SFS revamps Map of the Modern World curriculum, Hrebenak out as teacher

New MapAll you will need to know to pass the new Map of the Modern World course

Map of the Modern World, the School of Foreign Service rite of passage, is undergoing significant curricular changes and getting a new instructor this year, as The Hoya first reported yesterday.  Instead of the surly and demanding Professor Keith Hrebenak, the course will now be taught by former SFS-Qatar Dean James Reardon-Anderson.

So how will the class be changing?  According to an email from Reardon-Anderson:

The course content has been modified to provide a greater emphasis on physical geography (what is sometimes called “environment”) and to demonstrate how physical geography has influenced large scale human behavior (what is sometimes called “international affairs”) …

The content of the exam will be modified to reflect the new course content.  Therefore, there will be more emphasis on physical geography and its influences and less on topics that were the focus of the previous version of this course [such as political boundaries, colonial legacies and border disputes].

Reardon-Anderson wrote that the change is “partly” related to the effort to add science to the SFS core curriculum.

According to the syllabus Reardon-Anderson used when he taught the course in Doha (posted in full after the jump), four of the 14 lectures will be devoted to science topics like “The Atmosphere,” “Plate Tectonics” and “Global Climate Change.”  The other 10 lectures will be devoted to specific regions.  The course will include lectures on North America and Europe, regions that were previously not covered.  The class will maintain the 100 multiple choice question final exam.

When asked if Hrebenak wanted to stop teaching the course, Reardon-Anderson replied, “I will let him speak for himself concerning his interests in teaching.”  Hrebenak has not yet replied to requests for comment.  Reardon-Anderson did say he would continue to teach other courses at Georgetown, though.

Check out the full syllabus for the revamped course after the jump!

Semester: Spring 2009                                                                
Thursday, 9:40-10:30 a.m., 12:30-1:20 p.m. and 1:55-2:45 p.m.
Dr. James Reardon-Anderson
LAS B-012

This required one-credit course is designed to provide basic knowledge of the physical and political geography of the world.  Weekly lectures cover major themes in physical geography and their effects on human behavior.  The final examination covers both thematic content and factual information on physical and political geography.

Complete and commit to memory all material in the Lectures and assigned Course Materials, which are available on Blackboard, and pass the final examination.

Lectures: Held each Thursday, beginning at 9:40, 12:30 and 1:55.  The doors to the lecture hall will close at these times shar, and students not in the lecture hall at that time will not be allowed entry.  Since the lectures will include detailed instructions on what will and will not be included in the final examination, it is essential that students attend all lectures and take careful notes.

Quizzes: A weekly quiz appears on Blackboard. (Instructions for taking these quizzes appear in a separate document.)  Students are STRONGLY encouraged to take these quizzes, which are one of the best means of preparing for the final exam.  The quizzes are not graded, but students who get perfect scores will be lavishly rewarded – to the envy of their classmates.

Grading: Each student will receive a grade of “pass” or “fail,” based solely on the final examination.  Successful completion of this course is a requirement for the BSFS degree, so students who do not pass will be invited to repeat the course next year.

Final examination: The final exam includes one hundred (100) multiple choice questions based on the Lectures and Course Materials, which are posted on Blackboard.  The examination MUST be taken at the assigned time and place.  Exceptions will be made only in case of documented family or medical emergency.

Meetings with the professor: Any student who believes that he or she is having trouble in the class is urged to see the professor at the earliest date.  Since there is no mid-term or other graded assignment prior to the final exam, each student is responsible for gauging his or her progress and contacting the professor if he or she has any concerns.  Please make appointments by email: reardonj@georgetown.edu.

The textbook – H.J. de Blij and Peter O. Muller, Geography: Realms, Regions, and Concepts, Thirteenth Edition, (John Wiley & Sons, 2008) – is a helpful supplement to the lectures.  This syllabus indicates the page numbers in the text that relate to each of the lectures.

Schedule of lectures (Readings in de Blij and Muller)

Lecture 1:  January 15: “Introduction:  The Earth”
Lecture 2:  January 22: “The Atmosphere”
Lecture 3:  January 29: “Earth Tectonics”
Lecture 4:  February 5: “North America”   (Chap. 3, pp. 150-85)
Lecture 5:  February 12: “Middle and South America” (Chaps 4-5, pp. 204-17, 242-55)
Lecture 6:  February 19: “Subsahara Africa” (Chap 6, pp. 288-311)
Lecture 7:  February 26:  “Europe” (Chap. 1, pp. 46-70)
Lecture 8:  March 12:  “Russia” (Chap 2, pp. 106-34)
Lecture 9:  March 19:  “East Asia” (Chap. 9, pp. 450-75)
Lecture 10:  March 26:  “South Asia” (Chap. 8, pp. 400-17)
Lecture 11:  April 2:  “Southeast Asia” (Chap. 10, pp. 522-40)
Lecture 12:  April 9:  “Middle East” (Chap. 7, pp. 342-62)
Lecture 13:  April 16:  “Austral and Pacific Realms” (Chaps. 11-12, pp. 570-75, 592-606)
Lecture 14:  April 23:  “Global Climate Change”

TBA  Final Examination

Map from Daily Dose of GIS humor.

6 Comments on “SFS revamps Map of the Modern World curriculum, Hrebenak out as teacher

  1. I feel sorry for all new SFS-ers, Hrebenak is the man and I loved his version of map.

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