School of Social Ecology

From eroding coastlines and flooding to poverty and homelessness to miscarriages of justice and the mental health crisis, the School of Social Ecology is uniquely positioned to solve some of the most pressing social and environmental problems impacting our region, the state and the world. Guided by our ethos “Science Driving Solutions,” we unite faculty and students from various disciplines – including psychology, criminology, law and society, public policy, and urban planning – and they work together within interdisciplinary research hubs.

We are focusing our UCI Brilliant Future campaign efforts on three targeted areas that best leverage our interdisciplinary expertise, address acute challenges, and have the greatest potential for lasting impact.

Doug Colby
Senior Director of Development

Funding Priorities


According to the most recent UCI Community Health Needs Assessment, mental illness is the No. 1 identified healthcare need in Orange County. Social Ecology is ideally suited to tackle this critical issue by taking an interdisciplinary perspective and holistic approach. Through partnerships with campus and community agencies, we are establishing a new Ph.D. program in clinical psychology, enhancing our offsite clinic’s outpatient services with several integrated research labs and launching a schoolwide Wellness Initiative in Social Ecology.


In the face of myriad local and global challenges and conflicts, we are recognizing the importance of kindness, empathy and compassion – skills that foster action for the common good while providing clear benefits to the individual. In partnership with the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation and Living Peace Foundation, Social Ecology is promoting compassion within the university and becoming a global resource for programs and policies around the world. Areas of engagement include Compassion U, Social Impact and the Children’s Compassion Network.


From the erosion of our coastlines to miscarriages of justice to the receding availability of affordable housing, populations are looking to Social Ecology researchers to help find viable remedies to ensure the continuing health of our communities. Our faculty and students are applying new discoveries to a wide range of issues, including developing an innovative bachelor’s degree program for prisoners, creating a new Livable Cities Lab, and facilitating collaborations between researchers and community agencies through Water UCI.

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