Course approved by University Studies Sub-committee.  A2C2 action pending.

University Studies Course Approval

Department or Program: Geoscience

Course Number: 103

Course Title: Natural Disasters

Catalog Description: An investigative exploration of significant geohazards

impacting the Earth with emphasis on volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and

other hillslope failures, hurricanes and tornadoes, pollution, and floods.

Geologic processes governing each type of disaster are explored.

Prediction, impacts, and mitigation potential for each hazard are examined.

This is an existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2 YES

OR

This is a new course proposal NO (If this is a new course proposal, the

WSU Curriculum Approval Form must also be completed as in the process

prescribed by WSU Regulation 3-4.)

Department Contact Person for this course: Cathy Summa

Email: summa@winona.edu

The proposed course is designed to satisfy the requirements in (select one

area only):

Course Requirements

A. Basic Skills: (October 4, 2000)

______ 1. College Reading and Writing

______ 2. Oral Communication

______ 3. Mathematics

______ 4. Physical Development and Wellness

B. Arts & Sciences Core: (November 1, 2000)

______ 1. Humanities

______ 2. Natural Science

______ 3. Social Science

______ 4. Fine & Performing Arts

C. Unity and Diversity: (January 17, 2001)

______ 1. Critical Analysis

___X___ 2. Science and Social Policy

______ 3. a. Global Perspectives

______ b. Multicultural Perspectives

______ 4. a. Contemporary Citizenship

______ b. Democratic Institutions

Flagged Courses: (February 14, 2001)

______ 1. Writing

______ 2. Oral

______ 3. a. Mathematics/ Statistics

______ b. Critical Analysis

Approval/Disapproval Recommendations

Department Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date ______

Chairperson Signature_______________________ Date ______

Dean's Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved ____* Date:______

Dean's Signature_______________________ Date______

*In the case of a Dean's recommendation to disapprove a proposal a

written rationale for the recommendation to disapprove shall be provided to

USS

USS Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date ______

University Studies Director's Signature_______________________

Date ______

A2C2 Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved_____ Date ______

A2C2 Chairperson Signature_______________________ Date ______

Faculty Senate Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date ______

FA President's Signature_______________________ Date ______

Academic Vice President's Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____

Date ______

VP's Signature_______________________ Date ______

President's Decision: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date ______

President's Signature_______________________ Date ______

The purpose of the Science and Social Policy requirement in the University

Studies program is to promote students understanding of the interrelated

concerns of society and the sciences. These courses should integrate issues

related to one of the sciences with the social and government policy

decisions that stem from these issues. Issues might include the

environment, genetic testing and mapping, applications of technology, etc.

They should be treated from the perspective of the scientific foundations

of the problem and address ethical, social, historical, and/or political

implications of the issue.

Geoscience 103-Natural Disasters-is presently offered as a large

introductory general-education lecture section that satisfies the

requirements of the current Natural Science requirement. In the new

University Studies program, the Department intends to continue to offer the

course in the "megasection" format without prerequisites. However, we

propose the course in the Science and Social Policy category since this

category more accurately and appropriately reflects course content. In

fact, when the course was originally proposed to A2C2, some departments on

campus objected to our proposal to integrate science with societal impact,

and we were required to remove that aspect of the course. The department

believes that this tie is central to helping students learn and appreciate

the need to understand science.

These courses must include requirements and learning activities that

promote students' abilities to...

a. understand the scientific foundation of the topic;

The scientific focus of this course is on helping students gain a more

concrete understanding of the geologic processes underlying a variety of

natural disasters that they hear about regularly in the news media. The

text for the course is a science book devoted to the topic. In this

regard, the scientific material presented in this class is a subset of the

material offered in GEOS 120 (Dynamic Earth, our Introductory Geology

course). Course lecture and group activities are designed to help

students understand the fundamental link between processes they may

perceive as "disasters" as normal and expected (though perhaps not

predictable) within the larger context of the geologic activity of the

Earth. To aid students understanding of these sometimes abstract

processes, the course instructors make liberal use of an extensive

departmental film library to illustrate disasters or details of disasters

that students might otherwise be unfamiliar with.

b. understand the social, ethical, historical, and/or political implications;

The format within each of the major topics covered in this course remains

consistent, and takes the following approach:

