Syllabus (and home page)
Homepage for the Food Systems, Sustainability, and Climate course
Spring 2019 Course Guide Information
|Course Title:||Food Production Systems and Sustainability (formerly Food Systems, Sustainability and Climate Change).|
|Course Guide Listing:||DY SCI 471 and INTER-AG 471|
|Prerequisites:||Junior, Senior, Graduate standing|
|Date/Time:||Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4-5:15 pm|
|Location:||Animal Science Building, room 209|
|Instructor:||Michel Wattiaux, 434 Animal Sciences Building, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Teaching Assistant:||Bailey Fritsch, email@example.com|
|Description:||This trans-disciplinary course delves into aspects of biological, social, and agricultural sciences underpinning the assessment of food production systems as related to mitigation and adaptation to climate change. After engaging students in an example multidisciplinary case-study of milk carbon foot-print, instructors will guide students through the development of their own food production and climate change case-study research projects culminating with students creating multi-media web-pages, giving audio-visual presentations, and (for grad students) writing a peer-review style article. Students will engage in collaborative projects with people from disparate disciplinary paradigms.|
|Additional info:||This course partially fulfills the course requirement of the Food System Certificate (CALS) and the Sustainability Certificate (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies), and the CALS three credits of International Studies. The course is also listed in the category E: Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources of the Biology Major as well as in the list of electives for the Global Health Certificate. This course contributes also to your eligibility to participated in a two-week Field Study Program in Mexico (i.e., This course is one of the alternative prerequisites for the international field program.)|
Part 1: Reading and discussion of core research in food systems and climate change, for case study on dairy production systems (modeling a multi-disciplinary team project)
- Students will learn to integrate knowledge from crop science, livestock science, environmental science, and social science about distinct production systems, including urban and rural, local and global, and small to industrial scale (see figure below).
- Students will learn about distinct food production systems':
- contribution to climate change: greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, N2O);
- mitigation of climate change: carbon sequestration and emissions reduction;
- adaptation to climate change: adapting management of production systems to changing weather patterns.
- Students will learn how social structures profoundly affect not only people, but also biology, ecology, and our very climate (contribution to/mitigation of climate change). And the complement: how people's race/class/gender/occupation/nation status within the global social structure, as well as the nature of the global social structure itself, profoundly impacts their ability to cope with changing climate (adaptation to climate change).
Part 2: Student Team Projects (creating your own multi-disciplinary team project on a topic of your choice)
- Students will develop the capacity to critically assess the environmental (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions), social (e.g., food justice), and economical (e.g., financial aspects) of food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste disposal systems, including:
- contributing your personal effort as a member of a goal-oriented learning community;
- identifying a researchable question;
- searching for sources of information and evaluation methods and tools relevant to your project; and
- developing analytic and problem solving skills as you use the information and evaluation tools.
- Students will develop their ability to communicate information to multiple audiences through multiple media, including:
- creating multi-media web pages;
- co-authoring a peer-review style article (for grad students); and
- audio-visual presentation of your findings.
Additional Learning Objectives for Graduate Students
- Students will develop skills working with mixed teams including undergraduate students.
- Students will hone their research and writing skills in drafting academically rigorous literature reviews.
- Students will learn to assess the broader impacts of research beyond the academic setting.
Teaching MethodsMy role as instructor:
- To define the course topics and relative importance of various subject matters,
- To provide you with the information and resources you need to learn,
- To facilitate class activities designed to foster deep thinking and critical analysis,
- To communicate with you in a way that facilitates your learning,
- To set the level of expectations and evaluate your progress and your work.
The course is divided in two main parts. Part 1 will engage you in reading and discussing recent research on food systems, sustainability and climate change. As an instructor, I have designed part 1 of the course as a inter-disciplinary approach to studying animal source food for humans and dairy production systems in particular as a the "instructor's project." What we will do in part 1 is meant in part to be a model for you to follow in developing your own project in part 2 of the course (Student Team Projects: creating your own multi-disciplinary team project on a topic of your choice). Not that the two parts are NOT sequential, but rather interleaved as more emphasis is given to part 1 at the beginning of the semester, only to let part 2 becoming a more important component of what we do in the class as the semester proceed.Part 1
Expectations: What am I expected to do to get good grades?
