GRG 301K • Weather And Climate
• Kimmel Jr., Troy M.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm JES A121A
An introductory look at weather and climate, this course will include a thorough discussion of atmospheric processes, clouds, precipitation (types), air masses, frontal boundaries, introductory discussions of severe local storms (and their offspring) and tropical cyclones as well as the climatology of these weather systems. Also included will be a brief introduction to the Koppen Climatic Classification System along with discussions of climatological processes, regimes, and climate change.
GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg
• Adams, Paul C.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WCH 1.120
This course focuses on learning why things are where they are and the processes that underlie spatial patterns. These processes are fundamentally cultural: they involve a complex mix of folk culture, popular culture, communication, religion, demography, industry and urbanization, so the course touches on all of these topics. The course also looks at the indications of human-induced environmental changes, including pollution, resource depletion, and the transformation of ecosystems. It concludes with an introduction to the range of career opportunities for people with training in geography.
Final grades will be based on a combination of three exams (worth approximately 45% of the total grade), three projects (worth approximately 25% of the total grade) and participation (worth approximately 30% of the total grade).
GRG 326 • Regions & Cultures Of Europe
• Jordan, Bella B.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BUR 220
(also listed as EUS 346, REE 345)
This course is a systematic introduction to geography of all regions of Europe, from Iceland to Sicily and European Russia and Finland to Bretagne and Galicia. The course is based on a renowned textbook by Alexander B. Murphy, Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov and Bella Bychkova Jordan and focuses on all the major aspects of the European makeup: its physical, economic, political, and cultural geography, geolinguistics and environmental issues. A special attention is given to such issues as expansion of the European Union and NATO, problems associated with immigration and ethnic tensions, challenges of multiculturalism and integration. A significant portion of the class is dedicated to the analysis of demographic, urban and agricultural patterns. The historical perspective allows the analysis of the evolution of the European civilization during the last two millennia and resulting geographical patterns in modern Europe.
Required textbook: Alexander B. Murphy, Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov and Bella Bychkova Jordan. The European Culture Area: A Systematic Geography, 2009, 5th edition. Rowman and Littlefield: Lanham, Boulder, CO. Available at The Co-Op and amazon.com
Course grading policy: students must take 3 exams, each worth 33.3% of the final grade. Make-up exams will be allowed only in cases of medical emergency with the written proof from the doctor’s office. There will not be a final exam.
Prerequisites: Upper division
GRG 333C • Severe And Unusual Weather
• Kimmel Jr., Troy M.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 1.102
The course examines the principles and techniques of atmospheric science and the applications to the study of severe and unusual weather events and patterns. This course will include a thorough examination (often in real time through the use of the internet) of thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash floods, hailstorms, winter storms, tropical cyclones as well as drought. In addition to study of the events themselves, a look at the climatology of severe and unusual weather across the United States, Texas as well as our own south central Texas region will be undertaken. How these atmospheric events affect human beings and how people respond to these events will also be examined.
400 points possible during the semester:
Three Regular Exams (100 points each)
Attendance / Homework / Exercises (100 points total)
Attendance Taken On A Daily Basis and Used in Final Computation of Grade
GRG 356T • Northern Lands And Cultures
• Jordan, Bella B.
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm BUR 130
(also listed as EUS 346, REE 345)
This course is designed to develop a geographical understanding of the circumpolar region of the North, an ancient human habitat and a home to distinct, millennia old, civilizations. These indigenous Arctic cultures and livelihoods are being constantly challenged by modern industrial powers, and the clash between two contesting realities is profound. Emphasis is given to a historical geographical perspective on the major processes forming cultural and natural landscapes (including global warming), and influencing society, economy, spiritual life and politics. Regions include: Alaska, the Canadian northern territories, Scandinavian North, including Sapmi (Lapland), Iceland, Greenland, the Russian North, and Siberia.
Prerequisites: Upper division
Readings: Course package
Grading: Basis for the course grade:
1) Students will take 2 exams, each worth 25% of the final grade. Total of 50 points.
2) Students will prepare and oral presentations on a topic relevant to the course subject matter and approved by the instructor. The presentations must be 10-12 minutes long in a PowerPoint format. It accounts for 20% of the final grade.
Students will write term papers on a topic similar to that of their oral presentations. The term papers must be 10-11 pages long (not including bibliography and title page), typed double-space in 12-size font. The paper must include a map created by the students, illustrating the major points of the paper’s topic. Late papers will not be accepted! 30% of the final grade.
GRG 360G • Envir Geographic Info Systems
• Arima, Eugenio
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CLA 0.128
This course introduces basic concepts underlying geographic information systems and science (GIS), including related or integrated technologies and applications such as global positioning systems (GPS), cartography, and spatial analysis. It combines an overview of the general principles of GIS with a theoretical treatment of the nature and issues associated with the use of spatial environmental information. Although the course has a laboratory component that introduces students to the most commonly used GIS software package, the focus is on the “science behind the software” (eg, types and implications of functions and analysis, rather than just how to do the analysis).
GRG 368C • Spatial Anly/Geograph Info Sys
• Miller, Jennifer A.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 1.402
In this course we will explore in greater depth and breadth spatial analysis concepts introduced in GRG 360G (or similar intro GIS course). The course addresses ‘spatial problem solving’ by focusing on both the theoretical/conceptual and practical aspects of GIS modeling and spatial statistics.
GRG 373F • Field Techniques
• Doolittle, William E.
