2000-2001 Williams Fund Recipients

"Watershed Science and Policy" is a new interdisciplinary course developed by Patricia McDowell, Department of Geography.

This class offers insight into the exciting public debate occurring across our region – how to restore endangered salmon populations and manage watersheds with local citizen involvement - in ways that are both environmentally and economically sustainable. The Williams Award funded the development of a course that used this issue to combine the study of science and policy.

Aimed at sophomores and juniors, it is designed as a bridge between the broad general principles conveyed in introductory biology, geography, geological sciences, and environmental studies courses, and the more narrow, technically-demanding 400-level-courses in these areas.

The course focuses on current public policy debates and connects students to internship opportunities with watershed councils, government agencies, and environmental organizations working on salmon recovery and watershed management.

Computer & Information Science
A new course developed by Sarah Douglas, Department of Computer and Information Science, examines the design of "Software for Use by Real Human Beings."

Douglas developed the curriculum first offered Spring term 2001. It is designed to better educate undergraduates who will be involved in the design of software technology for human use. By creatively studying the pedagogy of a profession other than her own – how architects teach design – Professor Douglas is using a new lens to explore her own approaches to teaching and to develop the opportunity for studio-based instruction in computer science – a field that had not previously approached teaching and learning in that manner.

Professor Douglas introduced her new course at a time when attention to human use of these machines could not have been higher.

"We couldn’t," she notes, "have better examples of the poor design than the questionable ‘butterfly’ design of the Palm Beach ballot or the usability of voter machines . . . This illustrates the enormous consequences of poor design and ignorance of the problems of human usability."