UH Creates a New Minor in Energy and Sustainability

The University of Houston has created an interdisciplinary minor in energy and sustainability designed for students who are pursuing a wide range of majors but want to understand the key issues in the world of energy.

The new minor is part of UH’s strategic plan to enhance and expand its energy-related educational and research initiatives as it seeks to become “the energy university,” said Dow Chair Professor Ramanan Krishnamoorti, special assistant to the president/chancellor for UH Energy.

“This new minor is an important part of our plan to capitalize on the abundance of energy-related talent and resources here at UH for the benefit of our students and the community,” Krishnamoorti said.

The new minor officially begins in the 2013 fall semester, and the courses will be taught by faculty members from different colleges across campus.

“This new minor can be taken by students majoring in business, engineering, technology, natural sciences and math, even public policy – anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in the energy industry,” Krishnamoorti said. “It will make UH students more relevant to the energy industry and more aware of the issues that will be important to them for the rest of their careers.”

Topics will include existing, transitional and alternative energy resources; conservation and consumption; and energy and sustainability from the perspectives of economics and business, architecture and design, public policy and education. There also is an introductory course and a capstone course.

“This minor gives students a quick start to thinking in broad terms about the different issues affecting the world of energy, such as sustainability and policy,” Krishnamoorti said. “Through these courses, we are giving them the tools they need to think about the energy industry in a holistic way. They will be better-educated graduates for the industry overall.”

Some of the courses offered in the minor include sustainable development, the environmental biology of Texas, the economics of energy, introduction to air pollution, international energy politics and even an energy-related writing class in the English department.

Joseph Pratt, NEH-Cullen professor of history and business, was instrumental in building the minor’s curriculum, which he said should be of interest to anyone living and working in the Houston region.

“The minor in energy and sustainability consists of really good data for students to know. It covers all of the bases. Students who take these courses seriously will be in a position to build on them for the rest of their lives,” Pratt said. “If you live and work in the energy capital of the world, you need to be literate in energy and sustainability.”

The minor’s advisory committee includes faculty members from the C.T. Bauer College of Business, the College of Technology, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Cullen College of Engineering, the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Office of Sustainability.

For more information about the minor, visit: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/centers/uhgemi/esi/curriculum.php