First, Individually Graded Items: Class Engagement, Content Knowledge, Reflection and Analysis
- Be prepared for class and team work: Allocate enough time to read the papers carefully before class. Think of the reading and homework assignments as a way of helping yourself find out what you know and what you don't know or don't fully understand. For making sense of the course material, you have to continually question yourself, your teammates, your classmates and your instructor.
- Reflect on readings: Synthesize the material from the readings through your own summaries to be posted on "pre-class blogs" that will be shared with other students.
- Be an active participant in class: Active participation in class means listening, thinking, taking notes and asking questions. There are (almost) no stupid questions in this class. As long as you have a genuine interest in learning the subject matter, all questions will be valid questions! Be honest with yourself and you will find out what your current level of knowledge really is, and what your misunderstandings might be.
- Reflect on what happened in the class afterward: To reward you for reflection on "what happened during activities and discussion, you are expected to submit a brief "post-class blog" after each class.
- Before class:
- Use your NetID to login the "restricted" (internal) 2019-Schedule and Materials page of the website;
- Read the posted paper(s) and/or view posted videos;
- After reading (and/or watching videos), synthesize what you've learned by completing the quiz and pre-class blog. The quiz questions are limited to the content knowledge described in the the article and thus will test your knowledge and understanding of the pre-class assignments (readings, videos, etc.);
- Deadline to complete the quiz and pre-class blog is 2:00 PM the day of class;
- Students are allowed two attempts at each quiz, however the quiz grade will be assessed by averaging the scores of every attempt.
- During class we may engage in any of the following class activities:
- Group discussion of the readings;
- Introduction of the topic with a mini-lecture (if needed);
- Small group activities;
- Discuss a case study.
- After reflecting on the day's discussion, synthesize what you've learend by completing a post-class blog;
- Deadline to complete the post-class blog is 2:00 PM the following class day. However you are encourage to complete the post-class blog within 24 hours after class.
Note that the blog entries and the quizzes should be completed as your own individual effort. If you have access to materials from previous offerings of the course, the act of copying/pasting answers or partially editing answers from others is an instance of academic misconduct, the definition of which includes "any act aimed at making false representation of one's academic performance." The University has strict rules and provides for disciplinary action on this issue. Please see the UW academic misconduct page for more details.
Second, Team-based Graded Items: Multiple-step Literature Review, Analysis and Synthesis Project
Peer-Review Style Article:
Multi-media Website :
In-class Presentation and Discussion:
Deadlines and Grades
|Individual Graded Elements|
|1: Pre-class blogs||Reflection & analysis||2:00 pm T & R||10||10|
|2: Pre-class Quizzes||Content knowledge||2:00 pm T & R||20||15|
|3: Post-class blogs||Reflection & analysis||2:00 pm T & R||10||10|
|4: in-class participation||Engagement||ongoing||3||3|
|5: Feedback activities||Engagement||ongoing (tba)||4||4|
|6: Farm visit short-essay||Reflection & analysis||02/21||5||5|
|Team Project Graded Elements1|
|1: Annotated bibliography and outline||Researching & planning||3/01||3||3|
|2: Initial peer-review style article||Synthesis & critical thinking||3/13||5||10|
|3a: Initial team-led class discussion||Oral communication||3/26-3/28||10||10|
|3b: Initial web page||Multi-media communication||3/26-3/28||5||5|
|4: Final peer-review style article||Synthesis and critical thinking||04/10||5||10|
|5a: Final web page||Multi-media communication||4/23-5/02||10||5|
|5b: Final team-led presentation||Oral communication||4/23-5/02||10||10|
1: Team grade adjustment: For each of the five phases of the project, team members will jointly make an initial plan (identify major steps, allocate tasks, set deadlines, etc.) of their respective contribution to the expected deliverable. At the deadline, each student will then complete a self evaluation along with an evaluation of team members for their actual contribution in relation to the initial plan. Adjustment points will be -2, -1, 0 (no adjustment, everyone in the team has the same grade), +1 or +2. The sum of your adjustment points will have to equal zero. In other words, if you give someone positive point(s) you will have to give someone else negative point(s).
2: How will final letter grade be assigned? A criterion-referenced grading will be used in this class and therefore you do not need to worry about your standing relative to others in this course. In fact, working together with others may be to everyone's advantage. The following is an approximate grading scale that the instructors will use to determine the letter grade associated with students' percentage achieved in the class (slightly from year to year may occur depending on specific circumstances). A = 100-90 | AB = 89-87 | B= 86-80 | BC = 79-77 | C = 76-70 | D = 69-60 | F = 59 or less.