Projects Supported in 2013

“Environment and Society”
CHENG Pengli, Chongqing Institute of Science and Technology

This project is developing an interdisciplinary course called “Environment and Society”. The course will be offered as an elective within the university’s core humanities and social sciences curriculum beginning in the 2014 spring semester. It will provide a grounding in social science perspectives for science and engineering students, many of whom go on to work in the oil, metallurgy, or safety engineering fields. Initially designed for undergraduates, plans call for opening the course to graduate students in the future.

“Environment and Society” will be a 2 credit course with 32 hours of teaching time and will use Chinese and English language teaching materials. Readings will include Environment and Health: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, edited by the Forum on Health, Environment and Development (FORHEAD) and other FORHEAD supported work, as well as “An Investigation into ‘Cancer Villages’” by CHEN Ajiang, CHENG Pengli and LUO Yajuan. Faculty will prepare written outlines and PowerPoint presentations for each of the 16 course sessions.

Broad areas to be covered during the one semester course include basic theory and methods of environmental sociology, environment and health, environmental safety, and methods for promoting environmental health awareness. In addition to lectures and classroom discussion, the course will involve fieldwork in the “cancer villages” that are part of Professor CHENG’s own research. Students will get practical experience and exposure to the relationships between environment and health that affect people in their everyday lives.

In a technical school like Chongqing University of Science and Technology, the vast majority of undergraduates major in engineering fields. “Environment and Society” with its interdisciplinary approach and fieldwork component will give students much needed exposure to humanities and the social sciences and help to produce more rounded graduates.

Three faculty members are collaborating to develop and team teach “Environment and Society”. Project leader CHENG Pengli is from the Sociology Department and specializes in environmental sociology and urban/rural sociology. His research focuses on the impact of pollution on communities. Professor CHENG is working with YAN Qisong from the Sociology Department and LIU Pu, a specialist in environmental safety working at the Chongqing University’s Engineering Safety Institute and at the National Institute for Occupational Hazards. In the future, these faculty members will be able to develop related course offerings that will further expand the curriculum.

Introduction to Environmental Science and Engineering: the Development and Use of Case Study Teaching Materials
GUO Chuling, School of Environment and Resources, Huanan University of Science and Engineering

This project is developing a library of case studies on a wide range of environmental issues, to be used in the teaching of “Introduction to Environmental Science and Engineering”, a general education class for non-environmental studies undergraduates at South China University of Technology. The case studies will also be available for use by other universities through the FORHEAD network.

The case studies will be concerned with environmental health risks relating to pollution and the potential impact of environment on health. They will use a cross-disciplinary approach to examine complex environmental issues like urban smog, drinking water safety, soil pollution and food safety, and waste treatment. This multidisciplinary perspective will effectively engage students more than a traditional one-dimensional approach to environmental studies and will demonstrate the interactions between natural and social systems in causing environmental health risks.

A trial program for teaching the case studies is getting underway in the Fall 2013 semester. PowerPoint presentations will be used to introduce each case study. Classes will be three hours in length, two hours for teaching the case study and 1 hour for small group discussions. An assessment of the case study teaching program’s impact will be based on the level of student participation in discussions, a student questionnaire, and a comparison of final exam results of students in the case study class versus those in traditional classes.

Project leader GUO Chuling is a faculty member at South China University of Technology’s Institute of Environment and Energy. Her PhD is in environmental microbiology and her research focus is on the treatment and control of organic pollutants. She is joined by three colleagues: LIU Li specializing in geography, YANG Chen whose field is environmental science, and LI Ya whose research focuses are environmental management and environmental economics.

Environment, Health and Development Curriculum Development and Teaching Capability Building
MA Zhenyu, Guangxi Medical University

This project is developing curriculum for use in a cross-disciplinary elective course on Environment, Health and Development for undergraduate students at Guangxi Medical University. The project will also adapt some of these new curriculum materials for inclusion in existing courses in specialized programs like environmental health, social science research methodology, and social medicine. In addition, the project will work with young faculty members to increase their awareness of environment, health and development issues so these teachers can bring this knowledge into their classrooms.

Environment, Health and Development will bring together natural and social science perspectives in a cross-disciplinary approach that seeks to explore interactions among environmental factors, public health problems and developmental models. Some of the specific areas to be covered include diseases related to pollution, rural public health and environmental health risks, and heavy metal pollution in Guangxi, as well as law and public policy relating to environmental health.

