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Monday, October 24, 2011

Local Crisis? Create a Course

I'm very impressed with the response of Binghamton University to its recent flood crisis. The university created a course around it which allows students to help in the response and the public to learn more about the topic.
The two-credit course, titled, “Community in Recovery: Southern Tier NY After the Flood of September 2011,” will offer undergraduates the opportunity to volunteer in the local community as well as participate in a series of six broad-based seminars on topics related to the crisis and the response to it. The seminars are free and open to anyone – including the general public and those who are not registered for the course.
The seminars cover a variety of topics including psychology, geography, geology/environmental studies, public administration, and leadership studies. Each one includes a faculty member and a community leader as participant. The one from the geographic perspective:
Oct. 19: Socio-Economic Implications of the 2011 Flood “Social Vulnerability to Natural Disasters: Does Binghamton fit the Model?” presented by:
- Mark Reisinger, associate professor of geography, and Kevin Heard, assistant director of Binghamton University's global information systems (GIS) Core Facility.
- Community participant: Tarik Abdelazim, director of planning, housing and community development for the City of Binghamton
This timely course has many benefits:
  • closely links the university to the community 
  • integrates multiple physical science and social science perspectives 
  • provides service related internships 
  • moves beyond traditional lecture/seminar/internship model 
  • could be opened to local high school students 
  • could serve as a model for future community "crises" 
I'm hopeful someone will write up the lessons learned/best practices for this course.

- News Channel 34