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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alison Cullen
PB AF 597
Seattle Campus

Role of Scientific Information in Environmental Decisions

Examines how science contributes to decisions that involve the natural environment; how science and scientists help frame debates and decisions; how scientific findings are incorporated into decision-making processes; how scientists and non-scientists deal with uncertainty about scientific questions.

Class description

This course examines how science contributes to decisions that involve the natural environment: how science and scientists help frame debates and decisions; how scientific findings are incorporated into decision-making processes; how scientists and nonscientists deal with uncertainty about scientific questions.

Student learning goals

Use decision analytic and precautionary frameworks to analyze complex environmental decisions - develop an appreciation of both the "role" and the "limits" of analysis under uncertainty

Build and solve decision tree structures

Identify and address issues of variability and uncertainty in information

Develop probabilistic descriptions of uncertainty and variability in information based on empirical measurement, models and expert judgement

Identify and address issues of temporal scale and spatial scale in decisions

Identify and characterize tradeoffs in decisions

Assess the relevant and driving characteristics of risk in decisions

General method of instruction

The class will include lectures, class discussion, interactive exercises and guest speakers.

Recommended preparation

The prerequisite is a graduate level course in probability and statistics.

Class assignments and grading

Grading is based on an exam, a project, and five homework assignments.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Alison Cullen
Date: 11/06/2013