The course will be 1.5 credit hours and will be offered in both semesters of the academic year. It will include 24 hours of teaching time divided between lectures and small group discussions. It is expected that at least 30 students will take the elective course each semester.

In addition to the standalone elective course, elements of the curriculum will be included in existing courses taken by undergraduates specializing in preventative medicine (50 students per year) and public administration (40 per year), and graduate students in the field of public health administration (20 per year). Again, students will be encouraged to see the linkages and interrelationships that bring together environment, health and development. Students specializing in these fields go on to work in public health administration and supervision agencies, disease prevention and control centers, or for NGOs in the environment and health field.

Project leader MA Zhenyu received her PhD in epidemiology. She is responsible for both graduate and undergraduate curriculum for numerous courses, including Social Medicine, Public Health Administration, and Public Health Policy. Other members of the project team include LI Guoxing, a specialist in occupational health and environmental health, NONG Qingqing, who also specializes in occupational health and environmental health, CHEN Zhiping, an expert in preventative medicine and public health administration, and TAN Jian who studies environmental epidemiology.

“Environment, Health and Development in Northern Fujian Province”
SU Shipeng, Sustainable Development Research Institute, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University

This project is developing video teaching materials based on case studies of environment and health issues in the rural north of Fujian province. The videos will form the basis of a course called “Environment, Health and Development in Northern Fujian Province” to be offered as an elective to both graduate and undergraduate students at Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University. The videos and the course will also be used for training by government environmental protection and science agencies, and made available to provincial and national science outreach Open Course programs.

The project, which builds on the work of two earlier SSRC collaborative grants, is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between five scholars with expertise in public policy and environmental management, agricultural ecology, rural green development, animal husbandry, and rural health.

Teaching videos will examine a range of environment, health and development issues that impact people living in northern Fujian’s rural communities. PowerPoint presentations of the materials will support the videos in the classroom. Topics include putting regional environment and health concerns in historical perspective, examining water pollution levels and control efforts, looking at the development of the regional pork industry as it relates to environmental health, considering issues surrounding public participation in rural environmental health management, and appraising the policy framework for coordinating environmental health efforts in the region.

An important component of this project, in addition to curriculum development, involves the building of a platform in Fujian province for the exchange of ideas and information on environment and health issues. The goal is to bring together experts from a range of fields in order to examine environmental health from a cross-disciplinary perspective that illuminates interconnected nature of environmental problems and public health.

Project leader SU Shipeng has dual PhDs in Forestry Economics and Management and Environmental Policy Analysis. He is a dean of Fujian Forestry and Agricultural University’s Public Policy Institute, as well as holding advisory positions in rural development with the Fujian provincial government. Other key team members, also from Fujian Forestry and Agricultural University, include ZHONG Lijin, an environmental policy expert, SUN Xiaoxia who studies the implications of agricultural industrialization, GAN Ganfu, an animal husbandry expert, and LIAO Fulin who studies ecology.

Connecting the Dots: Development of an Integrated Development, Environment and Health Course
XU Jianhua, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Peking University

This project is developing a cross-disciplinary course designed to examine the many linkages between environment, health and economic development. The course will be targeted at students majoring in environmental sciences, but will also be useful for students studying energy or resource engineering or public health. The course will also be suitable for use as a training program for professionals working in environmental protection, public health and related fields.

The course will draw on material from both the natural and social sciences to take a cross-disciplinary look at development, environment and health. It will appraise economic development and the evolution of technologies, particularly energy utilization technologies that have driven development and shaped modern societies. In addition to noting the benefits, the course will examine the environmental challenges that have arisen as a consequence of economic growth. Lastly, the course will look at the health risks posed by environmental degradation, paying special attention to the situation in China. The course will provide a comprehensive syllabus and reading list for reference purposes.

The course is especially intended to help students identify the sometimes hidden links that connect economic development, environmental damage and public health risks. It will raise students’ awareness of issues in this area at the same time it helps them develop analytical skills. The course will fill a gap in the existing curriculum for environmental sciences at Peking University, as well as being a useful addition to course offerings in engineering fields and public health. The material could also be adapted and offered as an elective to the general student population.

