The Great Works Symposium presents the first in its 2009-2010 series on "ENERGY":
ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY
UNIV 241, 3 credits
FALL TERM, 2009
In politics and in business we hear a great deal about energy and sustainability these days. How is "sustainability" defined, by whom, and why? How is “energy” defined and how does energy affect sustainability? How does energy relate to the production and consumption of goods and services, and how does energy use itself affect sustainability? How have advances in science and technology contributed to an unprecedented growth in energy usage per capita with respect to urbanization, agricultural production, material usage and building energy consumption? What is “sustainable development"? How do we weigh human needs with environmental costs? What is environmental justice, in the context of energy? This course, co-taught by Eugenia Ellis, Christian Hunold, and Susan Stein will take up these questions--guest speakers will be featured, and small group meetings will facilitate critical thinking and research on the topic.
The Great Works Symposium is an interdisciplinary course—focused on exploring subjects of the broadest possible interest and greatest societal impact—designed to bring Drexel University students, professors, and visiting expert lecturers into collaboration. The Great Works Symposium strives to avoid the “textbook approach,” with an emphasis on developing in students the active skills of interdisciplinary inquiry: reading, writing, critical thinking, creativity in research, and argument. Through an intense examination of one topic, students are encouraged to see the University as an interconnected enterprise, and to imagine the University as one part of a larger spectrum of scholars in the communities of the city, the nation, and the world.
Class Meeting Days and Times
Lectures: Thursdays, 6:00-7:20 p.m., Matheson 109
Sections: Thursdays, 7:30-8:50 p.m., locations TBA
Instructors, Contacts, Office Hours
320 Nesbitt Hall
Tues. 1:00-3:00 p.m., Weds., 1:00-3:00 p.m., Thurs., 1:00-3:00 p.m.
3025 MacAlister Hall
Hours by appointment
322 PSA Building (33rd & Powelton)
Mon. 1:30-3:30 p.m., Weds., 1:30-3:30 p.m., and by appointment
James E. McWilliams, Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (2009)
Students will read books, articles, and other selected sources related to course topics. Most assigned readings will be available on the Great Works Symposium website, or will be available on the web. A reading schedule is assigned on the course calendar, and students must keep up with all assignments. The instructors may add supplemental readings as the course progresses. Please keep up with the weekly reading assignment schedule, and make sure you are aware of any reading updates given throughout the term.
Assignments and Grades
Class Participation (including weekly discussion papers): 25%
Mid-Term Exam: 35%
Term Project: 40%
This will be a very ACTIVE class! Participation comprises a large proportion of your grade. Please attend every lecture and every section/workshop meeting. Come to class having completed the reading assignments, prepared to meet research goals, and ready to take part. This will result in your getting the most possible from the course, and it will create a dynamic classroom environment. You will be evaluated with these expectations in mind.
Your class participation grade will be determined in part by your attendance and your role in section meeting discussions. Additionally, for the seven weekly guest lectures, weeks 2 through 8, you will be required to submit a brief (100-250 words) “discussion” paper consisting of questions and/or specific talking points related to the week’s topic and readings. This discussion paper should reflect your understanding of the main points and arguments of the reading(s) for that week, and should be type-written and double spaced. Submit your discussion paper to your instructor by e-mail no later than 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays. You will use these papers as the basis for the Q&A and discussion section during these weeks.
At mid-term you will complete an exam that will evaluate your completion and comprehension of assigned readings, and your understanding of material presented in lectures, panel discussions, and section meetings. The format will be written (essay/ID), and topics will be distributed during week 4. The exam will be due in class during week 5. The last date on which a student may withdraw from the course is October 30. Therefore, students who score below a grade of 65 on this exam, or miss it for any unexcused reason will be expected to drop the course.
