St. Cloud State University

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St. Cloud State University
General Education Goal Area 3
Natural & Physical Sciences
Academic Affairs Use Only:
Response Date:
Effective Date:
1.
Proposal Number:
Prepared by: Tony Hansen
Phone: 308-2009
Email: [email protected]
2.
Requesting Unit: EAS
3.
Department, Course Number, Title: EAS 106: Natural Hazards and Human Society (new title)
4.
New Course
5.
Will this course be flagged as a diversity course?
Already Designated as Diversity
Existing Course
No
Diversity Proposal Accompanying This Form
6.
Will this course also satisfy another General Education Goal Area?
No
Yes
If “Yes” specify which goal area.
Goal 10
7.
Course bulletin description, including credits and semesters to be offered:
The interaction of human societies with natural hazards spanning atmospheric, hydrologic and geologic
processes is discussed based upon in-depth case studies. The effect of the hazards on human society and the
effect of human action on exacerbating the hazards are emphasized.. 3 Cr. F, S (new description)
Current Description: Concepts from near-space astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, and geology. 3 Cr. F, S,
SUM.
8.
Indicate the clientele for whom this course is designed. Is the course for general education only, or
does it fulfill general education and other program needs for this or another department? Obtain
signatures from any affected departments.
This course is a general education course only.
9.
Indicate any changes that must be made in offerings or resources in your department or other
departments by offering this course.
None.
10.
For new courses or courses not yet approved for General Education, indicate any other SCSU departments
or units offering instruction that relates to the content of the proposed course.
NA
12/11/2009
11.
Courses designated as General Education are included in the assessment plan for the Goal Area(s)
for which they are approved. Courses for which assessment is not included in the annual GE
assessment report for two years will be removed from the General Education Program.
The Requesting Unit understands and recognizes the above conditions.
13.
Provide a concise explanation of how the following goal is a “significant focus” of the proposed course.
Goal Area 3: Natural & Physical Sciences
Explore scientific knowledge of the natural world. Understand the central concepts and principles of
science; experience the process of scientific inquiry; comprehend science as a human endeavor and
understand the impact of science on individuals and on society.
The focus of this course will be on case studies of issues involving the interaction of natural hazards with
human societies and the effect of those societies on exacerbating natural hazards. The scientific
background to understand the natural systems involved will be studied first for context in order to
examine specific examples of natural hazards. Problems will be selected from the spectrum of
atmospheric, hydrologic, geologic, and oceanographic systems. Specific case studies chosen will be
determined by the faculty assigned to the course in a given term, but an interdisciplinary team of qualified
instructors will be used. Case studies to be considered include: Effect of human engineering of river
systems on coastal flooding in river deltas and subsequent vulnerability of human populations to tropical
cyclones (e.g., New Orleans, LA); effect of human development near and along earthquake fault lines and
resultant societal hazards (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.); and the effect of human societies on changing the
atmopheric composition or land surface conditions and the resultant effects on global and regional
climate. Alternative proposals to mitigate each problem will be critically examined.
14. In order for a course to be designated as fulfilling Goal Area 3, it must address at least 5 of the 6 student learning
outcomes (SLOs) below. Check the SLOs below that are focused on in the proposed general education course.
1. Demonstrate knowledge of concepts, principles, and theories in the physical or natural sciences.
2. Make observations and collect data, design and carry out experiments or other types of scientific investigations.
3. Formulate research questions and testable hypotheses, analyze and interpret data, draw inferences and
conclusions, and identify further questions for investigation.
4. Demonstrate awareness of the interdependent relationships of basic science, applied science, mathematics, and
technology.
5. Recognize the human nature of the scientific enterprise, including the importance of curiosity, creativity, and
imagination; the dual nature of scientific knowledge as changeable and durable; and the impact of a scientist's
personal identity on the scientific process.
6. Evaluate societal issues from a science perspective, question the evidence presented, and make informed
judgments about these issues.
15.
Discuss how each Student Learning Outcome checked above is achieved in this course. (Note: Although
descriptions of typical assignments or types of assignments may be part of this discussion, it is not
appropriate to submit copies of actual assignments.)
The list below is fairly generic with examples that might be used for the example case study given with the
Course Outline.
12/11/2009
1.
Demonstrate knowledge of concepts, principles, and theories in the physical or natural sciences.
Students will apply basic principles of physics to understand the fundamental dynamics of the relevant natural
systems (atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic or oceanographic). For example, they will apply very basic fluid
mechanics principles to understand the dynamics of sediment transport in rivers and the dynamics of river delta
formation and maintenance. Concurrrently, they must apply basic physical principles to the dynamics of tropical
cyclones including their development and propagation through the Gulf of Mexico.
3.
Formulate research questions and testable hypotheses, analyze and interpret data, draw inferences and
conclusions, and identify further questions for investigation.
Students will use observational data to formulate hypothesized relationships of the behavior of individual natural
systems and the interaction between natural systems. For example, students will examine data on river flow rates
and sediment transport, data on tropical storm intensity versus sea surface temperature, and data on tropical storm
intensity versus storm surges that lead to coastal and inland flooding.
4.
Demonstrate awareness of the interdependent relationships of basic science, applied science,
mathematics, and technology.
