2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Geopolitics, Energy, Economics and Stewardship of the Pacific Northwest

Spring 2013 quarter

Ralph Murphy political science and economics , Zoe Van Schyndel finance
Fields of Study
business and management, economics, environmental studies, political economy, political science and sustainability studies
Preparatory for studies or careers in
government, business, public policy, economic development, public administration, and entrepreneurship.

This program examines the political, economic, ecological, and energy-related foundations of the Pacific Northwest’s (PNW) culture and economy. The unique mix of energy, natural resources, agriculture, manufacturing, military, high technology, and finance have created a diverse cultural and economic base.   The regional economy, led by manufacturing, agriculture, forest products, and finance, served the region well during most of the 20th   century, creating a variety of sources of employment and opportunities for families to achieve a quality of life many consider unique in the United States. However, changes in the later 20th   and early 21st   century present new challenges. As we explore these changes, our goals are to define a concrete vision of a sustainable economy in the PNW, to examine the role public policy and entrepreneurship can play to ensure it is achievable, and to understand why it is important to transition to a sustainable future. At the end of the quarter, students will present their research findings in a multi-media presentation.

Three overarching topics will be explored in depth. PNW energy regimes including natural gas, hydroelectric sources, and emerging technologies of tidal, geothermal and wind will be examined. Energy is vital to the PNW because of the comparative advantages on price the region has long enjoyed. We will examine  the composition of, and changes in, the PNW regional economy including how to understand key economic relationships, how technology and other emerging sectors impact education, demographics, employment, wage structures, and demands for infrastructure and tax base. To fully understand energy and the PNW regional economy, we will integrate considerations of how economics, governance and ecology are now at critical turning points.

The goal of the program is to create a vision of sustainability for the Pacific Northwest that accounts for employment and prosperity, preservation and restoration of the environment. We believe innovation, creativity, and stewardship will help achieve the goals of this program to positively benefit the Pacific Northwest.

This program is organized around class work that includes lectures, workshops, book seminars, and field trips. Assignments will include seminar papers, field trip reports, briefing papers, individual and team research and a final project and presentation.

*There is an optional field trip, with space for up to fifteen students, at the end of the quarter to the Big Island of Hawaii. The focus of this trip is on alternative energy and entrepreneurs. If you are interested, please contact Zoe Van Schyndel for additional information.

Online Learning
No Required Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
Estimated $1200 field trip fee for Hawaii Field Trip.  This is an optional field trip and is not required for the program.
Offered During