A. Types of/damage from each hazard/disaster

B. Details specific to each hazard: i.e., the geologic processes active

C. Prediction/impact/mitigation

Each topic is covered in the same general fashion; we attempt first to help

all students understand what is meant by a particular disaster by

discussing the type of damage that results from each hazard. This begins

with a social perspective in that one might ask whether a disaster is only

a disaster in the context of its impact on humans and society (i.e. if a

large-magnitude earthquake takes place in a sparsely populated region, say

in Antarctica, is it considered a disaster? Or is a large-magnitude quake

considered a disaster only when there is extensive property damage and/or

loss of life?) The second topic for each disaster relates to its

scientific foundation (see B above). Finally, the hazard is explored in

the context of it's predictability, impact on society, and means of

mitigation. In this regard, the course most clearly addresses the social,

ethical, and/or political implications (the specific combination covered

varies with the particular disaster). One good example comes from the

coverage of earthquakes. The course explores specific examples as a means

of understanding process. One of the quakes we focus on is the Northridge

(CA) earthquake of 1994. As it happens, scientists placed the epicenter of

this quake in Northridge shortly after the quake and the name stuck. More

careful analysis of seismic data in the days following the quake revealed

that the epicenter was really located in the town of Reseda. While this

may seem at first trivial, it illustrates to students that scientists are

not always correct (an important concept to understand if we are to advance

scientific literacy), it leads to a discussion of our ability to predict

and locate potential disaster sites, and, perhaps most importantly, it

illustrates to students the economic significance of epicenter location

(see below).

c. understand and articulate the need to integrate issues of science with

social policy;

Unless the population is scientifically literate, any social policy

established with regard to science would necessarily be shortsighted and

ill informed (likewise, socially uninformed scientists could not make

appropriate policy). In order to make reasonable, informed, and

appropriate policy, it is absolutely necessary to consider all the inputs

to each issue. One example considered in this class relates to the

Northridge-Reseda earthquake described above. The federal government

provides emergency funds to quake victims based on a number of factors,

including proximity to the disaster site (taken as a proxy for intensity of

damage). Northridge is a relatively affluent community in southern

California, while Reseda is considered a low-income community. Locating

the epicenter in Northridge meant that Northridge residents received

millions of dollars in federal support, allowing residents and businesses

to rebuild and even improve their community. In reality, Reseda sustained

more severe damage than Northridge. However, federal funds were both slow

in coming and the total dollars allocated were disproportionally low. The

result is that the economic gap between Northridge residents and Reseda

residents grew wider in the aftermath of the quake. Had the epicenter been

originally (and correctly) located in Reseda, that gap may actually have

become more narrow. By the use of this example and other similar examples

related to other disasters, students come to understand the need to

integrate science with social policy issues.

d. evaluate the various policy options relevant to the social dilemmas

posed by the science;

In the context of this course, the scientific facts are that the events

that are perceived by society as "natural disasters" will indeed occur, are

not preventable, and are largely unpredictable, both in terms of timing

and, to some extent, location or impact site. For society to exist, humans

must find a way to cope with these "disasters." This is where the policy

and policy options come into conflict with both the science and social

needs. Activities in this course are designed to allow students to explore

the various options available, and in some cases to propose options of

their own design. Some students respond by becoming activists and writing

or lobbying legislators. Other students (as will always be the case in a

"megasection" course) take the easier path and simply respond to questions

posed in discussion or written format.

Continuing to use the Northridge-Reseda example, students explore the

implications of the media need for a rapid epicenter location versus the

scientific need to take adequate time to analyze complex data. They also

explore the way the Federal Emergency Management Agency responds at times

of crisis, the way the President declares "disaster areas", and the issue

of class differentiation.

e. articulate, choose among, and defend various policy and/or scientific

options to cope with the challenges created.

This outcome is very closely related to outcome d (above). In the

activities for this course, the process of evaluating a variety of policy

options leads naturally to students choosing which they prefer and

defending their positions. Course activities directed to this outcome

include staging debates among small groups, where student groups research

their position, and then defend that position against another group taking

an alternative view, or short written assignments, where students must

choose a position and defend that position in writing, either as a separate

assignment or as part of an exam.

