History and Mission

Mission

To produce a bright and prosperous future, today’s complex social problems demand interdisciplinary and transformative research to alleviate social inequality and human suffering. Our three departments in the School of Social Ecology at UC Irvine meet this challenge by producing scholarship that advances basic science, preparing students to engage with others to enrich our communities and enhance lives through public service.

Vision

To be recognized as one of the best interdisciplinary academic schools in the nation, as a magnet for the brightest scholars and students, and as a resource of choice in teaching, research and community service.

History

In 1970, the University of California, Irvine established the nation’s first school of social ecology in response to high demand for more socially relevant research. The School of Social Ecology’s faculty and students investigate social problems from multi-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary perspectives. Rather than tackling complex social issues from the limiting viewpoint of a single discipline, our research adopts a more multi-faceted approach. Social, legal, behavioral, and environmental sciences all overlap in Social Ecology’s proposed solutions to real-life problems. Students and faculty analyze a host of community, regional, national and international problems, ranging from improving urban design and preventing violence and crime to understanding the reasons behind atypical child development, seeking solutions to California’s water shortage and improving workplace health and safety. Learn more about our history and conceptual social ecology.

The School hosts three departments and seven research centers, including five campus-wide centers. Collectively, these centers examine the forces that profoundly affect social, political and environmental ills, serving as a resource to the needs of the surrounding communities and society as a whole. The School also trains a large number of future experts in public health and safety, community development, social psychology, urban planning, and criminology, providing California with a well-trained cadre of expert practitioners who will help to make its institutions more effective.

Each of our three departments has its own research and teaching missions and serves the community in different ways.