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 Course Outline
 Course Outline

For 4493

International Forestry & Natural Resources

Spring 2000

INSTRUCTOR:Dr. Thomas Kuzmic

Office: 015 Agricultural Hall

Telephone: (405) 744-5463

E-mail: tkuz@okstate.edu

        Office Hours: An "Open Door" policy is generally maintained.  Afternoons are the best time to drop-in.  Appointments are recommended for extensive discussion.


COLLABORATORS:  Several individuals from the USA and Honduras will work with the class during the semester.  The principal participants include:

        Ing. Manuel Hernandez Paz, Executive Director, Honduran National Forestry Sciences School (ESNACIFOR)

        Ing. Elmer Mauricio Cruz Garcia, General Coordinator of Short-Term Training, Honduran National Forestry Sciences School (ESNACIFOR)

        Das. Ciro Ahmed Navarro, Director, Lancetilla Botanical Garden and Experiment Station (ESNACIFOR).

        Ing. Menelio Bardales, Geographic Information Specialist, Honduran Corporation for Forest Development (COHDEFOR) and member of the OSU Forestry graduating class of 1995.

        Dr. Robert Lowery, Timber Management Project Director, Weyerhaeuser Company (Tacoma, Washington).

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course provides and experiential learning opportunity to examine forestry and natural resource management, use, policy, and historical development at the international level.  Natural, cultural, political, social, and economic elements are integrated in a nontraditional format to stimulate creative exploration and expanding knowledge and awareness of the human relationship with the natural environment on a global scale.  The course includes an eleven-day international travel and immersion component.  Linkages between natural resources and cultural resources in an international setting are examined and compared with our experience in the United States.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: The overarching objective of the course is to provide a nontraditional approach for "internationalizing" students who are interested in global forestry and natural resource issues, environments, cultural underpinnings, and careers.  In a general sense, the course experience is aimed at accomplishing the following:

    • Broaden and enrich the multicultural awareness and ideological foundation of students regarding the global community.
    • Enhance the abilities of students at becoming more effective communicators and members in the global community.
    • Enhance the prospects for students to identify opportunities for further study, professional development, or career advancement in international forestry and natural resource settings.
    • Stimulate a motivation for lifelong, global perspective learning.

We will take a broad view of key forestry and natural resource issues that have global scope, implication, and effect.  As well, we will examine specific case studies and examples by focusing our study and travel on the new World tropics of Latin America, particularly on the Central American country of Honduras.  This will enable us to more closely examine and better understand the linkages between people and natural resources.  Through direct experience, students will be able to effectively express their awareness and understanding of the following points as they apply to the New World tropics and Honduras, and they will be able to extrapolate what they have learned to the global community in general.

    • Regional biogeography and an analysis of ecosystem structure, function, and process.
    • Diversity of forests and associated natural resources, and the diversity of ways that they are viewed, utilized, and managed.
    • Social, cultural, political and economic importance of forests and associated natural resources.
    • Strategies for effective administration and management of forests and natural resources aimed at sustaining the opportunities and benefits associated with them. 
    • Applications of sustainable forestry, agroforestry and agricultural systems.
    • Dynamics of the local, regional, and global forestry and natural resources marketplace.
    • Historical and ideological development, current trends and issues, and the outlook for forests and natural resources.

Finally, students will have an opportunity for cultural enrichment that integrates a blend of experiences in language, ethnology, history, society, and the arts.

COURSE FORMAT: The course is divided into three components.  The First component spans the initial nine weeks of the semester.  During this time, we will develop an overview of international forestry and natural resources issues and management, focusing particularly on the New World tropics of Central America and specifically, on Honduras.  Our weekly class sessions will consist of a combination of lectures, discussions of readings, slides, films, and presentations by guest speakers.  A portion of each class will be devoted to some basic "survival" language and cultural training, preparations for international travel to Honduras, and development of our contribution to a "Cultural Night" program during our trip to Honduras.  Our goal during the first component will be one of addressing each of our course objectives and developing a preparatory foundation for further study of the linkages between people and natural resources during our trip to Honduras.  Also, each student will formulate a course contract during this first component.  A major component of the course contract will be the development of a "Student Portfolio."

The second Component of the course involves eleven days of travel in Honduras.  This experiential component will include interactions with Honduran natural resource agency professionals, non-government organizations, academicians, entrepreneurs, industries, laborers and others in a variety of natural settings, forestry and agroforestry operations, the marketplace, and urban and rural communities.  Dr. Kuzmic will lead the trip and we will be joined by some of our collaborators including Ing. Menelio Bardales, Dr. Robert Lowery, and Faculty members from the Honduran National Forestry Sciences School will also participate in various components of our trip.

The third component of the course, spanning the last six weeks of the semester, focuses primarily on independent work on student portfolios, experience-sharing among class participants and the campus community through an "open house" and completion of student course contracts.