Sample Syllabus

GEOS 103-Natural Disasters

Purpose of Class

The purpose of this class is to provide the student with an investigative

exploration of significant geohazards impacting the Earth with emphasis on

volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and other hillslope failures, hurricanes

and tornadoes, pollution, and floods. Geologic processes governing each

type of disaster are explored. Prediction, impacts, and mitigation

potential for each hazard are examined.

The focus of this course is a geologically oriented survey of natural

disasters and the geologic impact of disasters on human activity and

society. The course will look at the geologic processes that lead to these

varied disasters and discuss means of prediction and/or prevention and

issues related to social policy and political ramifications of dealing with

disasters. One of the main objectives will be to present geologic

processes in an integrated global perspective, outside of the classic

U.S.-centered perspective. A secondary objective is to help students

understand the significance of being scientifically aware and the impact of

science in their daily lives. This will be accomplished by a combination

of lecture, small-group activities, investigative exercises, and direct

observation through the use of multimedia and the world-wide-web.

Logistics and Policies

This course is designed to stimulate and challenge your thinking. This is

a 3 credit, non-lab, University Studies class, that will, upon successful

completion of course requirements, satisfy your University Studies

obligation in the area of Science and Social Policy. There are no

prerequisites for this course. If you can balance your checkbook, you can

do all the math that will be required. I will expect you to understand and

apply fundamental concepts rather than to simply memorize information, and

to reflect that understanding on exams. You should strive to achieve as

complete and sound a scientific interpretation as possible, by trying to

integrate information across discrete chapters of the text.

Because scientific understanding does not usually progress in a vacuum-it

is through discussions and arguments with colleagues that most advances

stem-I encourage you to work in groups and to discuss your ideas and to

work through confusing concepts with your classmates. One of the best ways

to study and understand and learn is to form a small study group-quiz one

another. Make up questions that you think I'd ask on the exam, and be

certain you can answer them. If you can accurately explain a concept to

your peers, then you can feel comfortable that you understand it. If

you're confused in doing this, you're likely to be confused about the

material.

Class attendance is essential for success. You are responsible for knowing

what is covered and assigned in class regardless of whether or not you are

present. I will not regurgitate a lecture during office hours simply

because you chose not to attend class. Videos shown in class will not be

made available outside of class. Attendance and participation may be

considered in determining your final grade.

University Studies Compliance

Successful completion of this course will fulfill the Science and Social

Policy category of the University Studies Program (3 s.h.). Courses in the

Science and Social Policy category of the University Studies Program must

include requirements and learning activities that promote students'

abilities to:

a. understand the scientific foundation of the topic;

b. understand the social, ethical, historical, and/or political implications;

c. understand and articulate the need to integrate issues of science with

social policy;

d. evaluate the various policy options relevant to the social dilemmas

posed by the science; and

e. articulate, choose among, and defend various policy and/or scientific

options to cope with the challenges created.

These outcomes will be coded by appropriate letter (a-e) throughout the

rest of this syllabus.

The purpose of the Science and Social Policy requirement in University

Studies is to promote students understanding of the interrelated concerns

of society and the sciences. These courses should integrate issues related

to one of the sciences with the social and government policy decisions that

stem from these issues. Issues might include the environment, genetic

testing and mapping, applications of technology, etc. They should be

treated from the perspective of the scientific foundations of the problem

and address ethical, social, historical, and/or political implications of

the issue. This course integrates issues in the geologic sciences with the

related social and policy issues focusing on disaster management, response,

and mitigation. We begin by addressing the fundamental questions of

whether "natural" disasters are really "natural" and whether natural

"disasters" are really "disasters" (outcomes a, b, and c). Once the

scientific framework is established (outcome a), we can more adequately

address the appropriateness of policy issues related to natural disasters

(outcomes b, c, d, and e).

Grading

(NB: this portion of the syllabus is subject to change with varying

instructors). There will be a total of four (4) one-hour exams during the

semester. You are expected to work individually on the exams. Cheating of

any kind will result in a score of zero for that exam (which cannot be

dropped in the computation of your final grade), and you will be reported

to school authorities. Exams will be in part comprehensive, but will

concentrate largely on the material covered immediately prior to the exam.