Project leader XU Jianhua brings multi-disciplinary training to the project. Her undergraduate and master’s study were in natural sciences, but she received her PhD in Engineering and Public Policy. Her research focus concerns public policy for the environment and energy.

Environment, Health and Green Development Guest Lecture Series
YANG Lichao, School of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University

This project is organizing a series of guest lectures that will address a range of issues concerning environment, health and development. A key goal of the project is to encourage participants to look at environment and health issues from a broad, cross-disciplinary perspective. The 6 or 7 lectures in the series will target undergraduate and graduate students in environmental studies, public policy, and public health, as well as being of interest to the general student population and faculty at Beijing Normal University.

Lecture topics will use cases studies to examine environmental health issues from a cross-disciplinary perspective, identify environments that may contain hazardous substances and discuss the origin and control of such substances, It will also look at environmental health from the government’s perspective, explore the relationships between environmental health and green development and consider the question of corporate environmental responsibility as this relates to the issue of environmental health.

Lectures will be two hours in length, with one hour devoted to the lecture and a second hour for discussion. PowerPoint presentations and audio recordings will be made for each lecture.

In addition to the benefits the lectures will have for current students, many of whom will go on to careers in environmental protection, public policy or public health, the lecture series is intended to serve two additional purposes. First, the lectures will expose Beijing Normal University faculty, researchers and students to a cross-disciplinary approach to environment, health and development issues, and this will encourage the development of cross-disciplinary networks within the university community. Second, the lectures will serve as a basis for the development of curriculum for a Masters in Public Administration to focus on environment, health and green development.

Project leader YANG Lichao specializes in gender, sustainable development, and environmental health studies. Joining her on the project team are LIANG Xiaoyun who specializes in public health policy and chronic disease epidemiology, and environmental studies expert CHENG Hongguang.

Curriculum Development for Environment, Health and Development
ZHANG Lei, Institute of Environmental Studies, Renmin University

This project is developing curriculum for a cross-disciplinary course in Environment, Health and Development. The course will be offered as an elective to undergraduates majoring in environmental studies, environmental economics, environmental public policy, natural resources management and related fields within the Institute of Environmental Studies at Renmin University. The course in a somewhat modified format will also be available as an elective to the general undergraduate population.

The course will consider environmental pollution and damage and explore the impact these have on human health. It will also look at how economic and social development affect the interrelated problems of environment and health. Because time and place also have a bearing on what people know about environment and health problems, the course will examine the implications of regional and temporal variation for public policy making and implementation.

The course will use case studies as teaching materials. In addition to case studies, the course for students in environmental studies will include material on research methods and the challenges to doing research in the field of environment and health. This will prepare students to work in environmental protection or public health disciplines. The course for the general student population will focus more on cases studies and is intended primarily to raise awareness of environment and health issues.

In addition to a detailed syllabus describing the entire course, a PowerPoint presentation will be created for each class session. Background information on the case studies chosen and explanations for the reasons they were chosen will also be available. A bibliography of readings for the course and other useful literature will be developed.

Project leader ZHANG Lei received her PhD in Environmental Studies. Her research interests include a range of related topics including environmental sociology theory and practice, environmental policy analysis and assessment, environmental risk management, and environmental information openness. She has been joined by ZENG Fangang who investigates organic and chemical toxins that pollute air, water, soil, and living organisms, and the impact these kinds of pollution have on health. ZHU Xiao is a legal expert who specializes in law for environment and resources. LIU Peng looks at environmental risk management and government monitoring programs, as well as research on public health policy.

Three linked Kunming projects will work together to begin to establish a city network for curriculum development and broader collaboration. Each will run a course in its own institution but also interact with others to share disciplinary perspectives and analysis of local issues.

Environment and Health Curriculum Development and Teaching Capabilities Building for Tertiary Educational Institutions in Yunnan Province
FANG Jing, School of Public Health, Kunming Medical University

This project is developing multidisciplinary curriculum in the broad area of environment and health for use by four-year university undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students at professional and technical colleges in Yunnan province. The curriculum development begins from the perspective of Eco Health, a multidisciplinary approach to human health problems that begins by examining the relationship of such problems to the broader context of the ecologies within which people exist. This project builds on and expands development of an undergraduate elective course called Ecological Health that project leader FANG Jing completed in 2011.