LANGUAGE & CULTURE: Language and cultural training will be provided as a component of our weekly class sessions, and you will have a splendid first-person experience with language and culture during our international trip.  Our goal is to attain a basic "survival-level" of use of the Spanish language and to become sensitive to some important cultural norms of Latin America in general, and Honduras in particular.  Themes for our various sessions will include the following:

    • Basic elements of grammar and pronunciation
    • Meeting and greeting people
    • Key salutations, courtesies, requests and responses
    • Getting around (airport, customs, town, hotel, etc.) and asking for necessary services
    • Foods, beverages and restaurants
    • Forests, trees and natural resources

Realizing that course participants will vary in their background and competence in Spanish (from "none" to "experienced") this training will be relaxed and paced accordingly.  It is meant to be enriching, educational and fun!  Your ability (or lack of ability) with the Spanish language will not affect your grade for the course.  Students with competency in Spanish may be asked to assist in various role-playing and interactive dialogue activities during the weekly training.

CULTURAL NIGHT PROGRAM IN HONDURAS: We will participate in a "Cultural Night" program during our visit to the Honduras National Forestry Sciences School on our trip.  Their students will provide an array of song, dance, and skits characteristic of the diverse cultures of Latin America.  We are invited to reciprocate by providing a similar "short" program on our diverse culture (past or present) in the USA.  We will discuss and plan our presentation as a group during our regular class sessions prior to our trip.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL PLANNING: A component of each weekly class session will be devoted to discussing international travel planning and considerations.  We have already discussed several important details regarding passports; necessary immunizations for travel to Honduras, airline reservations, our trip budget, payment deadlines, and dates of our Honduras trip at our group meetings during the previous Fall semester. We will discuss specific details of our travel itinerary in Honduras during the first few weeks of the class.  Additional information, guidelines and recommendations on the following topics will be provided:

    • General behavior and presence in a foreign setting
    • Safety, security, health and sanitation issues
    • Medical insurance and liability
    • Precautions with water, foods and beverages
    • Handling currency (purchases, exchange, safeguarding, etc..)
    • Appropriate clothing and dress
    • Checklist for luggage and tips for packing

PASSPORT AND IMMUNIZATION RECORD: Please remember to bring your passport and immunization record to Dr. Kuzmic so that copies can be made prior to our Honduras trip.  Each student will be given a laminated copy of each, Dr. Kuzmic will keep copies of each in his travel file, and a copy of each participant's passport will also be sent to the U.S. Consulate in Honduras along with a copy of our travel itinerary.

STUDENT COURSE CONTRACT & PORTFOLIO: Each student will work with                 Dr. Kuzmic in articulating a course contract for developing and completing a portfolio of their academic experience in FOR 4493.  Though each student's portfolio will be somewhat unique and tailored to individual interests, all course contracts will incorporate the following elements:

    • Statement of personal objectives for taking this course
    • Personal Journal for all elements of the course experience (ie. Class sessions, the trip to Honduras, meetings with Dr. Kuzmic, after-trip group discussions, campus-wide open house, etc..).  Students should utilize a bound notebook or traditional diary log for recording "hand-written" observations, insights, key ideas, important information, questions, summaries of experiences, etc, on a regular basis (preferably, soon after they occur). 
    • Written Component: Students will be formed into two-person teams, and each team will prepare two essays related to our international experience in Honduras, suitable for inclusion as "chapters" in a "class book" to be posted on the website for this course.  Each student will have the responsibility for being the principal author for one essay and serving as the second author for their other team essay.  The essays should take a multiple perspective approach.  First they should serve as a "travelogue" reviews of our daily academic activities during our Honduras trip.  Also, the essays should incorporate in-depth discussions and analyses of important ideas, issues, management approaches, problem-solving strategies, problems encountered, successes, key statements made by the people that we meet, and other pertinent "take-home messages" that emerge through our experiences in Honduras.  Finally, the essays should incorporate the themes, ideas, and main points brought in the "required readings" from the first nine weeks of the course, as appropriate.  Team members are expected to collaborate in order to thoroughly and effectively cover their topics, consulting with Dr. Kuzmic and seeking out fellow classmates as necessary to acquire the full detail of the "whole story."  Each essay should range in length from 6-10 typed pages, double-spaced (submitted as hard copy and on diskette). 
    • Creative Component:  Students will be formed into three four-person teams to work collaboratively on creative components aimed at disseminating our course experiences.  Sharing what we have learned and experienced with others is an important element of fulfilling our course objectives.  The three creative components are:
      • Update and expand our existing Honduras Project website to include our 2000 experience and the current international program of the Forestry Department.
      • Produce an edited and narrated videotape program of the Honduras Trip.
      • Develop, plan, and coordinate our class contribution to the "Cultural Night" program to be held in Honduras during our trip and an "open house" for the OSU campus community to be held after the trip.

      Each student should prepare a short statement about their creative component for inclusion in their portfolio.

    • Summary Evaluation (2-3 typed pages, double-spaced) of your course experience as gauged by:
      • your assessment of your fulfillment of the course objectives
      • the important and value of this international experience to your education and your life, in general.
      • the key "take-home message" from the experience.