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STEP Courses: 2015-2016

(eligible for certificate credit)

WWS 548 Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security (Fall 2015)

Christopher F. Chyba

This course examines the roles of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in international security historically, at present, and in possible futures. The technical basis for these weapons will be presented at a level suitable for the non-scientist, and the challenges of state and non-state acquisition or development will be assessed. Topics to be examined include deterrence, defense, preemption, arms control, nonproliferation, and plausible terrorist capabilities.

WWS 581C Topics in Economics: Energy Economics (Fall 2015)

Amy B. Craft

This course examines the economics behind many issues related to energy use, including the investment and use of renewable and non-renewable resources, energy conservation, deregulation of energy markets, transportation, and energy independence. Current policy options will be discussed.

CEE 471/Geo 471/URB 471 Introduction to Water Pollution Technology (Fall 2015)

Peter R. Jaffe

An introduction to the science of water quality management and pollution control in natural systems; fundamentals of biological and chemical transformations in natural waters; identification of sources of pollution; water and wastewater treatment methods; fundamentals of water quality modeling.
Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Student should have some background in chemistry and an interest in water pollution problems


SOC 557 Technology Studies (half term) (Fall 2015)

Janet A. Vertesi

This half-semester graduate course introduces you to basic concepts, theoretical frameworks, and empirical studies in the sociology of technology. The course draws largely on science and technology studies, a hybrid field with tools optimized for the study of science and technology in social context; it also draws related materials from recent literature in the sociology of work, technology and organizations, media studies, anthropology, and communication.

ENV 201B/STC 201B Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Population, Land Use, Biodiversity, and Energy (Fall 2015)

Kelly Caylor and David Wilcove

An expanding human population and the desire of all people for a more prosperous life have placed tremendous demands on the environment. We will explore how human activities have affected land use, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity, and the use of energy. Our focus is both global and local, highlighting not only fundamental changes in the biosphere, but also the ways in which individual decisions lead to major environmental changes. We explore the fundamental principles underlying contemporary environmental issues, and we use case studies to illustrate the scientific, political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental problems.

ENV 407 Africans Feeding Africans (Fall 2015)

Timothy D. Searchinger

This course will explore the economic, environmental, and social challenges of meeting growing food needs in sub-Saharan Africa. The region today has the lowest crop yields, the highest percentage of hungry people, and the highest population growth rates, and relies heavily on firewood for energy. The region also has vast areas of environmentally valuable forests and savannas. It has technical opportunities to produce crops better but faces challenges from high rainfall variability and climate change. The course will balance instruction, guest lectures and presentations by student teams, which will also produce a final paper.

WWS 354 Modern Genetics and Public Policy (Fall 2015)

Shirley M. Tilghman

Examines modern genetics' implications for public policy focusing on health, law, consumer products, and criminal justice. Topics include: eugenics; gene patenting; gene therapy; FDA consumer regulations of genetic testing; genetic discrimination; forensic use of DNA; and stem cell therapy. Explores social, political, and philosophical problems that modern genetics pose in areas such in the changing conceptions of the self; genetic enhancement vs. therapy; genetic nature of race; new theories of gene action in epigenetics; and genetic privacy.

CEE490 / ENE490 Mathematical Modeling of Energy And Environmental Systems (Fall 2015)

Mitchell J. Small

Mathematical Modeling of Energy and Environmental Systems. Development and application of mathematical models for energy systems, their performance, and their environmental and economic impacts. Scenario modeling for energy transitions. Methods for sensitivity and uncertainty analysis and uncertainty management and reduction for energy and environmental projections.

ENV 304/ECO 328/EEB 304/ WWS 455 Disease Ecology,Economics, and Policy (Fall 2015)

Bryan T. Grenfell and C. Jessica E. Metcalf

The dynamics of the emergence and spread of disease arise from a complex interplay between disease ecology, economics, and human behavior. Lectures will provide an introduction to complementarities between economic and epidemiological approaches to understanding the emergence, spread, and control of infectious diseases. The course will cover topics such as drug-resistance in bacterial and parasitic infections, individual incentives to vaccinate, the role of information in the transmission of infectious diseases, and the evolution of social norms in healthcare practices.

WWS306/ ECO 329/ ENV 319 Environmental Economics (Fall 2015)

Smita B. Brunnermeier

Course introduces use of economics in understanding both the sources of and the remedies to environmental and resource allocation problems. It emphasizes the reoccurrence of economic phenomena like public goods, externalities, market failure and imperfect information. Students learn about the design and evaluation of environmental policy instruments, the political economy of environmental policy, and the valuation of environmental and natural resource services. The concepts are illustrated in a variety of applications from domestic pollution of air, water and land to international issues such as global warming and sustainable development.

LAS 505/ENG 506/ARC 540/HUM 505/ URB 505 Conflict Shorelines I? Amazonia: A Botanical Archaeology of Genocide (Fall 2015)

Eduardo L. Cadava - Paulo R. Carvalho - Eyal Weizman

This course explores the relations among colonial history, contemporary conflicts, and climate change by examining the political, legal, epistemic, and aesthetic challenges this kind of violence initiates. Reading colonial and urban histories against meteorological and climate data, we use environmental modes of detection and imaging in order to reveal tropical forests to be archaeological resources in which patterns of human intervention and violence can be read. The Amazon is not only an ecological threshold, but also a political one, and it continues to bear the traces of the deadliest land conflicts in Brazil.