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm CLA 3.102
Geographers sitting in their offices frequently find themselves lacking the right type of data to deal with a specific problem at hand. This is the case for practitioners holding a bachelor's degree and working in the private sector as well as for academicians holding doctoral degrees and teaching at comprehensive research universities. For example, a geographer employed by a firm designing a retirement community may be faced with a problem such as assessing a series of possible sites on which to build the swimming pool. Maps and aerial photographs may be available, but do they contain sufficiently detailed information about the soils, geology, slope, vegetation, hydrology, and cultural features such as historic structures, wells, fences or walls? And, how are these items or conditions spatially distributed in absolute terms and relative to each other? Or, consider a scholar investigating the expansion cacao cultivation in the rainforests of southern Brazil. How does she or he distinguish fields from forest? Cacao, after all, is a tree which grows in the shade of taller trees, and, accordingly, farmers do not clear-cut the forest before planting their crop. And, what about the composition(s) of the "natural" environment(s) and that (those) of the fields? What about the sizes and shapes of the fields, and socio-economic characteristics of the farmers? The only way to get these data are to go into "the field," and to use certain techniques.
This course introduces advanced geography students to a number of various techniques used in gathering field data. It does not deal with every technique nor does it go into great detail on any one. It does, however, offer the basics of certain types of data collection, and, in so doing, it provides a foundation on which more advanced study--either formally through other classes, or informally through self-training--can be undertaken.
The course is divided into two parts, each dealing with different types of techniques, and each with different levels of supervision. The first part of the course deals with mapping, the most fundamental of geographic activities. Students learn how to collect data with a clearly spatial dimensions. They begin by using some very simple instruments and progress to using the latest electronic surveying equipment. Emphasis is placed on mapping small areas largely because data at this scale are usually what geographers do not already possess, and, therefore, need. Also, working at this scale gives students a first-hand appreciation for, or at least a "taste" of, the processes involved in collecting data portrayed on existing maps of various scales. Instruction during this first half of the semester is very focused; students are closely supervised.
The second part of the course focuses on the collection of various types of environmental data that can be mapped. Emphasis here is placed on both "natural" data used most often, but not exclusively, by so-called "physical geographers," and "cultural" data commonly used by so-called "human geographers." Also, techniques for determining past as well as current conditions are covered in order for students to assess changing geographies. Instruction during the second half of the semester is less supervised than in the first half. Students are given a great deal of liberty to hone their skills at making professional judgements.
The focus of this course is on landscapes, especially those that are material and visible. Instruction includes some classroom lectures and several outdoor exercises. This course involves hands-on experience. Students can expect to be hot, cold, dirty, and wet, and exposed to some health risks. Research methods, project formulation, laboratory data analyses, and cartography are not be part of this course. This course deals exclusively with outdoor data collection techniques.
GRG 374 • Frontiers In Geography
• Zonn, Leo E.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 0.108
Course Objective and Subjects
The primary objective of this course is to provide you a ‘working understanding’ of the contemporary nature of Geography, which means I am interested in considering Geography as it is practiced. My department expects this course, Frontiers in Geography, to be a ‘capstone’ experience, although none of us really knows what that means. It can be interpreted in a variety of ways and the faculty of our department have tried many of them while teaching this course, based to a great extent upon their own respective personal and academic histories, styles, personalities, and general sense of what is important and what is not. None of them are wrong.
The route I have chosen is a ‘working understanding’, which it is hoped, will complement and supplement what you have been studying for these last few years.
I begin with the simplest of questions—What is Geography?—and then provide a set of fundamentals that will help answer the question, thus providing a ‘working’ understanding:
It is a set of concepts
It is a frame for study
It is a discipline
It is a university subject
It is a job
1) Concepts. In this section we provide an overview of the nature of the discipline—“what are the fundamental precepts that define Geography?” To some extent this is a summary and gathering together of ideas that surround what you have been doing for the last few years as a Geography major. At the same time it is my opportunity to stress my favorite geo-concept: Place, perhaps along with space, its little stepsister.
2) Frame. We use these concepts to help frame our study of geographic processes, especially in terms of the patterns of human activity. Such a framing will help illuminate the essences of these processes. For the purposes of this class we will focus primarily on ‘place’ in research focused on the example of tourism. The focus of your final capstone paper and most of your readings will be here, therefore, on the subject called “A Geography of Tourism”, framed within the concept of place.
3) Discipline. We will discuss Geography as a contemporary academic discipline in terms of its history, associations, journals, and departments.
4) University. The heart and history of a discipline begins with the university. Here we will talk about the contemporary nature of the American University, especially in this contentious political and economic era; issues of note at the national, state, and UT levels will be discussed. We do so to understand the home of Geography, but we will spend time on issues that may not have immediate relevance to our discipline.
5) Job. Several of you will be disappointed that this course is not centered on getting you a job. In fact, we won’t spend much time on the subject at all. Why? Because basically it is not within my purview; the truth be known, I don’t know much about that subject, which is true of most of my colleagues. This goes back to our subject of the University (above); more on that later. But we will not ignore it. We will work on your resumes, discuss ways you can aggressively engage the lousy market out there, consider issues of cover letters and interviewing, and we will bring people into the classroom who can help provide us some practicalities of the search. We will also discuss graduate school. Here I can help much more, although if the past is any predictor fewer than five or six of you will be immediately interested. We’ll play that one by ear.
The discussion of these five issues will be linear in the most general sense, but because they are often so closely intertwined we will integrate them at times. Also, I cannot assign a specific amount of time for each subject—although the system often asks that I do—because we reserve the right to spend more or less time on individual subjects as we see fit, once we are there. No worries; it will work.