Course Description

Just Coffee: The Biology, Ecology & Socioeconomic Impacts of the World's Favorite Drink, PLS 007V

Enrollment and waitlists for Winter Quarter 2022 will CLOSE - January 14, 2022.

Coffee used as a case study to examine biological, ecological and social factors influencing sustainability of farming systems and how food production systems impact human well-being.

Key Information

Credit: 4 quarter units / 2.67 semester units credit
UC Davis, PLSC

Course Credit:

Upon successful completion, all online courses offered through cross-enrollment provide UC unit credit. Some courses are approved for GE, major preparation and/or, major credit or can be used as a substitute for a course at your campus.

If "unit credit" is listed by your campus, consult your department, academic adviser or Student Affairs division to inquire about the petition process for more than unit credit for the course.

UC Berkeley:
Unit Credit

UC Davis:
General Education: SE, SS, WE;

UC Irvine:
Unit Credit

UC Los Angeles:
Unit Credit

UC Merced:
units toward degree (see your advisor)

UC Riverside:
General Education: Elective units

UC San Diego:
General Education: Seventh - 1 course towards Alternatives - Quantitative Reasoning; Muir: one course in a Natural Science theme in "Computing and Logic", TMC 1 course toward lower division disciplinary breadth if noncontiguous to major

UC San Francisco:
Unit Credit

UC Santa Barbara:
Unit Credit

UC Santa Cruz:
Unit Credit

More About The Course

Course overview 
From its roots in Africa to its position as the world’s favorite drink, the story of coffee is one rich in history and mythology; it is also a great lesson in biology and ecology, of global climate change, politics, development, trade, and societal impacts. 

This course will help students understand the complex set of biological, ecological and social interactions that go into a truly ‘just’ cup of coffee and how our food and agricultural systems interact with human well-being. 

Course-level learning outcomes 
- Students will be able to think critically beyond their current major and apply a systems-thinking approach to the production of a key global agricultural commodity; 
- Students will analyze a given module topic from the vantage points of multiple stakeholders along the coffee value chain, from academic, non-profit, certification-focused, field-based, private sector, and research-driven perspectives; 
- Students will be able to draw connections between content from the current week’s module and the previous weeks’ modules topics; 
- Students will be able to define and explain key terminology and key concepts related to coffee production; 
- Students will gain increased global perspective of the coffee value chain and threats to sustainability issues at origin; 
- Students demonstrate critical thinking and effective communication of the course material through writing assignments; 
- Students will apply knowledge learned in course to evaluate current initiatives to alleviate threats in the coffee sector

Course Creator

Patrick Brown
Patrick Brown is a Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of California Davis. Dr. Brown has worked extensively in the field of horticulture with a focus on the management of nutrients and water in perennial orchard systems and the threats of climate change, drought and salinity to global agriculture. Dr. Brown has also had a long history of engagement in International Agricultural Development and has implemented projects and programs throughout the world.  Patrick Brown is a Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of California Davis. Dr. Brown has worked extensively in the field of horticulture with a focus on the management of nutrients and water in perennial orchard systems and the threats of climate change, drought and salinity to global agriculture. Dr. Brown has also had a long history of engagement in International Agricultural ...

Patrick Brown is a Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of California Davis. Dr. Brown has worked extensively in the field of horticulture with a focus on the management of nutrients and water in perennial orchard systems and the threats of climate change, drought and salinity to global agriculture. Dr. Brown has also had a long history of engagement in International Agricultural Development and has implemented projects and programs throughout the world. 

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