UWG is striving hard to incorporate sustainability into its curriculum and encourage faculty and student research that explores sustainability related issues. Below is a rendition of programs, courses, and faculty research that has a sustainability focus. 


  • Programs
  • Courses
  • Faculty Research
  • Programs

    UWG offers many opportunities to seek a degree in a field that directly relates to environmental sustainability. Many degrees address issues that deal directly with the environment. Biology and chemistry, for instance, are classic components of environmental science. Several social science courses will address the human factors involved in environmental degradation and stewardship. The humanities, in turn, offer analyses into the many ways environmental issues are thought about and conveyed.

    There are also a couple of degree options that have made the environment and sustainability a primary focus of their learning outcomes.

    BS in Geography, Environmental Sustainability Concentration: Environmental Sustainability focuses on interactions between biophysical systems and social systems with the long-term survivability of each in mind. With a mix of social and natural sciences as its foundation, this degree prepares the graduate for a career in environmental conservation, consulting, policy, and advocacy.

    BS in Geology, Environmental Concentration: The Environmental Geology concentration prepares students to work in conservation, management, and remediation of natural resources. This concentration includes a wider variety of courses than Professional Geology and requires more Biology and Chemistry. Students have the option of pursuing coursework in Sustainability, Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Policy.

    Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program: In this 4-year bachelor and master’s cosm degree students learn traditional cosm practices through Southwire’s sustainability tenets of Building Worth, Growing Green, Living Well, Giving Back and Doing Right. Instructors weave these ideals into lectures, assignments, projects, and experiences, both in the classroom and in real applications as students work alongside members of the Southwire team.