For a good portion of the second half of the course students will work together as a class towards completion of a major term project. Students will choose an area of interest among the major themes under examination in the course; they will then choose a proper format for the project. In collaboration with the group, students will research, write, and submit their work for presentation by the close of the term. The groups will form and will start thinking about the scope and direction of this project early in the term; individual groups will meet in weeks 8 and 9 with course instructors and with expert workshop facilitators to develop their ideas and craft their projects. You will present your project in week ten of the course. Though a significant portion of your grade on this project will be earned individually, the group dynamic is expected to push you to produce the most interesting and rigorous possible research effort.
Course Policies and Grades
Policies and Conduct
Consult the syllabus frequently in order to keep up with scheduled speakers, section meetings, readings, and assignment deadlines. Keeping up with the assignment schedule is your responsibility. We will make all take-home exam assignments available to you in plenty of time for successful completion.
As a rule we do not accept late exams or other assignments for any reason other than excused, documented absences. It will be your responsibility to make certain that the instructor receives a hard copy of any excused absence documentation. Leaving town for work, or having a busy week are understandable facts of life, but they do not comprise excused absences from class.
Please arrive to guest lectures and discussion sections on time, stay for the entire period, and display professional conduct at all times. Cell phones/digital devices must be turned off, laptops must be used only for taking notes during class time—these rules will be STRICTLY enforced.
All excused schedule conflicts must be submitted to your section instructor, in writing, by the end of the first week of the term. Make-up assignments are only offered in the case of documented, excused absences. Excused absences include illness, religious observances, and documented university extra-curricular events.
No extensions or incompletes will be offered in this course. If a student has unfinished coursework at the end of the term due to a documented, excused absence, the instructor will assign the grade earned to that point—the student will then have two weeks from the last day of the term to complete any missing work, and the instructor may at that time submit a change of grade form.
It is the responsibility of the student to be on the class e-mail list, and to be aware of e-mail updates from the instructors. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that she/he is marked present on roll sheets. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain all reading updates, sample exam questions, take-home exams, and any other materials handed out in class.
The instructors reserve the right to amend this syllabus in any way necessary for the benefit of the class.
The following policies are drawn from the Official Student Handbook:
Drexel University is committed to a learning environment that embraces academic honesty. In order to protect members of our community from the results of dishonest conduct, the University has adopted policies to deal with cases of academic dishonesty. We comply fully with the Drexel University “Academic Honesty Policy,” as explained in the Official Student Handbook. It is the student’s responsibility to know and follow the policies set forth in the Official Student Handbook.
Academic dishonesty and/or plagiarism will result in an immediate F for the course with no exceptions. Academic dishonesty may result in suspension or expulsion from Drexel University.
Americans With Disabilities Act
In compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Drexel University’s policies and procedures, the University is committed to the non-discrimination of students with disabilities.
Student with disabilities requesting accommodations and services at Drexel University need to present a current accommodation verification letter (“AVL”) to faculty before accommodations can be made. AVL’s are issued by the Office of Disability Services (“ODS”). For additional information, contact the ODS at www.drexel.edu/edt/disability, 3201 Arch St., Ste. 210, Philadelphia, PA 19104, V 215.895.1401, or TTY 215.895.2299.
Week 1: Sept. 24: Course Introduction – What are the major issues associated with energy and sustainability—what are the goals of this course?
“Peak Oil Is a Waste of Energy,” Michael Lynch, New York Times, 25 August 2009
- Greenworks Philadelphia (introductory video and “Greenworks Plan” Executive Summary)
Week 2: October 1: What do we mean when we talk about “Sustainability?”
Nathan Taylor, Drexel Sierra Club
Prineha Narang, Drexel Engineers Without Borders
Drexel Smart House
Jameson Detweiler, green.konnect.me
Laurie Actman, City of Philadelphia, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
Mark Alan Hughes, University of Pennsylvania
- Codoban and Kennedy, “Metabolism of Neighborhoods,” Journal of Urban Planning and Development (March 2008), 21-31.
