Course Overview: The purpose of this course is to engage students in the rebuilding process, including the principles, concepts, processes and practice related to disaster recovery currently used in the United States.

Course Objectives: You should upon completion of this course:

  • Gain an understanding of post-disaster planning;
  • Understand the key elements of comprehensive planning;
  • Engage in effective service-learning;
  • Organize and participate in large-scale community meetings, stakeholder meetings, and meetings with individuals;
  • Be able to communicate in a collaborative work team and;
  • Improve your research and writing skills.

Assigned Reading

  • Daniels, Thomas, John Keller, Lapping, Mark, Daniels, Katherine and James Segedy. 2007. The Small Town Planning Handbook. 3rd Edition. Chicago: American Planning Association. Zoning Ordinance. Harrison County. (copy at
  • Mississippi Smart Code.
  • Community Plans for DeLisle, Eastern, Henderson Point-Pass Christian Isles, Pineville Saucier, and Western:
  • Burby, Raymond J. et. al. 1999. Unleashing the Power of Planning to Create Disaster Resistant Communities. Journal of the American Planning Association. 65.

All of the readings should be complete prior to departing for Mississippi in March

Recommended Readings:

  • Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction. By Jim Schwab, Kenneth Topping, Charles Eadie, Robert Deyle, and Richard Smith.
  • Planning Advisory Service Report 483/484. Chicago, Illinois, American Planning Association.

Class Website

This course is using Basecamp. To log onto the class website go to Over the summer you will need to access the class website frequently, several times a week, to make sure that you are up to date on what is happening with the class. I will be sending e-mail notifications, asking for students to signup for tasks etc. The course website includes to do lists, whiteboard, and messages.

Grading Policy  
Participation 30%
Journal 10%
Class Job 30%
Team Project 30%

Assigned Projects

Participation This is a difficult area to define, but it is crucial to the whole class's experience this quarter. I expect this class to be a major focus of your effort for the term. That means, among other things, being prepared, attending class (and other activities that we schedule), participating constructively in class discussions, volunteering for tasks that will need to be done during the quarter, being flexible, helping out wherever help is needed, and so on. The jobs that need to be done during the quarter will cover a range of skills and will also range from large to very small, so there should be plenty of options for everyone to volunteer. Some examples of the kinds of tasks we'll need to get done during this course include:

  • Scanning photos and maps and putting them up on the class and Harrison County web site,
  • Helping with logistics for the Mississippi trip
  • Helping with logistics for the Harrison County staff visit to Columbus
  • Running errands
  • Gathering information

Keep especially good notes what does and doesn't work as far as course logistics, the technology, the approach - these will go in your journal (see below). Keep track of what you contributions you have made (I may not realize all the things you've done or forget in the rush of other things going on) and include the list as a separate page with your journal when you turn it in. In addition, any behavior before, during, or after the actual travel to Mississippi that infringes on the ability of other students to profit from the course and/or the trip will not be tolerated and will be reflected in your grades. You will be guests in another state and should act in a way so that you will be considered good representatives of OSU. You will also be sharing accommodations and should behave in a way that allows your roommate a reasonable amount of comfort in the lodging. I reserve the right to assign a lower grade (possibly as low as failing) to any student who behaves irresponsibly.

Individual Journals Everyone in class will keep a journal for the entirety of the class (Summer - Fall). This journal is to allow you to reflect on your feelings, thoughts, ideas, concerns and experiences throughout the course. The recording of your experiences will allow you to recognize the learning that is occurring throughout the course. Your first journal entry should follow the first class session. You should write in the journal before we depart for Mississippi. You might choose to share some of your thoughts, perceptions, fears, and hopes about the coast of Mississippi and this class before we depart. During the trip to Mississippi you will need to write in your journal each day, reflecting on the events of that day. Following the trip you should write in your journal on a weekly basis. The journal may include text, photos, drawings, materials you pick up on the trip and so on. The journal should go beyond pure description and include commentary and discussion. In writing about a meeting with citizens for example, students would tell what happened, but then go on to talk about why it happened, who it happened to and why, implications of the meeting, suspicions, doubts, and so on. I suggest that you keep the journal very honestly and completely for yourself, and then edit it if you feel the need for more privacy before you hand it in. At different times in the quarter I will give you lists of questions I'd like you to think about and answer in your journal. The purposes of maintaining a journal are to:

  1. Help you create a record of your experiences in class and on the trips so you can remember details. Finding time to write may be difficult during the time in Mississippi, but you should make every effort anyway. These are the things you will most want to remember.
  2. Help you recognize the system in which things happen and not conclude that incidents are merely isolated events.
  3. Increase the amount of information I glean from the class - every one of you will learn things that I don't during the term and this will give me a chance to pick up on those things too.
  4. Improve the class the next time it is offered. Keep a record of things that worked or didn't work ideas you have to improve things, readings or videos you come across, etc.

Below are some guiding questions that you may choose to incorporate as you share your experiences.

  • How would you describe the problem? How might others describe the problem?
  • Who are the key players/stakeholders?
  • What are some things that come to mind when thinking about this problem?
  • What has caused the problem?
  • What are possible solutions? What are the pros and cons to each solution?
  • How would you implement your determined solution? What challenges might you face in implementation? How will you address those challenges?
  • What skills are you developing that will be useful in your professional career?
  • How has your involvement in this project changed your views of the community?

The journals will be due May 31, 2008. This can be deferred until June 20th if you will be traveling with the group back to Mississippi in June.

Surveys At various times during the term, you will be asked to complete a survey. There are 2 or 3 in total and don't take very long to fill out. These are part of a study to determine your experience in this course.

Team and Individual Projects Each person in the class will be assigned to prepare one or more elements of the comprehensive plan. In addition students will be organized into teams to focus on detailed research and development of a plan chapter. In order to develop a quality plan it is necessary to develop a strong factual basis upon which decisions can be made. This is combined with substantial citizen engagement to determine what the citizens of Harrison County want for their future. By having a thorough understanding of what the citizens want and a strong factual basis this will lead to the development of a quality plan. As part of the travel to Mississippi students will be responsible for setting appointments with key contacts, organizing a stakeholder meeting with key organizations, and organizing two forums for citizens to offer their ideas and opinions.

Course Outline by Date and Topic

  • Thurs., Jan 9, Introduction and Background on Harrison County
  • Fri., Feb 8, First Draft of Background Research Due
  • Sat., Mar 1, Second Draft of Background Research Due
  • Fri., Mar 7, 8:30 am ? Noon, Discussion of Travel to Mississippi - All readings should be complete by this date
  • Sat., Mar 15 - Fri., Mar 21, Travel to Mississippi
  • Thurs., Mar 27, Trip Debriefing: Define Timelines and Tasks; Conference Call with Team Leaders start
  • Thurs., Apr 10, Project Management Meeting
  • Thurs., Apr 17, Project Management Meeting
  • Thurs., Apr 24, Formal Review by Pat Bonck with Harrison County
  • Thurs., May 1, American Planning Association Conference (team work day)
  • Thurs., May 8, Project Management Meeting
  • Thurs., May 15, Project Management Meeting
  • Thurs., May 22, Project Management Meeting
  • Thurs., May 29, Project Management Meeting
  • TBA - June 9th, Travel to Mississippi