The project’s goal is to develop multidisciplinary materials that examine the environment and health situation in Yunnan province and that are suitable for use by any Yunnan university or professional colleges offering coursework in this area. The curriculum’s broad approach will encourage students in different fields to see the inter-relationships connecting environment, health and development. Another important goal of the project is to encourage exchanges that build teaching capabilities among faculty members from various disciplines who are involved in teaching environment and health at Kunming Medical University and other schools in the Kunming area.

The development process will be a collaborative effort with team members working together to identify suitable case study materials, assemble course syllabi and create PowerPoint presentations for classroom use. The team will also hold 18 hours of trial class sessions to obtain feedback and assessments from students. An environment, health, and development lecture series presented by team members and other experts from Kunming Medical University, Kunming University, Kunming Agricultural University, and Kunming University of Science and Technology will generate interest among scholars, researchers and students, and nurture the development process.

Project leader FANG Jing studied began her studies in the fields of public health and epidemiology and went on to receive her PhD in developmental studies. Her primary research area is reproductive health. She has developed curriculum for numerous courses in the fields of public health and environmental health. Fang Jing is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Forum on Health, Environment and Development. The five scholars who work with FANG as part of the team bring expertise in social medicine, community health promotion, environmental health, epidemiology, anthropology and clinical medicine to the project.

Promoting Awareness of “Environment, Health and Development”
LUO Chun, Yunnan University

This project is developing interdisciplinary curriculum for a lecture series on “Environment, Health and Development”that will be presented to undergraduate and graduate students at Yunnan University and other universities in Kunming. Each of the lectures in the series will focus on one of three broad topics. Individual lectures will be 2 to 3 hours in length. The project is a collaboration between three professors at Yunnan University.

Project leader LUO Chen studies population and economic problems in underdeveloped regions. He will develop curriculum and a lecture focused on sustainable development concepts built around a three part model that combines resources conservation, environmental friendliness and demographic balance. The lecture will look especially at the demographic balance component of this model and examine the role demographics plays in resource development and environmental protection, as well as identifying the interrelationships between population, resources and environment.

LÜ Zhaohe, also from the Yunnan University Development Research Institute, is contributing his expertise in economics and demography to the project. He will explore the relationship between rapid urbanization and environment and health problems. Urbanization brings benefits, but can also have negative consequences for environment and health. This component will examine policy regimes that can mitigate problems caused by rapid urbanization.

DAI Bo specializes in resource economics, ecological economics and sustainable development at the Yunnan University Development Research Institute. Her component of the course will explore humanity’s ecological footprint with a concern for the impact typical living conditions and consumption patterns in China have on environment and health. She will also discuss lifestyle and consumption choices that can promote healthy living.

Environment, Health and Law
WU Manchang, Faculty of Law, Kunming University of Science and Technology

This project is developing interdisciplinary curriculum that will increase students’ basic knowledge of environmental science and environmental toxicology; develop the skills needed to identify and mitigate environmental health risks; and improve the ability to respond to environmental emergencies. The curriculum targets undergraduates studying environmental sciences, medicine, law, and a range of other applied sciences.

Individual course offerings covering a wide range of subjects will be elective and will generally be built around case studies of actual “pollution events”. Classes will discuss the specifics of different kinds of pollution, provide an introduction to environmental toxicology and discuss public health and environmental health. Students will learn about environmental standards, compliance monitoring technologies, environmental health risk evaluations, the environmental impact assessment system, and technologies used to control pollution.

The second core focus of the curriculum will be on approaches to addressing environmental health risks. Classes will use case studies to discuss how mediation, arbitration, and notarization offer ways for civil society actors to prevent and control environmental health risks. Other classes will discuss administrative measures including monitoring and enforcement by government agencies, or government sponsored mediation or arbitration. Finally, several classes will examine the use of the courts to litigate environmental problems and disputes, and the evolving role of litigation in dealing with environmental health risks in China.

The curriculum is designed especially for students who will go on to careers in environmental health technology, risk management and into environmental law. It will also provide understanding and issue awareness to students who go on to work in unrelated fields. The curriculum and university level teaching materials will be easily adaptable for use as training resources for community organizations and NGOs involved in environmental health issues.

Two scholars from the Kunming University of Science and Technology Law School, a third from the Environmental Sciences Department, and a senior resident physician from the Yunnan First People’s Hospital teamed up to develop the curriculum and teaching materials.

This program is supported by the United Board