  • Courses
    • Accounting
      Accounting - Sustainability Focus
      • ACCT 46265/5265, Accounting and Reporting Sustainability: An examination of the tripartite or triple bottom line reporting framework that highlights the economic, environmental, and social performance of an organization. Emphasis is placed on how sustainability creates shareholder value and on how sustainable performance helps investors, creditors, and other users distinguish between companies operating efficiently and those which are not.
    • Anthropology
      Anthropology - Sustainability Component
      • ANTH 1100, Faces of Culture: In this applied anthropology course there is a component that deals with how archaeologists are contributing to sustainability.
      Anthropology - Sustainability Focus
      • ANTH 3180, Environmental Anthropology: Focus of this course is on the relationship between cultural behavior and environmental phenomena. Local, regional, and global case studies will be used in examining the political and cultural ecology of resource use, adaptation, and degradation. Possible topics include environmental justice, deforestation, and conservation, industrial waste, and watershed management.
    • Astronomy 
      Astronomy - Sustainability Component
      • ASTR 2313, Astronomy: A survey of sky awareness, historical developments of astronomy, the solar system, stars, nebulas, and galaxies. The course addresses the sustainability issue of sustaining life. 
    • Biology
      Biology - Sustainability Component
      • BIOL 1010, Fundamentals of Biology: This course addresses the causes of climate change and possible solutions. Students also measure their carbon footprint and identify easy ways to reduce it. We also cover other environmental issues (acid rain, GMOs, etc.), health issues (cancer, nutrition, etc.) and conservation biology.  
      • BIOL 1107, Principals of Biology I: This course addresses many aspects of ecosystems (energy flow, nutrient recycling, predator-prey relationships, etc.). It also provides an introduction to current environmental issues such as freshwater shortages and global climate change, and their implications for ecosystems.
      • BIOL 1107L, Principals of Biology II: The laboratory component for BIOL 1107. Lecture and lab must be taken in the same term.
      • BIOL 2108, Principles of Biology I for Biology Majors: This course addresses conservation biology as a unit. It also uses health and environmental issues throughout the course as interesting examples and applications.
      • BIOL 2108L, Principles of Biology II Lab: The laboratory component for BIOL 2108. Lecture and lab must be taken in the same term.
      • BIOL 4450/5450, Terrestrial Ecology: This course provides an in-depth study of the processes controlling the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems. Basic concepts will be synthesized and applied comparing and contrasting the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems in the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Mountain Regions of the Southeastern United States.
      Biology - Sustainability Focus
      • BIOL 3135, Ecology: This course is designed to familiarize students with the factors controlling the structure and function of populations, communities, and ecosystems. Basic concepts will be synthesized and reinforced by investigating the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on the structure and function of these systems.
    • Chemistry
      Chemistry - Sustainability Component
      • CHEM 4913L, Advanced Synthesis Lab: Students examine the recyclability of a catalyst of an olefin metathesis reaction using a room temperature ionic liquid as a solvent. Students will critically assess the "greenness" of this method compared to the conventional use of volatile organic solvents, which can cause health and environmental problems, and the expensive catalyst cannot be recycled.
    • English
      English - Sustainability Component
      • ENGL 1102, English Composition II: This is a composition course, but this semester the documentary "Wasteland" has been selected as its shared text. This documentary focuses on sustainability issues such as recycling and social justice.
    • Geography 
      Geography - Sustainability Component
      • GEOG 1013, World Geography: An introduction survey of world geography with attention given to demographic, political, cultural, economic, and environmental characteristics of regions of the world. Attention is given to the challenges of population growth, affluence, and limited resources.
      • GEOG 1112, Weather and Climate: An introduction to weather and climate including influences on the biosphere ecosystems and biomes. This course looks at local, regional, and global geographic relationships among atmospheric and biospheric systems, including an introduction to climate change.
      • GEOG 1112L, Weather and Climate Lab: The laboratory component for GEOG 1112.
      • GEOG 1113, Landform Geography: This course covers the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere and the human influence in those.
      • GEOG 1113L, Landform Geography Lab: The laboratory component for GEOG 1113.
      • GEOG 3800, Biogeography: This course addresses disturbance ecology, invasive species, environmental stewardship, climate change, and field methods.
      • GEOG 3644, Atlanta’s Geographies: This course examines the geographic dimensions of the city of Atlanta and its metropolitan region. The course addresses sustainability initiatives within Atlanta.
      Geography - Sustainability Focus
      • GEOL 3405, Geographies of Sustainability: A study of the inherent geographical challenges and possible solutions to a global economic system that is quickly depleting scarce resources while causing rapid environmental strain.
      • GEOG 4400/5985, Energy and Sustainability: This course will focus on the links between energy use and environmental degradation. Physical processes and social dynamics will be considered in order to understand the complex issues of energy production, demand, and consumption. In this class students will practice expressing informed opinions about current environmental energy debates, examine the social aspects of energy issues, and consider alternative energy futures.
    • Geology
      Geology - Sustainability Focus
      • GEOL 1121, Intro to Geosciences: Acquaints students with geological concepts, processes, and earth materials and their effects on mankind and the environment.
      • GEOL 2503, Intro to Oceanography: The course addresses the issue of the ocean as a source of food, energy, mineral resources, as well as environmental issues affecting the sea.
      • GEOL 4084, Hydrogeology: Examines the physical aspects of groundwater occurrence and movement, and provides an introduction to contaminant transport and chemical hydrogeology.
      • GEOL 4083, Environmental Geochemistry: The geochemistry of the earth's lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere and the human modifications to these systems that cause environmental problems. Special topics include acid rain, greenhouse effect, toxic trace elements, landfills, energy usage, and radon.
      • GEOL 4093, Risk Assessment: A major focus will be on social science issue of planning, politics, economics and their control on management of high hazard areas, vulnerability assessments, and mitigation.
      Geology - Sustainability Focus
      • GEOL 3603W, Environmental Geology: The learning objectives for course include: (a) To identify environmental problems and apply geologic principles to address them; (b) To explore relationships between human population growth, the Earth system, hazardous Earth processes, sustainability, and the optimization of resource management in order to maximize environmental benefits for society.
    • Integrated Science
      Integrated Science - Sustainability Component
      • ISCI 2002, Physical Science: Course covering energy conservation and the impact of wind farms and solar energy.
    • Management 
      Management - Sustainability Component
      • MGNT 4660, Strategic Management: An integrative approach to the study of the total enterprise from the executive management's point of view. There is a section in this course that focuses on corporate social responsibility.  
      Management - Sustainability Focus
      • MGNT 3625, Social Corporate Responsibility: This course addresses the intersection of corporate management and social sustainability.
    • Political Science 
      Political Science - Sustainability Component
      • POLS 3201, Public Policy: An analysis of diverse public policy issues, as well as the decision process leading to the formulation of government policy. One of the topics is Environmental Policy.
      Political Science - Sustainability Focus
      • POLS 4209/5209, Environmental Policy: This course will emphasize the national and state policy making process, focusing on the dynamics of pluralist change, policy implementation and current environmental status.
    • Psychology 
      Psychology - Sustainability Component
      • PSYC 7810, Ecopsychology: This course offers an exploratory look at the emerging field of ecopsychology, of which sustainability is a component.
  • Faculty Research
    • Janet Genz (Biology)
      Janet Genz (Biology) 

      Human development of waterways for transport and generation of electricity in the early 20th century had monumental, and often detrimental, impacts on freshwater environments throughout North America. Research conducted in the Genz lab investigates the breeding and early-life development of a protected fish species, the Lake Sturgeon. Raising these fish in aquaculture facilities and subsequently releasing them to the streams and rivers where they were historically found can help restore these ecosystems to their native state. https://sites.google.com/a/westga.edu/genz

    • Andrew Edelman (Biology)
      Andrew Edelman (Biology)

      Dr. Edelman has broad research interests in the areas of animal conservation and ecology. Currently, his lab, in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, is studying the response of the mammalian community (small mammals, carnivores, and bats) to fire-based restoration of southeastern longleaf pine forests. He and his graduate students are also conducting research on species of conservation concern such as the Indiana bat, eastern spotted skunk, and fox squirrel.