- Steve Vanderheiden. (2008). Two Conceptions of Sustainability. Political Studies 56, 435-455.
- James Gustave Speth, “Systems Failure,” from The Bridge at the End of the World (2008)
- Roland Barthes, “Plastic”
Week 3: October 8: How are energy sustainability choices framed by political and geographical boundaries?
Frank Laird, University of Denver
- Frank N. Laird and Christoph Stefes. (2009). The diverging paths of German and United States policies for renewable energy: Sources of difference. Energy Policy 37, 2619-2629.
- David Schlosberg and Sara Rinfret. (2008). Ecological modernisation, American-style. Environmental Politics 17, 254-275.
Week 4: October 15: What are the options in sustainable power generation: a case study in solar energy and energy efficiency?
MID-TERM EXAM DISTRIBUTED
Ron Celentano, (invited)
Maureen Mulligan, The Energy Cooperative
Liz Robinson, Energy Coordinating Agency (invited)
- State of Pennsylvania, Act 129
- “Climate 2030 Blueprint” (Executive Summary)
- “Renewable Energy for America” http://www.nrdc.org/energy/renewables/default.asp
- “Power Scorecard”
- National Academy of Sciences, America’s Energy Future: Technology
an Transformation, Chapter 2
OPTIONAL: October 22, 12:00-1:00 p.m., “From Idea to Implementation”: A Business Plan Workshop with Mark Loschiavo, Executive Director of the Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship at Drexel University
MacAlister Hall, Room 5051
Please RSVP to Scott Knowles (email@example.com) by October 8.
Week 5: October 22: How is energy sustainability shaping building and urban design?
MID-TERM EXAM DUE
Susan Piedmont-Palladino, National Building Museum / Virginia Tech
- Sophia and Stefan Behling, Sol Power: the Evolution of Solar Architecture (1996), 12-21.
- Architecture 2030
- The 2030 Challenge
- 2030 Fact Sheet
- McDonough and Braungart, Cradle to Cradle (2002) (recommended)
OPTIONAL CLASS TRIP, OCTOBER 24, NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM, WASHINGTON, D.C. with Professor Ellis to view the “Green Community” Exhibition and meet with curator Susan Piedmont-Palladino
The Great Works Symposium will pay entrance fees for student attendees, please RSVP to Scott Knowles (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 8.
Week 6: October 29: How sustainable is our food system?
James E. McWilliams, Texas State University
- James E. McWilliams, Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (2009)
- Pollan, Michael. (2008). Farmer in Chief. The New York Times Magazine, October 9.
- “Locavore article packet” (recommended)
- Kim, Brent et al. (2008) "Literature Review of Methods and Tools for Quantifying the Indirect Environmental Impacts of Food Procurement. pp. 1 - 65. skim
Aramark Press Release - www.aramark.com/PressRoom/PressReleases/Clean-Air-Cool-Planet.aspx
Week 7: November 5: How is the desire for energy sustainability affecting transportation networks?
American Public Transportation Association. (2009) "Changing the Way America Moves: Creating a More Robust Economy, a Smaller Carbon Footprint, And Energy Independence"
Week 8: November 12: What is environmental justice, in the context of energy?
Ayanna King, ???
Jerome Shabazz, Overbrook Environmental Education Center
Susan Stein, Drexel University
Sze, Julie (2006) Noxious New York: The Radical Politics of Urban Health and
Environmental Justice. Chapter 5, "Power to the People? Deregulation and Environmental Justice Energy Activism"
Week 9: November 19: Research Project Workshops
Students meet with their project groups and with instructors to prepare for the December 3 research presentations.
OPTIONAL: The Baiada Center’s Sustainability Business Plan Concept Competition
Interested project groups will have the opportunity on this evening as well to present their work as part of this innovative Baiada Center competition.
NO READING ASSIGNED
Week 10: November 26: THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
Week 11: December 3: Research Presentations"