The Sustainability Committee seeks to promote conservation practices and the wise use of resources at UAS. The committee makes recommendations to guide campus sustainability policies, advocates for these sustainability initiatives, and communicates the committee's activities to each member's respective departments.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is a challenging concept to define. One of the more familiar definitions comes from the United Nations Bruntland commission: "sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Similarly, the Environmental Protection Agency states: "Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations." The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education adopts a broader definition, defining sustainability "in an inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations."
What does sustainability mean to committee members?
Reflecting the range of ideas and understandings of sustainability, when asked about the principles of sustainability, committee members suggested sustainability also includes:
- fairness and equity
- conservation of resources for the future
- maintenance of life sustaining functions and resources
- a holistic approach
- leaving things better off for the next generation
- contextual, integrative, and long-term planning
- critical thinking which allows people to understand the consequences of their actions.
- reduction in violence and warfare
- thinking globally and acting locally
American Campus Act on Climate Pledge
In Fall 2015, UAS joined over 200 colleges and universities in signing the American Campus Act on Climate Change Pledge to demonstrate support for strong international climate action prior to the United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris. Chancellor Rick Caulfield's Statement on Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship can be found here.
2014 STARS Report
In 2014, UAS completed a year-long sustainability audit with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) program, earning a Bronze rating. This places UAS on par with UAA in terms of sustainable practices.
For more information about the AASHE STARS program, see the AASCHE web site: http://www.aashe.org.
Sustainability Research & Education
In the Spring of 2013, the Sustainability Committee adopted definitions of "sustainability research," "sustainability-focused courses," and "sustainability-related courses" at UAS.
Sustainability research explores sustainability-related social, economic, cultural, and environmental variables; or examines an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens.
Sustainability-focused courses concentrate on the concept of sustainability including it's social, economic, cultural, and environmental dimensions; or examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lense.
Sustainability-related courses incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module, or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue.
The goal of sustainability education is to provide students, regardless of their course of study, the knowledge and skills to help create a healthy economy, society, and environment.
In order to determine wheather or not a course has this goal in mind, it is useful to ask whether or not a given course will help students to achieve one or more of the following:
- Understand and be able to effectively communicate the concept of sustainability.
- Develop and use an ethical perspective in which they view themselves as embedded in the fabric of an interconnected world.
- Become aware of and explore the connections between their chosen course of study and sustainability.
- Develop technical skills or expertise necessary to implement sustainable solutions.
- Understand the way in which sustainable thinking and decision-making contributes to the process of creating solutions for current and emerging social, environmental, and economic crises.
- Contribute practical solutions to real-world sustainability challenges.
- Synthesize understanding of social, economic, and environmental systems and reason holistically.
- Contribute to the understanding of cultural sustainability through practice or investigation of Alaska's cultures.
A course does not have to accomplish all of these things to be designated as sustainability-related or sustainability-focused.
The UAS Sustainability Committee is a Faculty Senate Committee comprised of a rotating membership representing natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, and public administration. Representatives from Facility Services, the Student Sustainability Club, and the university administration attend the meetings. Meetings are scheduled by the Committee chair and held several times a term.
Assistant Professor of Marine Biology
Phone: 796-6271, Fax: 796-6447
Arts and Sciences - Natural Sciences - Biology
Ph.D., Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 2008
Go here to learn about my marine mammal research lab, BREACH, and read the latest updates from the field.
Biology of Marine Mammals (lecture and lab)
Term Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Phone: 796-6275, Fax: 796-6447
Arts and Sciences - Natural Sciences - Chemistry
Assistant Professor of Public Administration
School of Management
University of Alaska Fairbanks, PhD, Natural Resource Policy and Sustainability Science – 2012
University of Alaska Southeast, MPA – 1995
Rochester Institute of Technology, Eisenhower College, BA, 1978
Jim has spent most of his life in Alaska with over three decades working on environmental and natural resource policy and management, and local governance issues. His public service includes nine years on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly with 3 years as Deputy Mayor. His dissertation research and current research interests are community and institutional adaptive capacity in response to climate change, sustainability, and local decision-making. He currently teaches natural resource policy, local sustainability, public administration, and local governance courses. Jim balances his teaching with serving on several state and local nonprofit boards. He also lectures and consults on sustainability planning. He is a member of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources, and Ecological Society of America.
Associate Professor of English, Humanities Department Chair
Phone: 796-6021, Fax: 796-6406
Arts and Sciences - Humanities
Ph.D. Department of English. University of Oregon. 2006. Structured Emphasis in Literature and Environment. Passed oral examination with distinction.
Dissertation: "The Environmental Rhetoric of American Hunting and Fishing Narratives: A Revisionist History" (Chair: Suzanne Clark).
M.A. Department of English. University of Oregon. 2002.
B.A. Department of English. Western Washington University. 1997.
Cum Laude. Junior Semester abroad, University of Hull, England.
PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS:
National and International Conferences:
Associate Professor of English. University of Alaska Southeast. 2013-present.
Assistant Professor of English. University of Alaska Southeast. 2006-2013.
Visiting Assistant Professor of English. University of Alaska Southeast. 2004-2005.
Courses taught (UAS):
Thesis Committees (UAS):
Graduate Teaching Fellow. University of Oregon. Fall 2000-Spring 2004, Fall 2005, Spring 2006.
Courses taught (UO):
Writing Lab Fellow. University of Oregon. Academic Learning Services. 2000-2001.
AWARDS, HONORS, GRANTS:
University of Alaska Southeast: (selected)
University of Oregon:
Committee for 2005 Biennial Conference.
Vice Chancellor for Administration
Phone: 796-6570, Fax: 796-6276
Michael Ciri was raised in the wilderness by wolves and dropped in front of the Mourant Building in 1982 to fend for himself. And he fended well. He went from student to student employee to a regular employee in computing in 1986. He became director of Information Technology and Media Services in 2000.
He is UAS educated, receiving an AA in 1988, a B.A. in Liberal Arts in 1994 and received his master's in Public Administration in 2007. He also holds the record for most consecutive years of living in student housing and is in the UAS mascot hall of fame as the original "Spike" the whale.