Geog050: First-Year Seminar: Mountain Geography: This seminar focuses on understanding the physical geography of mountain environments and the processes that have created them, shaped them, and sustained them. There are several reasons for studying the environments of mountains: (a) they reveal integrative earth systems processes that can be readily observed and understood; (b) the processes are not oversimplified, but have spatial complexity at scales that can be readily comprehended; and (c) they also reveal human interactions with and impacts on their environment. We explore mountain environments by concentrating on processes that shape the landscape, patterns that are apparent because of those active processes, and how the concept of scale (both through space and time) define the patterns that we see that are shaped by sets of scale-dependent processes. The course draws specific examples from several mountain ranges, including the Rocky Mountains and the Andes.
Geog110: Introduction to Environmental Systems: This course provides an introduction to the natural environment and the Earth as a highly dynamic system. The course focuses on the Earth system, including the atmosphere, the lithosphere, the biosphere, and the hydrosphere, and it draws examples from natural processes at both local and global scales. The course covers atmospheric moisture and precipitation, energy balance, weather, global climate, ecological and matter flow in ecosystems, biodiversity, soils, plate tectonics, and freshwater processes.
Geog141: Geography for Future Leaders: People, the Planet and You: Building the Skills for Global Leadership in the 21st Century. In this course, students develop geographic concepts and skills and use them to navigate real-world social and environmental challenges. The course is co-taught by a physical and human geographer and provides students with essential building blocks for becoming active and engage leaders and citizens in a rapidly changing world. The course introduces students to pressing contemporary nature-society problems and highlights how and why future global leaders and decision makers must understand such problems from an interdisciplinary perspective, coupling scientific knowledge and methods with social, political and economic knowledge and skills. The course combines problem- and evidence-based learning and employs active-learning methods that offer introductory training in skills that students can further develop to study and understand global problems.
Geog341: Tropical Ecohydrology: Hydrology, Ecology, and Sustainability of the Humid Tropics: The Tropics have some of the largest river flows in the world. Three billion people live in humid tropical regions, yet over 50% of the population lacks adequate water supply. This course focuses on the water cycle of tropical regions and the interactions between hydrology and ecology with an emphasis on sustainability. The Tropics support both arid and humid climates along latitudinal and topographic gradients from coasts to highlands. Increased demand on freshwater resources due to population growth, land use change, contamination, and increased tourism impose major challenges for the future sustainability of tropical regions. The objective of this course is to provide an introduction to hydrology with a specific focus on tropical environments. This course will be taught via a combination of formal lectures and problem- and evidence-based learning, taking advantage of the broad set of environmental conditions across the Tropics.
Geog441: Watershed Systems: This course is an introduction to hydrologic and geomorphic processes and forms in watersheds as applied to water quality, the biophysical dimensions of water, and interactions and feedbacks between water, climate, landscape morphology, vegetation cover, and soil processes. Hydrology is the study of the occurrence and movement of water on and beneath the surface of the Earth, and the interactions of water with biotic and abiotic variables in the environment. This course will cover the structure of drainage networks, nested catchments, and distribution and controls of precipitation, evaporation, runoff, soil moisture, and groundwater flow.
Geog710: Advanced Physical Geography: This course examines major processes controlling environmental cycling of material and energy at the landscape level and focuses on the development of a quantitative understanding of the physical and ecosystem processes responsible for landscape pattern and evolution. The course introduces students to key concepts in terrestrial and aquatic biogeosciences, including the fundamental principles governing fluxes of C, N, sediment, and dust, and prediction of how the magnitude and dynamics of these fluxes will be altered under the effects of disturbance (e.g., wildfire, drought, deforestation, land use change).