Students will demonstrate understanding of the interaction of natural systems with human technological actions
(which in turn depend upon applied science and mathematics) and how this interaction may effect the natural
system. For example, students must explain how reduced sediment transport and constraint of the Mississippi
river channel near New Orleans by various engineering projects change the dynamics of the river delta.
5.
Recognize the human nature of the scientific enterprise, including the importance of curiosity, creativity,
and imagination; the dual nature of scientific knowledge as changeable and durable; and the impact of a scientist's
personal identity on the scientific process.
Students will identify ingenious actions by individuals designed to solve a societal problem and assess the
subsequent additional problems created by the application of human ingenuity. They will then consider the role
of scientists and engineers in proposing solutions to these new problems.
6. Evaluate societal issues from a science perspective, question the evidence presented, and make informed
judgments about these issues.
Students will discuss various proposals to address the hazards being studied and will assess and recommend a
preferred course of action based upon their understanding of the physical and societal interactions. For example,
students will analyze proposals to address the problem of sea level rise near New Orleans that leads to increased
risk from tropical storms and identify an effective solution that is most likely to lead to a sustainable mitigation of
the risk without creating new problems.
16.
Courses satisfying Goal Area 3: Natural & Physical Sciences must have either a “traditional lab course or a lab-like
experience”. Check which of these apply and supply a brief explanation of how the course is either a laboratory
course or incorporates a “lab-like experience”.
12/11/2009
Course includes:
Laboratory
Lab-like experience
The following quote from a National Research Council subcommittee report may help to identify a course with a
laboratory. ”Laboratory experiences provide opportunities for students to interact directly with the material world
(or with data drawn from the material world), using the tools, data collection techniques, models, and theories of
science.” America's Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science (Free Executive Summary)
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11311.html
This course uses observed data from the natural world. Students directly access the data from sources that
would be used by earth scientists themselves. In particular, there are abundant monitoring stations for
acquistion of real-time data concerning ocean currents and composition, river flow, atmospheric
composition and conditions, and groundwater levels and water quality. Students will be making direct
use of these resources for analysis.
17.
List or attach the Course Outline (adequately described and including percentage of time to be allocated
to each topic). Curriculum Committees may request additional information. Topics larger than 20% need
to be broken down further. Indicate in your course outline where the Student Learning Outcomes
checked above are being met.
Typically, three case studies will be considered each term. The course will be team taught and the choice of cases
will be made by the assigned instructors. Below is a template for the outline followed by a specific example of a
case study.
Introduction and Course Orientation (4%)
Case 1: (32%)
A.
Scientific background on natural system (12%):
B.
Natural risk factors to society (6%)
C.
Unintended human role in modifying the risk (6%)
D.
Options for societal response (8%)
Case 2: (32%)
A.
Scientific background on natural system (12%):
B.
Natural risk factors to society (6%)
C.
Unintended human role in modifying the risk (6%)
D.
Options for societal response (8%)
Case 3: (32%)
A.
Scientific background on natural system (12%):
B.
Natural risk factors to society (6%)
C.
Unintended human role in modifying the risk (6%)
D.
Options for societal response (8%)
1,3,5
3
4,5
6
1,3,5
3
4,5
6
1,3,5
3
4,5
6
Case study example:
Sea level rise and hurricane risk in New Orleans, LA
A.
Scientific background (12%):
1,3,5
1.
Basic hydrology and geology of drainage basins and the evolution of river systems and river
deltas
2.
Basic meteorology of tropical cyclones
B.
Natural risk factors to society (6%)
3
1.
Tropical cyclone risks in general
12/11/2009
C.
D.
2.
Particular risks in New Orleans
Unintended human role in modifying the risk (6%)
4,5
1.
Civil engineering of river systems
2.
Consequences of engineering on sediment transport and constraining river channels
3.
Resultant worsening of tropical storm hazards
Options for societal response (8%)
6
1.
A ring dike for New Orleans
2.
Experiments with restoring a semblance of natural delta dynamics
3.
Restoring upstream sediment transport
Possible case studies:
Anthropogenic modification of the atmosphere’s composition: Climate change and global warming
Earthquakes, tsunamis and risks for human society (e.g., Banda Aceh earthquake and tsunami of 2004: Haiti
earthquake of 2009)
Volcanoes: (e.g., Pinatubo 1991; Vesuvius: past and future)
Land surface degradation and regional climate modification (e.g., Amazon River Basin)
Water resources and competing human demands (e.g., Colorado River, Platte River)
12/11/2009
St. Cloud State University
General Education Transmittal Form
Academic Affairs Use Only:
Response Date:
Effective Date:
Proposal Number
Department: Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Course or Course(s): EAS 105: The Water Environment
Department or Unit Chair Signature
Date
Department forward to Academic Affairs for publication and electronically to Chair of General Education Committee, Chair
of College Curriculum Committee, College Dean
Recommendation of General Education Committee:
Approve
Remarks:
Disapprove
Chairperson
Committee
Signature
Date
Recommendation of University Curriculum Committee:
Approve
Remarks:
Disapprove
Chairperson
Committee
Signature
Date
Recommendation of Faculty Association:
Approve
Remarks:
Disapprove
FA Senate
Signature
Date
Action of Academic Vice President:
Approve
Disapprove
Signature
Entered in Curriculum Data File
12/11/2009
Remarks:
Date
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