but also on history of science and sociology of science.  We then consider two case studies of scientific fields where findings have found less than unanimous public acceptance: climate change and natural selection.

Honors 392A “Cultural ecosystems/landscapes of the Pacific Northwest"

Tim Billo, Program on the Environment  

This course addresses the historical and cultural frameworks that led to marginalization of people

on the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, whether it pertain to access to traditional resources, access to outdoor recreation in wild spaces, or general right to a healthy living space. Central to the course is a critical evaluation of the wilderness preservation (and national parks) movement, and re-evaluation of America's "best idea". The course also examines the historical and social contexts in which the preservation movement came about and continues to evolve.


Summer Quarter 2017

Honors Field Studies (Local & International)

Honors 220 “Natural and Cultural History of the Pacific Northwest”

In this course, students will develop an understanding of key ecological and social processes affecting Pacific Northwest ecosystems. In addition, students will gain a basic understanding of economically and ecologically important species and ecosystems found in the region. Class time will include very short introductory lectures, discussions of case studies, and mainly we will spend time in local field trips.

Honors 230 “The Ecology of Urban Seattle: A Classroom Without Walls”

Through field experiences and interaction with communities and experts, students will examine ecological, social, and political factors in urban systems that promote the integration of urban communities and ecological realities.


Early Fall Start 2017, Peru 

Honors 223 / ENVIR 496 / BIO 493 “From Andes to Amazon: Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability in Peru”

This course explores the relationship between humans and biodiversity in one of the most species rich areas of the world, southeastern Peru. You will have hands-on opportunity to hone your taxonomic skills and ecological research skills at field stations in two rainforest preserves of global importance. Visits to local communities will be scheduled to allow you to see how natural resources are being used, and to understand the day-to-day challenges faced by local communities.  Past and present agricultural systems and their impact on the environment are also studied.




Here are just a few suggestions of other courses at UW to help you stay engaged!! Check department course listings for prerequisites and other details.

Arctic Studies

Winter Quarter, 2017

ARCTIC 391 “Climate Change Perspective”

Explores climate change science in the context of geographic, social, and political constraints, considering the role of art, activism, and Arctic indigenous peoples in communicating impacts and mitigation. Students gain knowledge in key atmospheric and ocean science principles along with the role of science in society

ARCTIC 400 “Integrating Policy and Science”

Introduces Arctic resources and access from physical, biological, and political perspectives, focusing on the latter. Emphasizes political alliances among nation states as well as initiatives by indigenous peoples that involve mutual needs for access to Arctic resources for mining, transport, and food.

ARCTIC 498 “Inuktitut 102” (prerequisite required)


Spring Quarter, 2017

ARCTIC 401 “Current Issues in the Arctic”

Addresses current issues impacting the Arctic region from the perspective of visiting scientists, social scientists, practitioners, and Arctic indigenous leaders. (This course is taught by visiting fulbright scholar)

ARCTIC 498 “Inuktitut 103” (prerequisite required)

ARCTIC 200 “Introduction to Arctic Studies”

Provides an overview of current issues and geopolitics in the Arctic including those of the eight Arctic nation-states, six Permanent Participants (indigenous organizations) on the Arctic Council, and other non-Arctic nation-state interests.


Environmental Health

Winter Quarter, 2017

ENV H 111 “Exploring Environment and Health Connections”

Explore the science behind the headlines, and understand the connections between the environment and human health. Topics include: Zika virus, Mercury in seafood, Salmonella and Ebola.  

ENV H 220 “Global Environmental Change and Public Health”

Scientists are predicting dramatic climate changes by mid-century… how will we adapt? Students will be introduced to the range of global environmental changes and their consequences for human health and well-being, with a focus on climate change and its consequences. No Prerequisites, open to students in all majors.

ENV H 418/518 “Understanding and Managing Health Risks of Climate Change”

The health risks of climate change are multiple and range across the public health space. Addresses current and projected health risks of climate change and the policies and measures to manage these risks as the climate continues to change.

