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earth, land ground

Exploring past, present, and future extinctions through the lens of sustainability

Director: Dr. Sarah Breckenridge Wright, English

This slide show explains the faculty team's plans for TERRA for 2018-19:


Fall 2019 (Check the above presentation for complete course description details).

ENGL 201C-01 Confronting the Eco-Apocalypse (TTh 12:15pm) Sarah Wright, English

Imagine the streets of NYC transformed into canals... a sea of dunes stretching across the American West... a world where bio-terrorism is a tool for corporate profit. This class will explore these worlds and more in dystopian novels and films including Disney's Wall-E, Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140, and Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl. As we explore these hypothetical futures, we will consider how they comment on current environmental, social, and economic choices, and how they imagine future individuals and societies contending with apocalyptic floods, draughts, and genetically-modified organisms. We will also partner with GTECH (gtechstrategies.org) to learn about the steps Pittsburgh is taking toward a more sustainable future, and to help the city take those steps in neighboring communities including the Hill District and Uptown.

SOCI 124C Global Sociology (TTh 10:50) Mike Irwin, Sociology

Global Sociology studies large-scale social processes across the globe and through history. Using this comparative/historical approach, Global Sociology provides an introduction to the social and cultural forces which bind humans together in societies. For this learning community we will focus specifically on how humanity's choices have contributed to extinctions of societies over history and how contemporary societies are struggling to make choices that enhance sustainability. We will pay special attention to societies as human ecosystems, focusing on the ways that societies have adapted to environmental conditions and have changed those conditions. Our main textbook, Human Societies, provides a sociological model of how this occurs. Additionally we'll use Jared Diamond's accounts in Collapse to expand on this model and provides examples of how this process succeeds or fails. Both books focus on the complex interrelationships between societies and the environment over history and on comparisons of societies across the globe.

UCOR 101C-01 Thinking and Writing across the Curriculum (MWF 12:00pm) Nicole Brodsky, English

Thinking and Writing Across the Curriculum is the most important course students will take in college.  In this class, students will learn critical composition and rhetorical skills necessary to succeed at the university level.  Not only does this class prepare students for the writing they will be required to do over the next four years, it will also prepare them to manage their time, read critically, produce professional-quality work, and sharpen and improve their critical thinking skills.

As a course in the TERRA learning community, students will acheive these goals through an exploration of the relationship between composition, rhetoric, literature, and sustainability.  We will examine what sustainability means, and how sustainable living incorporates environmental, economic, and social concerns.  Analyzing these issues in mulit-dimensional ways will reveal the impact of reading and writing on the human condition, while encouraging compassion for the earth and those who inhabit it.


Terra students will build civic values and empathy, intercultural awareness, an appreciation for diversity, and knowledge of our community's needs by working alongside Uptown and Hill District residents at green spaces cultivated by GTECH and the Hill House Association..


Women resident students in TERRA live on 6A or 7C of Towers Living-learning Center, men on 8B of Towers.

Towers is in the lower right-hand corner of the campus map.