UC Davis


Global Poverty: Critical Thinking and Taking Action (Science and Society 121)

Winter Quarter: This course focuses on world poverty, its causes and effects as well as explores the ongoing global debate about how best to alleviate it. The first part of the course will focus on the global disparity in economic growth, development goals and foreign aid (Is aid a help or hindrance?). In the second part of the course we will explore strategies targeted at raising the standard of living of those most directly impacted. What technological, (micro) finance and social entrepreneurship opportunities exist? We will compare and contrast the top-down vs “grass roots” approaches. Students will learn from case studies currently being implemented.

Students should leave this course with a better sense of the problems posed by global poverty, be able to participate more effectively in the ongoing debates about poverty alleviation as well as understand how they might personally engage in efforts to reduce poverty. Selected students will be encouraged to be involved with actual international fieldwork abroad.

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Global Practice: Preparing to Work Abroad (Science and Society 190)

Spring Quarter: This one unit seminar is for undergraduate students who are preparing to work abroad during the summer. The seminar meets once per week in a discussion format and will provide students with a theoretical framework, practical application, provocative readings and activities as well as lessons learned from practitioners with knowledge about working abroad in a developing country context.

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Innovators in International Development Practice Seminar Speaker Series (International Agricultural Development 190 & 290)

Spring Quarter: This one unit, weekly seminar brings entrepreneurs in international development to campus to share their experiences, innovations, best and worst practices, and knowledge gained working in the field. Join key actors who are making a difference in practical application of poverty alleviation and development practice around the world. Topics include:

  • International (not domestic) development, poverty alleviation and inequity
  • Innovation and creative solutions that are practical and project-based
  • Exploration of lessons learned through discussions of best and worst practices
  • Careers in international development

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UC Davis D-Lab

D-Lab I - Energy and Development: An Overview

Winter Quarter: This graduate level course reviews the history of energy in the context of developing countries, looking at the rise of appropriate technologies as well as the role of government agencies, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

The course includes hands-on labs (see description below) and students work closely with local partner organizations abroad on specific renewable energy or efficiency projects.

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D-Lab II - Energy and Development: Design and Dissemination

Spring Quarter: This hands-on graduate level course is focused on finding solutions to overcoming barriers in the design and dissemination of energy technologies in the developing world. Multi-disciplinary student teams work collaboratively with local partner organizations abroad to examine and develop possible solutions to the issue(s) they have identified as critical. Solutions include both technological designs as well as delivery strategies and/or development of a business model.

The curriculum includes lab modules, business development skills, case studies, independent research and guest speakers.

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D-Lab - The Labs

The UC Davis Program for International Energy Technologies/D-Lab offers lab modules as an integrated feature of the curriculum. These lab modules include hands-on, practical experience in a laboratory setting, learning about small-scale, renewable energy. Lab modules include creating charcoal from agricultural waste, constructing a battery from inexpensive locally available components, understanding both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of lighting including exploring benefits and limitations of solar PV.

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