Honors 101 - Science and the Public Good
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Honors 101 Course Policies

Fall 2008

Judi Kusnick
Placer Hall 1019
Office Hours: TTh noon-1pm or by appt.
Office phone: 278-4692
Home phone: 530 -756-8404 before 10 pm - urgent calls only or by prior arrangement

Catalog Description: HONR 101. Science and the Public Good. This course examines the science and public policy decisions surrounding natural disasters and natural resources. Topics to be considered include floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and energy resources..

Specific Learning Objectives: Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
• Evaluate natural hazards in different settings in California, the United States and the world.
• Analyze the impact of global climate change on natural hazards and resources
• Critically evaluate social responses to natural hazards with reference to social vulnerability among different demographic groups
• Evaluate the economic, environmental, health and strategic costs of various sources of energy, including petroleum, coal, solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal and other sources.
• Evaluate the risks and benefits of hazard prediction
• Analyze the issues surrounding disaster insurance and critically evaluate different approaches to managing risks from natural disasters

Format: The class will combine lecture and small group work, including in-class debates and simulations. Because much of the material will be learned through discussion and group problem-solving, faithful attendance is essential.

Required texts:

Required work: Your grade will be based on homework assignments, two exams, a paper and presentation.

Exams: There will be two exams. The exams will consist of several short answers (paragraph-length answers), and one or two longer essays. You will receive a list of potential exam questions two weeks before each exam. Each exam will test only material covered since the previous exam. There will be no comprehensive final.

Homework assignments: There are three kinds of homework assignments. No work for the class will be accepted more than one week late, except under extraordinary circumstances.

All homework assignments can be turned in electronically - email the assignment with this subject line: "Honors Topic Your Name". So an assignment on flooding would look like this: Honors Flooding Kusnick. Assignments should be emailed by class time to be considered on time.

Topic Guides due regularly: Most topics have a Topic Guide with terms to define and questions to answer. You will find links to the Topic Guides on the Course Schedule. You must write out definitions for the terms and answers to the questions and bring them to class on Tuesday. At the beginning of class I will check that you have done them. Topic Guides are required but ungraded - by getting it checked off you earn all the available credit for each one. I will accept only three late Topic Guides, and only one week late.

Assignments due many weeks: In most weeks you will be assigned homework: either response papers, or pieces of a "Risk and Resource" journal.. I will accept only three late Assignments, and only one week late. You may rewrite up to three assignments for a higher grade. Late assignments count as rewrites.

Response Papers: On the on-line Course Schedule, you will find links to response paper assignments. Each assignment includes a set of on-line readings and a question. Write a one-page response to the question (typed, of course). Late response papers will not be accepted, and there will be no makeups for these assignments. If you must miss class you can e-mail me your paper by class time on the day it is due. The response papers will be graded on a 10 point scale. These papers will be graded on content only, but I may make a brief comment on the writing.

Risk and Resource journal: On the on-line Course Schedule (and on the Assignments page) you will also find links for assignments in which you will assess the risk you personally face from geologic hazards, and the amount of geological resources that you use. At the end of the semester, you will compile all these entries and write a short reflective essay.

Paper and Presentation: You will be part of a research group assigned a problem to research. Each member of the group will be responsible for researching a specific aspect of the problem, writing a 6-8 page pare on their research, and teaching a 15-20 minute session to the class. The group as a whole will also be responsible for analyzing public policy on the group's assigned problem, and writing a group analysis that includes specific recommendations for future public policy. You will be given some class time to work on your problem, but you should also plan on working as a group outside of class time. The final products of this assignment include:

Grade breakdown:

Assignments (including Topic Guides, Response Papers and Problem sets)
below 60

Makeup Exams: No makeups for missed exams. You may be excused from an exam if:

1. You have a Real Good Reason (illness, accident, serious family emergency, jail). I may need verification depending on the reason (i.e., kidnapped by aliens).

2. You inform me on or before the day of the exam that you have an emergency. You can always leave a message for me on my office phone, or call me at home in the evening. No call, no excused absence.