Advanced course offerings designed to respond to faculty and student interests and needs. Topics include French Impressionism, social movements in late nineteenth-century Japan, international business and the changing European economic structure.
SPRING 2006 - BIS 493B, Special Topics: Issues in Environmental Topics Co-Taught with BPOLST 583 (add code only) The course counts towards the Policy Studies Minor at UWB. This course examines two concepts that are closely intertwined in every society and often perceived as limiting one another, economic development and the natural environment. Economic development is considered to be the key component of any society’s survival, yet it is seen as inseparably linked to natural resource overuse and pollution, which, in turn may lead to dismay in a society. Private property as a right to possess and use something is perceived to be the key to successful economic development. On the other hand, it is often attributed to be the key reason for environmental degradation and a failure to enforce environmental policy. A different perspective on these linkages postulates that clearly defined property rights to natural environment actually allow for economic development without environmental deterioration. This course sets to explore the relationships between these core concepts to devise new instruments that could address the above conflicts. The course focuses on the above relationships in the United States while comparing the approaches used in the U.S. to those used in a number of other countries, including, but not limited to India, China, Zimbabwe, and Central European countries that recently joined the EU.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
I believe that formal education should equip students with conceptual tools as well as train them to apply these tools to practical issues. I use a seminar approach. I expect students to read the assigned readings prior to the class. This provides for more focused and productive discussion in which core problems and solutions can be clarified, addressed, and evaluated. You will be able to reflect on the assigned readings in short weekly memos. Further, you will design a solution for an actual economic development/natural environment problem.
There are no prerequisites for this course. This will be a multidisciplinary course, drawing on basic knowledge of economics, environmental science, political science, and public policy. It is obvious that we cannot master all of these disciplines in order to participate in the debate on international environmental policy and security. It is necessary, however, to be able to identify the basic questions across disciplines and to develop an approach for finding answers to these questions. The goal of this course is to draw on knowledge from multiple disciplines to understand true national and international environmental, economic, social, and political outcomes of the choices a society makes.
Class assignments and grading
I use a variety of assignments to foster critical thinking and problem solving skills in addition to development of area expertise. Students are expected to write me memos in which they review and critique the assigned readings. Students also engage in individual and group research projects on topics that are close to their interests. The course is offered to advanced undergraduate (add code only) students and graduate students. Most of the readings will overlap, however I have assigned some more technical and policy oriented readings to graduate students. Both undergraduate and graduate students will be expected to complete the same assignments. However, graduate students will be expected to devise policy solutions that reflect the reality of the economic, political, and legal environments in the U.S. whereas undergraduate students will be encouraged to experiment with problem solutions without being too concerned about their political and legal feasibility.
The grade is assigned on the basis of all assignments: memos, proposed policy solution, country report, and participation. The relative contribution of each assignment to the final grade varries from quarter to a quarter.