Syllabus for linked courses - Human Geography and Environmental Geology.

Course intent: The challenge in many human efforts is to integrate knowledge in order to arrive at solutions and policies that work. This is especially true of environmental projects. We need to know how both the earth and the people who live on it work, and how they interact. For example, managing water as a resource requires both that we know how much is where for how long, but to struggle with the questions such as how much is needed for various purposes, what is the degree of need, and who owns it if anybody? This is the basic motivation for linking these courses ­ one in the social sciences, one in the natural science, because we need the linkage in the real world. Our goal is to introduce you into the worlds of environmental geology and human geography, teach you basic principles, analytic skills and content, and to do it in a broader context. After introducing some basics, we will use questions as a guide, trying to weave together whatever is necessary from the 'human' and 'physical' realms to answer those questions. This question based approach is evident in the syllabus below, and reflects our belief that the right question can provide the basis for a very productive learning experience. This course will be different, perhaps a bit raw in places since this is the first offering, but dynamic.


Grading: This is truly a joint course, and one grade will be given for the entire endeavor. The grade is based on the below point system.

Exams: 3 exams, worth a total of 130 points.
Journal (100 points): The intent is to develop your writing and analytic skills in the context of the course. You should get a small three ring binder to put your entries and support material in. Journal entries will include in-class writing exercises that are turned in and returned with feedback, and homework exercises. You can expect to do one or two journal entries per week (2-3 points each), and they will be collected weekly on Fridays. If you would like feedback on your entries or journal organization please meet with us and we will be happy to provide it. Grading criteria for the journal will include: completeness, presentation (spelling, grammar, etc.), multiple sources used and referenced when appropriate, and most importantly, content. For each assignment we will indicate whether sources are required and how many, and about how long the journal entry might be.
Participation in in-class exercises (30 points total): exercise will be announced a head of time, and will be group efforts.
Portfolio exercise (40 points): This will be a group effort. Your group will choose a country to characterize in terms of its environmental assets, environmental concerns, environmental law, environmental attitudes, and case histories. More details coming soon. Portfolio groups. Suggestions for portfolio organization. Morocco portfolio example presentation material.
Grading distribution: 300<A+>265<A>255<A->245<B+>235<B>225<B->215<C+>205<C>195<C->185<D+>175<D>165<D->155

Texts: We've tried to keep the cost down. Remember that this is for two courses.

Contact information: We encourage you to come in and talk to us about course material.


Course Content

Links to fuller descriptions of content are being developed.

Week 1 & 2: Basics of human geography and environmental geology. During these two weeks we must establish some basics from our respective disciplines, so the contents will be not be as closely tied.

Week 3: What is the significance of population dynamics to environmental and human endeavors?

End of week 3, Friday, 30th - Exam 1 - 30 points.

Week 4 : What should an energy policy for the U.S. look like?

Week 5: What role should nuclear power play in an energy policy?

Week 6: How should we deal with our waste products?

Week 7 & 8: How should water be managed as a resource?

Week 9: When should a river be dammed?

End of week 9, Friday, March 12th - Exam 2 - 60 points.

Week 10: What is the worth of land?

Week 11: What are the impacts of urbanization?

Week 12: What type of natural disasters should we prepare for and how?

Week 13: Is global climate change occurring and what might be some of the consequences?

End of week 13 - Exam 3 - 30 points.

Week 14: Faculty portfolios of places chosen by the students.

Week 15: Student group presentations of their portfolios of chosen places.


Some thoughts we would like to share on our teaching philosophy: