Teaching Resources

Sample Course Content for ENGL 330

ENGL 330: Interdisciplinary Writing

Sample Syllabus

Reading Journal Prompts

Please address the prompt provided each week in composing your journal entries.  Each entry will focus on a reading selection from David Helvarg’s The Golden Shore: California’s Love Affair with the Sea. Your response should be thoughtfully composed, complete, and exhibit proofreading and editing. You should bring in specific examples from the text when appropriate, integrating substantial material from all sections that you have been assigned to read so far. You are strongly encouraged to also incorporate your own observations of, experiences with, and prior knowledge of the California Coast. Ideally, you will weave together examples from your own life with several examples from the text, demonstrating thoughtful and thorough engagement with the reading that is enhanced by exploring it through your own vantage point. It would be most appropriate for you to write in the first person (I, me). Target lengths: 1000 words. 


David Helvarg writes, “So what is it about California, the most populous of the United States, and the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest body of water, covering one-third of the planet that creates such a powerful cross-current of culture, risk, and reward, history, economy, and mythology? (4) Based on what you have read so far, how would you respond to this question? Please imagine that you are composing your response with Helvarg as your intended reader. 


Helvarg writes that “finding that right balance of recreation, conservation, trade, and industry while also restoring and protecting the seas everyone depends on is what life along California’s golden shore is all about” ( 112). Chapters 4 and 5 provide extensive and numerous illustrations of this statement. Please explore these ideas, incorporating multiple examples from throughout both chapters. Please cite page numbers in MLA format for any information you quote directly or paraphrase. Consider the degree to which the proponents of these various interests (recreation, conservation, trade, industry) both overlap with and compete with one another. What is it about California that fosters optimism that these various interests can coexist? 


In Chapter 12, Helvarg quotes the 2004 California Ocean Protection Act, which states, “California’s coastal and ocean resources are critical to the state’s environmental and economic security, and integral to the state’s high quality of life and culture. A healthy ocean is part of the state’s legacy and is necessary to support the state’s human and wildlife populations. Each generation of Californians has an obligation to be good stewards of the ocean, to pass the legacy on to their children” (Helvarg 293) For those who live outside of California, their image of our coast may largely be fed by television, literature, film, art, advertising, music, or even clothing. These cultural products are also integral to our identity as Californians as well. These evolving aspects of California culture are dependent on the coast but also rendered vulnerable by sea-level rise and other effects of climate change. Please explore the various ways in which all aspects of our coast’s vitalityculturally, economically, and environmentallyis dependent upon addressing “some of the biggest challenges in coastal history. . .relating to growth, technology, access, and climate adaptation along the coastline of the world’s sixth-largest economy” (Helvarg 324). What role will the California Coastal Commission, discussed extensively in the Afterword, play in negotiating these challenges? How do we stem the rising tide when, as Helvarg writes, “we know what the solutions are. . . .  The challenge today is not in identifying solutions but in creating the political will to enact them” (Helvarg 306)? As always, please cite page numbers (or Kindle location numbers) in MLA format for any information you quote directly or paraphrase. 

Collaborative Interdisciplinary Project: The Value of the California Coast  

Students will work in groups to produce three research-based texts in different genres and for different audiences focused on a particular issue or topic of mutual interest regarding the value of the California Coast: 

Op-Ed: Using the guidelines provided and The Golden Shore as a source of potential material, write an Op-Ed Column about an issue or topic of mutual interest to your group members related to how we value (or should value) the California Coast. This Op-Ed should be directed at residents of Ventura County, so you’ll want to make sure the issue is relevant to citizens of this region. You should anticipate submitting this piece to the Ventura County Star for publication. The sample op-eds provided in this module may be of use in this regard. You might also be interested in columns provided in this module from Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez on current issues around the California Coast. All members of your group are expected to share an equal role in selecting and researching your topic or issue as well as drafting, revising, and editing this piece. Your piece should reference The Golden Shore as well as at least two other credible sources, ideally from the databases at CI’s Broome Library. Please include one image from one of your group members at the top of your piece. All sources, including images, should be cited at the end of the piece in MLA format. 

Blog Post: Your second collaborative assignment is a blog post aimed more broadly at California residents. Please follow the guidelines provided in this module for an effective blog post. You should have at least six hyperlinks to relevant sources in your post and cite those sources in MLA format at the end of your piece. This post will focus on the same topic you chose for your Op-Ed but follow the audience expectations, context, and delivery conventions of a blog post. Your blog post should reference The Golden Shore  as well as two other credible sources. Please include multiple images from your group members throughout your piece and at least 6 significant hyperlinks to other relevant sites.  All sources, including images and hyperlinks, should be cited at the end of the piece in MLA format. All members of your group are expected to share an equal role in drafting, revising, and editing this piece. Sample blogs and blog posts are provided for your reference. 

Coastal Commission Letter: Your third collaborative writing project will consist of a letter to the California Coastal Commission advocating on behalf of the topic or issue your group has been exploring. All members of your group are expected to share an equal role in drafting, revising, and editing this piece. Your letter should follow the Suggestions for Submission of Written Materials and information on Contacts with Commissioner and ex parte communications posted on the CCC  website. You should also consult ActCoastal, the California Coast Accountability Project, The Golden Shore, the columns by Steve Lopez, and the sources you have gathered already are good sources of information for your letter. All sources should be cited at the end of the letter in MLA format. This module includes resources on writing to public officials. These should be of use in helping you choose the appropriate tone, style, and format for a letter of this nature. Letters on particularly timely or relevant topics may be submitted to the CCC at the conclusion of this learning module.  

Sample Course Content for ESRM 335 The Beach

ESRM 335: The Beach

ESRM 335: The Beach- Sample Syllabus

Group Discussion/Writing Assignment

Discussion Topics  

This week we are talking about threats and stressors to sandy beaches in California. This includes things like illegal sand mining, plastic pollution, coastal armoring, sea-level rise, oil spills, beach grooming, the coastal development pinch, fires, water contamination, excessive tourism (which can also be a pro for economics. . . tradeoffs!), overfishing, driving on the beach, power plant construction, and much more. We don’t have time to cover them all, but this week and next week we will be highlighting a few of them. Discuss with your group the threats and stressors facing your assigned international beaches. Draw connections to what you’ve learned in class and do your own research. Respond to each other (at least 2 conversations). Be sure to ask questions of each other, engage in conversation, and really dig into the material. You should be starting to round out your knowledge of your international location in terms of the physical characteristics of the beach, the value of the beaches in terms of ecology and culture, economics, health, and well-being, etc., and the threats to your location are facing. How do these compare to California? How are they different? Are there other things that are culturally important in your area or unique threats that we haven’t covered for California? Now is the time to explore! 

* * * 

This week you will be thinking about what we mean when we say “the California Imaginary.” Discuss how beaches have contributed to the California Imaginary as you understand it. Be sure to include aspects of your assignments this week. Think about how things like beach music, sports (surfing, volleyball, skateboarding, paddle boarding, skimboarding, paddle ball, spike ball, sailing, etc.), quality family time, dance, health and well-being, food, philosophy, fashion, etc. all contribute to the quintessential California Culture. Relate what you’ve learned to the “Imaginary” of your assigned country. What aspects of the coast or beach contribute to the culture in your country? Critically think about how people’s perception of your country, or particular beaches in your assigned country, are formed from coastal or beach-related things. Write a 400-600 word discussion on this topic. Be sure to Compare and Contrast California’s Imaginary with your assigned country’s Imaginary. 

Helpful References

Reference Material

Anderson, R. B. (2022). The taboo of retreat: The politics of sea level rise, managed retreat, and coastal property values in California. Economic Anthropology. doi:10.1002/sea2.12247

Anderson, R., Patsch, K., Lester, C., & Griggs, G. (2020). Adapting to shoreline retreat: Finding a path forward. Shore & Beach, 88(4), 1-21.

Auerbach, J. & Duthie, S. (Directors). (2016). Rising tides [Film]. Lazarus Films, and Green Leaf Productions, (Producer): Angry Monkey Entertainment and Cinema Libre Studio.  

Baldacchino, G. (2010). Re-placing materiality. Annals of Tourism Research, 37(3), 763-778. doi:10.1016/j.annals.2010.02.005 

Barnard, P.L., Allan, J., Hansen, J.E., Kaminsky, G.M., Ruggiero, P., & Doria, A. (2011). The impact of the 2009-10 el Niño Modoki on U.S. west coast beaches. Geophysical Research Letters, 38(13), n/a-n/a. doi:10.1029/2011gl047707 

Brown, B. (Director). (1965). The endless summer [Film]. Bruce Brown Films: Bayview Entertainment, EuroVideo, Monterey Media, Image Entertainment, Video Film Express, and Columbia Pictures. 

Bukowczyk, J.J. (2016). California dreamin’, whiteness, and the American dream. Journal of American Ethnic History, 35(2), 91-106.  

California Coastal Commission(2019). Our mission. https://www.coastal.ca.gov/whoweare.html 

California State University Channel Islands. (2020). Fall Enrollment Snapshot. https://oneci.csuci.edu/t/IRPEGuest/views/FallEnrollmentpublic/EnrollmentDashboardiframeSizedToWindow=true&:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no 

Curtis, D.J. (2009). Creating inspiration: The role of the arts in creating empathy for ecological restoration. Ecological Management & Restoration, 10(3), 174-184. doi:10.1111/j.1442-8903.2009.00487.x 

Curtis, D.J., Reid, N., & Ballard, G. (2012). Communicating ecology through art: What scientists think. Ecology and Society, 17(2). doi:10.5751/es-04670-170203 

Defeo, O., McLachlan, A., Schoeman, D.S., Schlacher, T.A., Dugan, J., Jones, A., Lastra, M., Scapini, F. (2009). Threats to sandy beach ecosystems: A review. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 81, 1-12.  

Delestrac, D. (Director). (2013). Sand wars [Film]. In La Compagnie des Taxis-Brousse and Rappi Productions (Producer): Green Planet Films, NHK BS1, and PBS International. 

Dugan, J.E., Emery, K.A., Alber, M., Alexander, C.R., Byers, J.E., Gehman, A.M., McLenaghan, N., & Sojka, S.E. (2017). Generalizing ecological effects of shoreline armoring across soft sediment environments. Estuaries and Coasts, 41(S1), 180-196. doi:10.1007/s12237-017-0254-x 

Gesing, F. (2017). Whose beach, which nature? Erosion control and the coproduction of coastal nature cultures in Aotearoa New Zealand. – In Dürr. E. & Pascht, A. (eds.): Environmental Transformations and Cultural Responses: Ontologies, Discourses, and Practices in Oceania. – New York: 125-156.  

Griggs, G. (2005). The impacts of coastal armoring. Shore and Beach, 73(1), 13-22.  

Griggs, G. (2010). Introduction to California’s Beaches and Coasts. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press.  

Griggs, G. (2014). Our ocean backyard: collected essays (Vol. 1): CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 

Griggs, G. (2017). Coasts in Crisis: A global challenge. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.  

Griggs, G., Davar, L., & Reguero, B.G. (2019). Documenting a century of coastline change along central California and associated challenges: from the qualitative to the quantitative. Water, 11(12). doi:10.3390/w11122648 

Griggs, G., Patsch, K., & Savoy, L. (2005). Living with the Changing California coast: University of California Press. 

Griggs, G., & Patsch, K. (2019). The Protection/Hardening of California’s Coast: Times Are Changing. Journal of Coastal Research, 35(5), 1051-1061. doi:10.2112/jcoastres-d-19a-00007.1

Griggs, G., Patsch, K., Lester, C., & Anderson, R. (2020). Groins, sand retention, and the future of Southern California’s beaches. Shore & Beach, 14-36. doi:10.34237/1008822

Griggs, G., & Russell, N. (2012). City of Santa Barbara sea-level rise vulnerability study. Prepared for California Energy Commission. Report: CEC-500-2012-039. https://research.fit.edu/media/site-specific/researchfitedu/coast-climate-adaptation-library/united-states/west-coast-amp-hawaix27i/california—southern/Griggs-et-al.–2012.–Santa-Barbara-SLR-Vulnerability.pdf 

Griggs, G.B. (2015). Lost neighborhoods of the California coast. Journal of Coastal Research, 31(1). doi:10.2112/13a-00007.1 

Griggs, G.B., & Patsch, K. (2018). Natural changes and human impacts on the sand budgets and beach widths of the Zuma and Santa Monica littoral cells, Southern California. Shore and Beach, 86(1), 3-16.  

Gunawardena, S., Weber, R., & Agosto, D.E. (2010). Finding that special someone: interdisciplinary collaboration in an academic context. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 51(4), 210-221.  

Helvarg, D. (2016). The golden shore: California’s love affair with the sea (Reprint edition ed.): New World Library. 

James, R.J. (2000). From beaches to beach environments: linking the ecology, human-use and management of beaches in Australia. Ocean & Coastal Management, 43, 495-514.  

Johnson, W.R. (2016). Why engaging in the practices of science is not enough to achieve scientific literacy. The American Biology Teacher, 78(5), 370-375.  

Kalina, B. (Director). (2013). Shored up [Film]. Mangrove Media (Producer). 

King, P. & Symes, D. (2003). The potential loss in gross national product and gross state product from a failure to maintain California’s beaches. A Report for the Department of Boating and Waterways. Sacramento, CA. http:// userwww.sfsu.edu/~pgking/pubpol.htm. 

King, P.G., Nelson, C., Dugan, J.E., Hubbard, D., Martin, K.L., & Battalio, R.T. (2018). Valuing beach ecosystems in an age of retreat. Shore & Beach, 86, 45-59. 

Knight, B., & Rummel, T. (Directors). (2014). DamNation [Film]. Patagonia Films, Stoecker Ecological, (Producer): United People. 

Lafferty, K. (2001). Birds at a southern California beach: seasonality, habitat use and disturbance by human activity. Biodiversity and Conservation, 10, 1949–1962.  

Lazrus, H. Shifting tides: climate change, migration, and agency in Tuvalu. In S.A. Crate & M. Nuttall (Eds.), Anthropology and Climate Change: From Actions to Transformations (pp. 220-227): Routledge. 

Lemarie, J. (2015). Rhythms and cycles in Surf City USA®: commercializing surfing in southern California. Academia.com, 2015.  

Malloy, C. & Johnson, J.  (Directors). (2004). A Brokedown Melody [Film]. Woodshed Films Inc (Producer): Studio 411 & Wasserman Media Group. 

Malloy, K. (Director). (2017). Fishpeople [Film]. Patagonia Films (Producer). 

Malm, A. (2012). Sea wall politics: uneven and combined protection of the Nile delta coastline in the face of sea-level rise. Critical Sociology, 39(6), 803-832. doi:10.1177/0896920512437054 

Marino, E., & Schweitzer, P. (2016). Speaking again of climate change: an analysis of climate change discourse in northwestern Alaska. In S.A. Crate & M. Nuttall (Eds.), Anthropology and Climate Change: From Actions to Transformations (2nd ed., pp. 200-209): Routledge. 

Meares, H. (2020). A look back at California’s long-lost African American beaches and vacation spots. LA Magazine. https://www.lamag.com/culturefiles/african-american-beaches-leisure-history/ 

Melius, M., & Caldwell, M.R. (2015). 2015 California coastal armoring report: Managing coastal armoring and climate change adaptation in the 21st century: Stanford Law School. https://law.stanford.edu/wp–content/ uploads/2015/07/CalCoastArmor–FULL–REPORT–6.17.15.pdf 

Miller, J.D. (2012). What colleges and universities need to do to advance civic scientific literacy and preserve American democracy. Liberal Education, 94(4).  

Nichols, M.M. (1989). Sediment accumulation rates and relative sea-level rise in lagoons. Marine Geology, 88, 201-219.  

Orme, A., Griggs, G., Revell, D., Zoulas, J.G., Chenault Grandy, C., & Koo, H. (2011). Beach changes along the southern California coast during the 20th century: A comparison of natural and human forcing factors. Shore and Beach, 79(4), 1-13.  

Osbaldiston, N. (2018). Towards a Sociology of the Coast: Our Past, Present, and Future Relationship to the Shore. London: Pelgrave Macmillan. 

Patsch, K., & Griggs, G. (2006). Littoral cells, sand budgets, and beaches: Understanding California’s shoreline. Retrieved from Sacramento, California.

Patsch, K., & Griggs, G. (2006). Development of sand budgets for California’s major littoral cells: Eureka, Santa Cruz, Southern Monterey Bay, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica (including Zuma), San Pedro, Laguna, Oceanside, Mission Bay, and Silver Strand Littoral Cells. Sacramento, CA: California Coastal Sediment Management Workgroup

Patsch, K., King, P., Reineman, D. R., Jenkins, S., Steele, C., Gaston, E., & Anderson, S. (2021). Beach Sustainability Assessment: The Development and Utility of an Interdisciplinary Approach to Sandy Beach Monitoring. Journal of Coastal Research, 37(6). doi:10.2112/jcoastres-d-20-00174.1

Peralta, S. (Director). (2001). Dogtown and Z-Boys [Film]. In Agi Orsi Productions and Vans (Producer): Cinema Mondo, Cinemien, Fandango, Sony Pictures Classics, Homescreen, Mongrel Media, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 

Pilkey, O. H., & Cooper, J. A. G. (2014). The Last Beach. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press. 

Pilkey, O.H., Neal, W.J., Kelley, J.T., & Cooper, J.A. (2011). The world’s beaches: A global guide to the science of the shoreline. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press. 

Pughe, A. D. (Director). (2019). A Voice for the Ocean [Film]. Patagonia Films. 

Resing, C. (Director). (2004). Coastal Clash [Film]. PBS. 

Nixon, R. & Stevens, F. (Directors). (2014). Mission Blue [Film]. Insurgent Media. 

Ropp, S. (2019). The child and the Latina immigrant: Reimagining the southern California imaginary in Héctor Tobar’s The Barbarian Nurseries. Western American Literature, 53(4), 469-495. doi:10.1353/wal.2019.0001 

Runyan, K., & Griggs, G.B. (2003). The effects of armoring seacliffs on the natural sand supply to the beaches of California. Journal of Coastal Research, 19(2), 336-347.  

Schlacher, T.A., Dugan, J., Schoeman, D.S., Lastra, M., Jones, A., Scapini, F., McLachlan, A., Defeo, O. (2007). Sandy beaches at the brink. Diversity and Distributions, 13(5), 556-560. doi:10.1111/j.1472-4642.2007.00363.x 

Schwab, G. (2012). Imaginary ethnographies: Literature, culture, and subjectivity. New York: Columbia University. 

Schwartz, B. (2014). Communicating science through the performing arts. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 39(3), 275-289. doi:10.1179/0308018814z.00000000089 

Steinhardt, K., & Griggs, G. (2017). The edge: The pressured past and precarious future of California’s coast. Craven Street Books. 

Stevens, F. (Director). (2016). Before the Flood [Film]. Appian Way Productions, RatPac-Dune Entertainment. 

Sun, A. (Director). (2013). Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch [Film]. Sunshine Films. 

Vitousek, S., Barnard, P.L., Limber, P., Erikson, L., & Cole, B. (2017). A model integrating longshore and cross-shore processes for predicting long-term shoreline response to climate change. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 122(4), 782-806. doi:10.1002/2016jf004065 

Voelz, J., Saldívar, R.N., & Bieger, L. (2013). The imaginary and its worlds: American studies after the transnational turn. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College Press. 

Woods, T. (Director). (2011). White Wash [film]. Trespass Productions: Virgil Films & Entertainment.