SCIMA 300: Eco: Permaculture

California College of the Arts, Spring 2017

Instructor: Margaretha Haughwout


Meeting Time and Place:
Wednesday 12p-3p
SF Main Campus, E2

Course Website with Course Schedule:

Contact & Connections:
Email: mhaughwout at cca dot edu
Office: cafe
Office Hours: Wednesdays 10:15-11:15a in SF Cafe. or by appointment
Online Office Hours: If you can't make an in-person meeting, don't hesitate to make a Skype appointment with me.
Skype: mllebuffalo

Course Description:
"Permaculture is about values and visions, and designs and systems of management that are based on holistic understanding, especially on our bio-ecological and psychosocial knowledge and wisdom. It is particularly about our relationships with, and the design and redesign of, natural resource management systems, so that they may support the health and well-being of all present and future generations." -- David Holmgren

This class focuses on the basics of permaculture design and permaculture systems. We will focus on ways of tapping into cycles, connections and functions of ecosystems, design methods, ways of understanding patterns in nature, basic climates, trees, water and soils. We will consider local backyard strategies as well as large scale transformations of deserts and areas disturbed by industry. We will also consider earthworks and aquaculture. Students will be tasked with small scale design challenges throughout the semester culminating in practical designs for our San Francisco campus and bioregion.

This Syllabus Is Subject To Change At Instructor's Discretion

Learning + Support

Access and Wellness Services:
CCA: "Students with disabilities, including disabilities that are not clearly evident like chronic diseases or learning disabilities are encouraged to notify their instructor after class or during office hours. CCA will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students should contact Suzanne Raffeld, Director of Access and Wellness Services (email:; phone: 510.594.3775), to answer any questions or for assistance. For more information, consult CCA's webpage at:"

Me: We all learn in our own ways. While many different kinds of engagement with the course material are required, some of us will move through this class more conceptually, some more perceptually, others more technically, still others more rationally. Some will process the material in solitary ways, while others may be quite vocal. I expect to see visual, auditory, and linear learners. Please talk to me as soon as you can about the ways I can support your learning modes. If you do not have a documented disability, but feel you need some help, do remember that the Learning Resource Center is available to you. Your success in this class is important to me.

Learning Resource Center:
If you need any help with this class, whether it be taking notes, completing assignments, or reading texts, your first resource should be the Learning Resource Center, located in Irwin Hall, Room 207. Visit, or call 510.594.3756.
Academic coaching and tutoring at the Learning Resource Center, both for general topics (math, English) as well as dedicated tutors skilled in our topics. Contact the Coordinator of Learning Resources Virginia Jardim ( for more information.
Help documents at
Library (for finding documentation or textbooks for refreshing basic skills)

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the course, students should be better able to:
  • identify recurrent patterns in mathematical or scientific data, and interpret those patterns' meanings accurately in relation to the specific context of the course
  • respond to specific findings/data in meaningful ways, e.g., by generating questions for further investigation or by proposing appropriate solutions to specific problems:
  • a) give priority to evidence in answering questions about scientific and mathematical occurrences
  • b) formulate explanations for findings/data from appropriate scientific or mathematical evidence
  • c) connect explanations to a body of scientific or mathematical knowledge
  • draw explicit connections between this course and their creative work in their majors
  • articulate the importance of the learning they've done in their SCIMA coursework to their understanding of some sociocultural phenomenon beyond CCA

  • Materials:
    - There will be a course reader for this class, available by Jan 24th at Green Copy Books in Oakland. Students will be notified when it is available, and supplied readings online until then.

    Course Requirements + Expectations:

    Grade Breakdown (edited):
    Participation, attendance 20%
    Assignments: 60%
    Exercises and pop quizzes: 20%

    Attendance/Participation: During class we will be engaging an array of visual, textual, technical and hands on material. It is absolutely essential that you attend all classes. Missing one class can seriously impact your holistic understanding of the material. Make your decisions about class attendance very wisely, knowing your ability to complete assignments and follow along with course material hangs in the balance. Attendance will be taken during class. If you are not orally expressive in class, consider taking notes in class, sharing relevant doodles, contributing to online discussions, working in small groups. Also, be sure to inform me in advance if you know you will be unable to attend lectures for medical reasons, due to religious holiday observance, etc. Students who anticipate being absent from class due to religious observance should inform me by email previous to their absence. If you are absent from class, you are responsible for contacting a classmate for the information you missed. Communication is key.

    As outlined in the CCA Student Handbook, attendance in class is mandatory and three or more unexcused absences will result in a failing grade.

    Late Work Policy
    Late work is not accepted.

    Grading Rubric:
    A -- Excellent. Student exhibits exemplary conceptual, technical and perceptual ability implementing projects. Student demonstrates a close reading of the any required materials, and ability to successfully communicate ideas and processes to others. All work is lucid and engaging.
    B -- Good. Student completes assignments, and demonstrates a grasp of most of the main aspects of each lesson, but not all. Is able to communicate information, and step by step processes well. In exams, critical analysis is present. In projects, conceptual, perceptual, and technical skills are present.
    C -- Satisfactory. Student completes the assignment but may lack enthusiasm or drive to push the work into a detailed perceptual, technical, and conceptual space. Student does not demonstrate knowledge of the application or programming environment. In exams, problems exist in student's work, or the work is underdeveloped.
    D -- Unsatisfactory. Student does not complete the work as assigned. Substantial problems exist in student's work.
    F -- Fail. Student does not submit work, or work is below unsatisfactory level.

    Final Grades:
    Your final grade will be based upon the quality of your projects and your participation grade. See Course Requirements above for a point breakdown.

    Digital Device Policy:
    Use of cell phones and laptops for other purposes besides note taking in class significantly detracts your attention from class. For this reason, you may risk being marked absent should you be using your cell phone in class for uses other than class notes or looking things up.

    Academic Honor Code
    Typical: Cheating, plagiarism or fabrication will be dealt with in accordance to the college's policy as outlined in the Student Handbook. You are expected to be familiar with the college policy on dishonesty and disruption of the academic process. If you use outside sources in your work, you must attribute them.

    Me: Find ways to copy work that facilitates learning. If you copy and paste code, make sure it is well commented to show me you understand what the code is doing. If you copy code, make sure to credit the programmer. Try to alter copied code in a way that pushes your understanding of how it works.

    Naming Assignment Files
    Students are required to submit assignments electronically to moodle. Assignment file names should begin with the assignment number, an underscore and the student's last name, another underscore, and then their first name:

    Homework filenames should look like this:

    If it is one of the 6 project/ assignments use the following naming schema

    - A1_lastname_firstname.filetype

    If it is an in-class assignment, please name in the following way:

    - C1_lastname_firstname.filetype

    Email Netiquette
    Netiquette, Noun: 1. The social code of network communication. 2. The social and moral code of the internet based on the human condition and Golden Rule of Netiquette. 3. A philosophy of effective internet communication that utilizes common conventions and norms as a guide for rules and standards.
    Please visit: for some tips on appropriate email practices. In your subject header, indicate your course, and a couple of words about your question/comment -- ie:

    subject: SCIMA200 assignment question

    Allow for a 48 hour response time from the professor (if it is urgent, please put URGENT in the subject header for quicker response time)