Students are expected to comply with the standards of academic integrity prescribed by the University of San Diego. For in-class exercises, students are asked to bring an internet accessible device to every class. Grades will be determined as follows:

  • Participation (10 points): Students will be evaluated on the frequency and quality of contributions to in-class discussions. Students will lose 1 point of attendance for each class missed, each time they arrive after roll call, and each time that they leave class early (students will be granted up to two exceptions). Students will be expected to participate actively in writing sessions. Additional instructional sessions will be arranged to account for any necessary class cancellations.
  • Disaster Summary (10 points): Students will contribute one disaster summary to the course website, providing specific information, 3 captioned photos, and a 600-800 word summary about the nature of the disaster, the impact, and the governmental and societal response. Summaries are due in electronic form by midnight on the day of the midterm exam.
  • Presentation (10 points): Each student will make one 15-minute, in-class presentation on a specific disaster and the governmental and societal responses that followed. Students will use a slide presentation (e.g., Powerpoint, Presi, Keynote, etc.) and/or other audio-visual tools, but they are limited to no more than 15 minutes total and will not receive any additional time to accommodate technological failures. Students must provide an electronic copy of their presentation in advance of the class session to which they have been assigned.
  • Bush v. Obama Group Exercise (15 points): Students will divide into two separate teams to examine the occurrence and responses to disaster under the administrations of George W. Bush (2000-2008) and Barack H. Obama (2008-2012). Students will compile a list of all the federal disaster declarations under each president, as well as additional data on the number of people killed, the number of people injured, the estimated damage caused, and the amount of money allocated by the federal government. Students will provide a citation for any additional data collected. Given an odd number of students in the class, the Obama team will have one person less because his term is incomplete.
  • Midterm Exam (25 points): Students will take an in-class written exam with multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short identification questions that test them on their knowledge of the readings and lecture material during the first half of the course. The midterm exam will take place on the Thursday of Week 7.
  • Final Exam (30 points): Students will take a comprehensive, in-class written exam on the date determined by the University, with multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short identification questions on the readings and lecture material.
  • Extra Credit (3): Students may earn up to 3 extra credit points by writing a 250-300 word summary and reflection on special events identified by the instructor. Each summary is worth up to one point toward the student’s final grade. Students may not submit more than 3 extra credit summaries.

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