The fourth exam will be given during final exam time. If you take all 4 of

the hour exams, I will drop your lowest score on these exams when

calculating final grades, and your final grade will be the average of your

three highest exam scores. If you miss one (or more) of the exams, I will

average in a score of zero for that exam when calculating your grade.

Make-up exams will not be given without notification from the Student

Affairs Office or a doctor's note, except in cases of extenuating

circumstances and at my discretion. If you miss a test for a reason that

is not approved, there will be a 10% penalty every day that the test is not

taken. This policy is enforced to make things fair in a class this size.

The instructor reserves the right to give a different exam as a make up.

If you find that you unexpectedly cannot make it to an exam, contact me as

soon as possible, preferably before the exam is given (you may leave a

voice-mail message at 457-5269). If we can arrange for you to take the

exam at a later time, you will be assessed a 10% penalty for each day after

the scheduled exam date. For instance, if an exam is scheduled for Monday,

and you take the exam on Wednesday, the highest possible score you may earn

is 80%.

Final grades will be assigned on a numerical basis as follows:

A = 100%-90%; B = 89%-80%; C = 79-70%; D = 69%-60%; E = 59% and below

If you choose not to take an exam, I reserve the option to give you a grade

of I (incomplete) for the course, rather than averaging in a zero for that

item.

GEOL 103 - Natural Disasters

Spring Semester XXXX Dr. Geoscience Staff Office: Past

Room: Past 120 TH 9:30-10:50 AM Office Hours: see office door

The format of the course will follow a similar outline for each disaster we

consider during the semester. Rather than repeat a similar structure

numerous times in the course outline below, I will describe it first and

then list the general topics we'll cover in the course. Essentially,

you'll achieve the University Studies outcomes (a-e) for each topic we

cover. We will first explore the scientific foundation of each topic

(outcome a), via a combination of lecture, video, and investigative

exercises. Once everyone has the opportunity to understand the science

behind each disaster, we will explore the social, ethical, and/or political

implications of the issue (outcome b; the specific coverage will

necessarily vary with each topic). Small-group activities and exams will

require that you demonstrate your ability to articulate the need to

integrate consideration of social issues with their scientific

underpinnings and to evaluate, articulate, and defend the various policy

options relevant to each disaster (outcomes c, d, and e).

The format within each of the major topics covered in this course remains

consistent, and takes the following approach:

A. Types of/damage from each hazard/disaster

B. Details specific to each hazard: i.e., the geologic processes active

C. Prediction/impact/mitigation

Week Topic (Tentative listing only) Reading

1 Introduction & Logistics - What constitutes a disaster? Ch. 1

Are Natural Disasters Natural?

Disaster relief and the Federal Government (FEMA and your

tax dollars)

2 The Earth's surface Ch. 3

Geography in a nutshell

3 Water, water everywhere / Floods! Ch. 7

The Mississippi vs. The Amazon TBA

4 Slip-sliding away / Landslides! Ch. 9

5 Water under ground Ch. 8

Where do we get our drinking water? Ch. 8

EXAM #1

6 Subsidence problems Ch. 10

Caves and Karst (focus on SE MN)

7 Weather Hazards Ch. 16

Tornadoes Ch. 16

8 Hurricanes Ch. 16

Nor'easters

9 Coastal Zone Hazards Ch. 15

Hurricane Mitch vs. Hurricane Andrew TBA

10 Other Atmospheric Concerns (i.e. pollution, acid rain) Ch. 11

EXAM #2

11 Earth's Interior Ch. 2

What's it look like beneath the surface? Ch. 2

12 Volcanoes & Volcanic hazards Ch. 4

Why are volcanoes where they are? Ch. 4

Columbia and Kenya vs. Japan and the Pacific Northwest TBA

13 EXAM #3

Earthquake! Ch. 5

Hazards associated with earthquakes Ch. 5

14 Northridge vs. Reseda TBA

15 Is there anywhere free of Hazards? TBA

FINAL EXAM 8:00 am (TUESDAY)

Required Text: Coch, Nicholas, K., 1995, Geohazards: Natural and Human,

Prentice Hall, 481 p.

Other Required Materials: Brain; pencils on exam days; World Map and North

America Map (available in bookstore).

Syllabus subject to change as semester evolves, but exam dates will remain

as scheduled.