Category Archives: Courses, Majors & Curriculum

An exciting class is available this spring— Environmental Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing

!!!SPRING 2016 COURSE!!!


TTH 10:15-12:20

Faisal Hossain, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences,

University of Washington Tacoma


What is Remote Sensing?

Remote sensing deals with the acquisition of information using techniques that do not require actual contact with the object or area being observed.


How is Remote Sensing Useful for the Environment?

In an era of rising operating costs, declining networks and complex logistic hurdles to environmental monitoring remote sensing has a particular appeal for monitoring and managing environmental issues. Instruments flying high up in space, called satellites, and performing ‘remote sensing,’ can now a constant ‘eye’ to the state of our planet’s environment where change is constant. Remote sensing satellites are not affected by issues facing existing or planned traditional ground-based networks for monitoring our environment. In addition, they can cover a large area with fewer sensors. The best part, for most cases, is that the environmental data they monitor is FREE (for most parts) just like Google Earth.


What can I hope to learn from this course?

There are numerous satellite missions, sensors, data products on the environment that derive information on the basis of remote sensing. The situation however can be confusing to most practitioners and traditional researchers alike. For example, just for rainfall alone, there are a dozen different global products available in near-real-time that also provide fairly long record for water management, real-time operations or hydrologic design. A natural question that arises is ‘how can sieve through all numerous sensors, satellites, platforms and systems that are ‘out there’ to get to the ‘gist’ of environmental remote sensing? How do I find out the basics so that I can start applying remote sensing data for the environmental problems I am interested in?


If you are interested in seeking an answer to the above questions, then this course is for you. If you want to improve the current state of environmental management by leveraging best of both worlds (ground and satellite networks) and improve the professional practice on environment, then this course is for you.


Questions? Email Faisal Hossain – or visit WWW.SASWE.NET

SAM UWaTERS Fall Edition 2015

Sciences and Mathematics held the Fall 2015 edition of the UW Tacoma Environmental Research Symposium (UWaTERS) on Thursday December 10th 10:30-12:00 PM in the hallway of the 2nd floor Science Building.

Environmental Science and Environmental Studies majors presented their capstone research projects in a poster session.  These students also participated (as part of their TESC 410 class) in creating UW Tacoma’s inaugural submissions for the national EPA green infrastructure design competition, campus RainWorks Challenge.  The student teams benefited from the involvement of City of Tacoma and UW Tacoma Facilities Services staff during brainstorming and design. The student teams will be showing off their design boards for this project at the poster event. For more info on this competition, check out the website:

UWaTERS Abstracts AUT15 Final

Great Job SAM Students!

IMG_1231 IMG_1227 IMG_1217 IMG_1210 20151210_105649

Hunting for Plastics – Making Connections Through Lower Division Courses

Division of Science and Math Work Group: Julie Masura and Megan Schwartz (co-chairs) Bonnie Becker, Erica Cline, Jeremy Davis, Jutta Heller, Meg Henderson, Erik McDonald, Peter Selkin, Haley Skipper, and Cynthia Stanich

UW Tacoma students collecting and categorizing microplastics, macroplastics and megaplastics at Thea's Beach and Owen's Beach

UW Tacoma students collecting and categorizing microplastics, macroplastics and megaplastics at Thea’s Beach and Owen’s Beach


In 2014, twelve faculty from the Division of Science and Math joined together to develop high standards for lower division students taking Natural World courses as a part of the CORE curriculum. Action among this faculty stems from the reconciliation of the vision for the CORE experience from the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and the Office of Undergraduate Education. Four faculty attended a conference on lower division biological education which they shared with the Science and Math faculty (see The result of that conference led to reformatting our Lower Division undergraduate courses through implementation of high impact educational practices as identified by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (see

The workgroup created a curriculum for our freshmen class to be followed by faculty teaching in the CORE, and committed to not only providing faculty development, but also perform an assessment measuring science attitudes and skills of students taking these classes. Each student taking a Natural World course will be exposed to data collection, field and laboratory experiences, field and laboratory reports, academic research, data analysis, and place-based activities. Our intention is a pledge to ensuring every student experience the “science” in interdisciplinary arts and sciences.

During the summer of 2015, Erik McDonald restructured his Natural World course using the framework developed by Julie Masura’s CORE course ‘Oceans Full of Trash.’ One of the activities/experiences for his students was to collect and categorize microplastics, macroplastics, and megaplastics at Thea’s Beach on the Thea Foss Waterway and Owen’s Beach at Point Defiance Park (see figure). For another part of the lesson, the students graphed their data (including uncertainty) in Excel and wrote a report on their experience. They will continue to explore the impacts of plastics pollution on ecosystems, while understanding their social responsibility of educating others and modifying behaviors to lessen the effect on their environment.

-Article written by Erik McDonald and Julie Masura

SAM Advising Session for Winter and Spring Quarters

SAM held an informative advising session on Monday October 19, 2015 for Sciences and Mathematics.  Please take a look at the attached SAM Power Point presentation that presents:

SAM Advising Info – Winter and Spring 2015