ENV H 448 “Community Air Pollution”

What’s in the air you breathe? A comprehensive overview of community air pollution. Topics covered include: Air pollution sources, chemistry and meteorology, effects on human health and the environment, and climate change.

ENV H 441 “Food Protection”

Study of identification and characteristics of chemicals and biological agents implicated in foodborne disease outbreaks and conditions or circumstances by which food contamination occurs. Examination of food protection activities conducted by local and state government at the retail level.

ENV H 446 / 546 “Hazardous Waste and Public Health”

Characterization of hazardous wastes and introduction to pertinent federal and state regulations. Discussion of exposure pathways and description of management options at pre-generation, pre-release, and post-release stages. Emphasis on public health significance.

ENV H 452 / 542 “Detection and Control of Environmentally Transmitted Microbiological Hazards”

Focuses on the detection and control of infectious microorganisms in air, food, water, and other environmental media. Discussion on sample collection, processing, and detection for infectious microorganisms. Provides coverage of engineered controls and disinfection/decontamination processes for infectious microorganisms.

ENV H 462 / 562 “Technical Aspects of Occupational Safety”

Reviews federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and state WISHA (Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act) standards. Explores the impact of these regulations on industry, particularly construction.


Earth and Space Science

Winter 2017

ESS 203 “Glaciers and Global Change

Glaciers, arctic sea ice, seasonal snow, and permafrost – they are all melting as Planet Earth warms up. The 2013 IPCC report AR5 is more definite than ever that human activities, particularly burning fossil fuels, are causing glaciers to melt, and that meltwater is causing sea level to rise. Nonetheless, some political systems are slow to accept the strong scientific consensus.

ESS / ATMS / OCN 593 The theory and practice of linking knowledge with action to address modern environmental challenges”

This one-credit, reading and discussion-based seminar will explore the theory and practice of linking knowledge with action in support of progress on critical environmental challenges. Concepts will be illustrated using examples from efforts to inform societal responses to climate change. This course is available for credit/no-credit only. Advanced undergraduates may register with permission of instructors.

Center for Teaching and Learning

Winter 2017

GRDSCH 525 Acting Up: Amplifying Voices Through Interactive Theater as Pedagogy

Want to make positive change in classroom and institutional climates so that all of our students thrive? In this cross-disciplinary hybrid course--through a blend of weekly face-to-face class meetings and online activities--students build practical skills in interactive social change theater and other arts-based pedagogies to challenge oppression and promote inclusive educational environments in classroom, institutional, and community contexts. Graduate students from all disciplines and UW campuses are welcome. Previous theater or arts experience not required.

Center for Health and the Global Environment

GH 590/ENV H 590 “Understanding and Managing the Healthier Risks of Climate Change”

Climate change is likely to be an increasing public health challenge this century, and the public health workforce is not adequately prepared. The current and projected human health consequences of climate change are diverse and wide-ranging, potentially altering the burden of any health outcome sensitive to weather or climate. Students in this course will gain foundational knowledge in the health effects of climate change, health benefits of mitigation activities, adaptation needs and strategies, and methods for quantifying climate change health effects and mitigation co-benefits.


Program on Climate Change in UW's College of the Environment


Provides a framework for intense cross-disciplinary collaboration that furthers and supports research and education in climate science.




BEYOND COURSEWORK: Ongoing efforts at UW (again, this is just a few of many).



Rethinking Prosperity is a civic engagement project to identify and communicate economic models that work for more people, within planetary boundaries. We explore new ideas and effective communication strategies through learning communities that bridge the classroom, research, and civic arenas. We track local, national and global conversations about prosperity driven by sustainable and equitable economics. The goal is to enable stakeholders, from citizens to policymakers, to find common ground, develop strategies, and take action on economic ideas for sustainable societies.

  • Searching for Promising Ideas

  • Finding Practices That Work

  • Developing Communication Models

Climate Impacts Group


The Climate Impacts Group supports the development of climate resilience by advancing understanding and awareness of climate risks, and working closely with public and private entities to apply this information as they act to shape society’s future.


UW Today's list of Climate Change experts