Autumn Course Announcement: Natural Hazards and Resilient Communities

See below for more information on this exciting course, open to both undergrads and grad students:

C ENV 490/PBAF 595A: Surviving Disaster: Natural Hazards and Resilient Communities


  • SLN: 22522
  • Seminar Coordinators: David Schmidt (Earth & Space Sciences) and Ann Bostrom (Evans School)
  • Add Codes Required: Contact David Schmidt, for C ENV 490 codes; contact Ann Bostrom, for PBAF 595 codes
  • Credits: 1 Credit (CR/NC)
  • Course Schedule: Tuesdays, 2:30-3:50 – The seminar will meet for 6 consecutive Tuesdays, with an afternoon Q&A session and an evening (7pm) public lecture each meeting day except the first. Students are expected to attend both the afternoon and evening sessions.
  • More Information:


  • The Oso landslide in 2014 and the recent Nepal earthquake reveal the threats posed by natural hazards in the Pacific Northwest and globally.  Natural hazards can cost lives and destroy infrastructure on a monumental scale.  The resulting disasters put entire communities at risk, imposing their most severe costs on the most vulnerable. There is a growing realization that society must anticipate and plan for hazardous events to reduce disaster risk and to enable resilient communities.
  • This seminar series engages five national leaders who bring deep expertise and diverse perspectives to that task.  Our guest speakers will share their knowledge and experiences, providing insights on the hazard sciences and practices of disaster risk reduction.
  • The course format includes an afternoon discussion period where students interact directly with guest speakers, followed by public lectures later that evening.

Course Timeline:

  • October 6: Introductions and orientation, 2:30-3:50pm
  • October 13: “Disasters Fast and Slow; From Catastrophic Landslides to How We Treat our Soil”
    • Dr. Dave Montgomery, MacArthur Fellow, UW Professor of geomorphology, 3 time winner of WA State Book Award, for The Rocks Don’t Lie, Dirt, and King of Fish.
  • October 20: “Ten Years after Katrina–Lessons Learned and Unlearned”
    • Jed Horne, Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist and author of Breach of Faith, declared “the best of the Katrina books” on NPR’s “All Things Considered”
  • October 27: “Social Media Use During Disaster Events: The Evolving Role of the Connected Crowd in Response and Resilience”
    • Dr. Kate Starbird, UW Assistant Professor in Human-Centered Design and Engineering, expert in computer supported cooperative work and the emerging research areas of crowdsourcing and crisis informatics
  • November 3: “How to Lead and Succeed When it Matters Most”
    • Jake Wood, author of Take Command, and Cofounder and CEO of Team Rubicon, a nationwide nonprofit providing military veterans with the opportunity to continue their service by responding to natural disasters and global crises.
  • November 10: “A Tale of Three Seattle Temblors– One Big, One Deep, and One Direct Hit”
    • Dr. John Vidale, Professor at UW, Director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, Washington State Seismologist, Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and recipient of its Macelwane Medal

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