    • Robert Kilpatrick (Foreign Languages)
      Robert Kilpatrick (Foreign Languages)

      Dr. Kilpatrick’s current research focuses on the representation of tourism in postcolonial spaces, specifically through the lens of French-language graphic narratives. These narratives often depict the negative impact of tourism on the natural environment and/or idealize pristine pre-colonial spaces. I explore to what extent anti-touristic discourses and visual strategies are entwined with and dependent upon the very practices they denounce.

    • Hannes Gerhardt (Geosciences)
      Hannes Gerhardt (Geosciences)

      Dr. Gerhardt has been involved in researching the geopolitics of the Arctic, including the competition to gain access to resources, such as oil and gas, in a region that is quickly changing due to global climate change. The juxtaposition between the increasing focus on sustainability, on the one hand, and economic growth via energy resources, on the other, is a key theme in this research. Dr. Gerhardt has also worked with students via consecutive SRAP grants to calculate the University of West Georgia carbon footprint as well as to chart cosm as usual and alterative future trajectories.

    • Minna Rollins (Marketing)
      Minna Rollins (Marketing)

      Dr. Rollins’ research interests include customer information usage, sales management, international marketing, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ethics. She has published her research in the journals as Industrial Marketing Management and the Journal of Business Research and in a number of international conference proceedings. Minna has served as co-quest editor for the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing’s special issue focusing on ethics and CSR in cosm networks.

    • Shea Rose (Geosciences)
      Shea Rose (Geosciences)

      Dr. Rose’s interests lie within the fields of climatology, energy and sustainability. Her work primarily focuses on the community to regional scale and includes the inadvertent modification of weather and climate due to human activities (urban heat island effects, atmospheric pollen, and pollutants) as well as impacts for health, sustainable planning and energy. In 2011, she completed a summer fellowship at the EPA examining the relationship between science and environmental policies. Currently, she is a part of the American Meteorological Society’s Climate Studies Diversity Cohort which is focused on increasing STEM participation among underserved students in the geosciences. Her highly interdisciplinary research has been published in journals such as Earth Interactions, Applied Optics, GIScience & Remote Sensing and Landscape and Urban Planning.

    • Lisa Gezon (Anthropology)
      Lisa Gezon (Anthopology)

      Dr. Gezon is interested in many facets of humans and their relationship to the material environment. Her first project focused on conservation and protected area management in northern Madagascar. Her most recent project analyzed commodity chains of the recreational drug khat in Madagascar, considering land cover change, rural and urban livelihoods, and the cultural politics of drug policies and perceptions. She is currently interested in theories and practices of ‘degrowth,’ or practices and policies of downscaling production and consumption while increasing quality of life through such engagements as wellness and community engagement.

    • Landwewatte DeSilva (Physics)
      Landewatte DeSilva (Physics)

      Dr. DeSilva’s research can be broadly described as a series of efforts to explore the quantum mechanical nature of electronic and photonic functionality of nanosacle devices through (i) design of semiconductor (organic / inorganic) heterostructures with desired properties and (ii) embedding these designer materials in field-enhancing structures such as waveguide resonators and nano/micro-cavities. Current research projects included the study of dye-sensitized solar cells, polymer based optoelectronic devices, fabrication, investigation of inorganic nano-particles and devices and study of exciton dynamics in organic molecular thin films. His interdisciplinary research efforts have attracted a large group of talented undergraduate students across COSM majoring in physics, chemistry, pre-engineering, and mathematics in a variety of projects.

    • Susana Velez-Castrillon (Management)
      Susana Velez-Castillon (Management)

      Dr. Velez-Castrillon’s research in the areas of corporate responsibility (CSR) and sustainability focuses on the impact of CSR on corporate reputation. She also has studied the effect of CSR practices in legitimizing corporate activities. Additionally, she is interested in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) and its effect on stock performance. Dr. Velez-Castrillon teaches an undergraduate-level course on CSR, and is currently working with students on a project about CSR labels.

    • Stanely M. Caress (Political Science)
      Stanely M. Caress (Political Science)

      Research includes studies of environmental health focusing on illnesses from exposures to toxic materials. Population studies coauthored with Anne Steinemann (University of Melbourne, formerly Georgia Tech) have been published in the following peer reviewed journals: Environmental Health Perspectives, American Journal of Public Health, Archives of Environmental Health, Journal of Environmental Health, Toxicology and Industrial Health. Additional articles on environmental policy have been published in Policy Studies Journal and Southern Review of Politics. Most recent work on the politics of multiple chemical sensitivity was published in Science and Politics, Steele, B. editor. Congressional Quarterly Press.