Combining an architecture studio with an experimental humanities lab and using a combination of archival resources, colonial era literature, field research and remote sensing mapping technologies, we will travel to the Amazon during the fall break to conduct onsite investigations and to devise novel "testimonial strategies" to corroborate and expand the investigations of the Brazilian Truth Commission

WWS 528d: Public Management in the Age of Digital Technology (Spring 2016)

Steven Strauss

Big data, social media, the internet; in sum, digital technology, is changing the nature of government and leadership in democratic societies. This course will provide students of government with an introduction to the ramifications of digital technology, as well as its underlying technical concepts and infrastructure. This course will emphasize how the changing technological landscape can be used to drive performance improvement and innovation in government. We will discuss what digital technology means for leaders in the public sector, and how its potential can be better used to serve the public. The course will rely on the case study method.

WWS 571c: Topics in Devt: Global Challenges of Infection, Burden and Control (Spring 2016)

Adel Mahmoud and Bryan Grenfell

This course explores the biological, public health and global dimensions of infectious disease. The expanding threat of Infectious disease, whether naturally occurring, emerging or intentional is global, affecting both developing and developed countries. We will analyze the basic features of human-microbe interactions by examining several viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. The emphasis will include biology, burden of illness and domestic and global forces shaping their expanding threat and compromising adequate responses. Details of control strategies including chemotherapy, vaccines and environmental changes will be presented and debated. Attention, also, is devoted to the role of international organizations involved such as WHO, UNICEF, and GAVI as well as the major philanthropies. Active class participation by each student will be required.

WWS 586d: Topics in STEP: Global Environmental Governance (Spring 2016)

Michael Oppenheimer

Examines international law and governance in the context of environmental problems. Considers the need for regulation under conditions of scientific uncertainty in issues such as climate change, bovine growth hormones, GMOs, fisheries management, biodiversity conservation, and ozone depletion. Explores the efficacy of diverse regulatory approaches, mechanisms for scientific advice to policymakers and participation by business firms and NGOs. Considers intersections between environmental regulation (both domestic and international) with trade, investment, and multilateral development and aid programs. NOTE: This course meets at Princeton and NYU, it will meet six times in each location, on Friday afternoons.

WWS 586e: Topics in STEP: Energy Policy & Energy Technologies (Spring 2016)

Fabien Wagner

Energy is central to addressing major challenges of the 21st century. This course reviews and analyzes both national and international energy policies and policy options in view of : (a) available and emerging technologies, (b) environmental challenges, (c) economic and political constraints. Students will encounter a variety of policy assessment methods and tools, and apply them in the context the following thematic clusters: fossil fuel resources ; energy efficiency ; distributed energy and renewables ; transportation and mobility ; nuclear energy ; R & D, subsidies and diffusion. The course draws on examples from the US, Europe, China and India.

WWS 594a: Behavioral Economics (Session I) (Spring 2016)

Susanne Neckermann

This course will explore a variety of policy-relevant insights from experimental economics and behavioral economics. We will talk about the experimental methodology to uncover facts, and we will look at a number of experimental studies, both from the lab, but mostly from the field, to see when and under what circumstances behavioral mechanisms matter for policy. Topics include, for example, incentive design (including non-financial incentives and loss-aversion), charitable giving (altruism, public goods), malleable preferences and framing.

Note: This course can be approved for STEP certificate credit with prior approval from the STEP director
and approval of a suitable STEP focused policy paper from within the course.

WWS 594L: ICT and International Development (Session II) (Spring 2016)

Patricia Mechael

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are rapidly growing in significance in sectors such as health, agriculture, finance, education, democracy and governance. The aim of this course is to provide a practical framework for students to apply participatory approaches to ICT to accelerate development with a special focus on low and middle-income countries. Using the "principles for digital development" as a lens, we will explore ways that mobile phones, tablets, sensors, drones and other computer-based applications and tools can be designed and implemented for social change. Cross-cutting themes will include gender, public-private partnerships, economics, and policy dimensions of ICT4D

WWS 594o: Urbanization, Migration and Climate Change: Evidence and Policy (Session I) (Spring 2016)

Deborah Balk

This course will examine two hallmark demographic behaviors of the 21st century: urbanization and migration. It will place those changes in the context of climate-change adaptation and mitigation, and consider policy and programs that address these issues. The course will focus on changes in a developing-country context. Students will learn to examine theory and evidence (data and methods) that is used at the local, national and international level to understand populations at risk in the short and long-run, internal and international migration flows, city-growth and urban dynamism in the context of short and long-term climate-change related hazards (e.g., increased storms and associated flooding, sea-level rise, drought, changes in disease vectors, etc.).

Climate Change Risk Analysis ( via Princeton-Rutgers exchange option)

Professors Kopp and Curchitser

The course will cover the science,economics and public policy of climate change risks.
Thursday 1:10p-4:10p  Civic Square Building 168, Rutgers Downtown campus, New Brunswick
(Registration is via the Graduate School- Princeton -Rutgers Exchange option)

link to exchange