Stay Classy: A Look at UCSB’s Unique Spring Classes


Hari Kota
Staff Writer

From the ocean borders to Isla Vista, there are so many unique resources available at University of California, Santa Barbara. This is reflected in the courses that are offered year-round; if there’s one thing this school is good at, it is making the best of these irreplaceable and valuable resources. As we head into spring quarter, here are some of those unique classes that make our university and community so distinctive.

If you’ve taken the Intro Biology series, you might want to take a look at ENV S 111/ GEOG 149: The California Channel Islands. Right off our own coast, and extending down past Ventura County into Los Angeles County, lie the Channel Islands, a protected set of islands that house many flora and fauna unique to the central coast. This course studies the “biological, geological, ecological, anthropological, and oceanographic characteristics of the Channel Islands area as well as the management and human uses of this region.” In years past, the class would take a day trip to the Santa Cruz island.

For students interested in Marine Biology, this quarter, the EEMB department is offering the final class in the EEMB 142 series, Environmental Processes in Oceans and Lakes. This course takes advantage of our dynamic ocean by having tide pooling sessions every Friday. Not every school has tide pools a short walk from the classroom!

UCSB’s Sociology department is offering a course, SOC 194, called The History And Culture of Isla Vista. Taught by two undergraduates, this course highlights the more historical aspects of Isla Vista, as opposed to the party town that many people see it as. Courses such as this are part of a Chilla Vista tradition.

The College of Creative Studies is offering a Biology course, CS BIOL 101: Frontiers in Medical Biology: Replacement Parts, taught by Professor Kathy Foltz. This course offers discussions about pluripotent stem-cells, 3-D printing of “replacement organs,” and many other hot topics in regenerative medicine/biology, from multiple points of view. In order to complement the primary literature and scientific articles being read, the class will read and discuss Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” and discuss the ethics and philosophy behind replacement body parts. Such questions of ethics have made a comeback in recent years.

The Art History Department has a course this quarter, ARTHI 136M, called Revival Styles in Southern Californian Architecture. This class studies primarily Southern Californian architecture, starting from the 18th century to the present day. According to an email sent out by the Art History department, “This class includes a voluntary field trip to Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, in order to visit a 21st-century Italianate Chapel by architect Duncan Stroik, and to CalState Channel Island, near Camarillo, where Lord Norman Foster extended an early 20th-century Mission revival style medical institution with a modern, neo-classical library.”

These classes highlight our beach culture and our academic prowess, combing it all to create a curriculum that is unique to UCSB. These are only a few of the many fantastic courses offered not only this quarter, but all year round.