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Environmental Science
(BIOL 15100)

Fall 2007

Instructor: Dr. Susan Allen-Gil  Class Pictures Efficiency Demos
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Office: 253 Center for Natural Sciences 
Phone: 274-1066 
Email: sallen@ithaca.edu
Office hours: W 11:00-1:00 or by appointment 

General Information The underlying theme of Environmental Science is the effect of human societies on the environment, and how individual human and societal behavior can be modified to minimize the deleterious effects on the environment.  This course will focus on the biological principles fundamental to understanding human impact on the environment. We will discuss how human activities modify the environment and how these effects can be reduced through changes in individual and societal behavior.  The approach used in this course will be interdisciplinary, tying together the political, social, economic, and ethical aspects of environmental studies with the biological and chemical principles.  The lectures will be centered on specific issues in environmental science, such as demography, pollution, and sustainability. The labs will be field-based hands-on experiences designed to expose students to environmental principles and methods to study them.

The course format is a combination of lecture, laboratory, discussion, projects and assignments.  The lectures are intended to enhance the material covered in the text, not duplicate it.  Students are expected to read the text prior to the class period, and come to class with any topics for which they would like clarification or discussion. 

There are several assignments in addition to the lecture material, assignments and required readings (see Assignments Section on course web page). Also, every student will be required to provide an environmental update once during the semester.

  Example ImageLecture& Lab Schedule
 . (PDF)
  Example ImageGoals & Rules
  Example ImageGrading
  Example ImageWriting Tips and Evaluation
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Web Resource Links
Access via WebCT
(password protected)
Example Image Assignments, Readings,
  Lecture Notes, Review Sheets,
  & Past Exams



Evaluation: (we will collectively determine the % of final grade)

Quests: 4 Short tests on lecture & readings
Written assignments (5)
Laboratory reports (6)
Participation, engagement & initiative
Final Assessment

Goals & Rules

My goal for this course is to provide you with broad and yet detailed knowledge of environmental issues, particularly of the scientific concepts behind the issues.  Additionally, I aim to encourage you to think critically about these issues, to explore different environmental career options, and to produce your highest quality work possible.

While the primary goal of the course is to provide a comprehensive and interdisciplinary survey of environmental issues, a considerable emphasis will also be placed on analysis of complex issues and on written and oral communication.  Spelling, grammar and style will factor into the grading of all written assignments. Assignments will be returned ungraded if they contain excessive spelling, grammar, or style errors.  The errors must be corrected before a grade will be given.  This course is intended for environmental studies majors and minors, and other students with a serious interest in this subject.  You are expected to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week on this course.

Regular class attendance is expected.  If you miss class, you are still responsible for any assignments announced and for all material presented during class.  It will be very difficult to get a grade better than a C in the course without attending class consistently.  Missing a test during an unexcused absence will result in a zero grade for that test.  For an unexpected absence, you must notify me before the test if at all possible.  If you are not physically capable to do so, then you must notify me within 24 hr. of the start of a test. You can phone my number (274-1066) or the Biology Department (274-3161) to leave a message.  Notification does not guarantee my acceptance of your reason for absence, but failing to notify me does guarantee that you will not be excused.  Late assignments will be penalized 10% (1 point of 10) for each weekday past 5 pm on the due date.

Please review the College's definition of plagiarism is it appears in the Student Handbook. I routinely search the web for material I believe to be plagiarized, and report offenders to Judicial Affairs.

Collaborative Projects
In a collaborative project, all students in a group may be held responsible for academic misconduct if they engage in plagiarism or are aware of plagiarism by others in their group and fail to report it. Students who participate in a collaborative project in which plagiarism has occurred will not be held accountable if they were not knowledgeable of the plagiarism.

Supplemental resources:
This course covers a tremendous amount of information very quickly.  For this reason, you should be aware of the following supplemental resources:

Web Page: Many lecture overheads containing text (not tables or graphs) are available the following week on this page.

Chapter-by-chapter website:
This website includes links to related web sites, tutorial quizzes, critical thinking questions and flash cards for each chapter.  As study guides will not be provided, it is recommended that students use the tutorial quizzes to confirm that you understand the course material.  There is a link to this website from the course webpage.

Style manual:
Strunk, W. and E.B. White. 1979. The elements of style, 3rd edition. Allyn and Bacon, Needham Heights, MA. ($5.95). All you need to have to improve your writing skills.

Web Resource Links
Example ImageLiving in the Environment (Chapter by Chapter) This web site includes links to related web sites, tutorial quizzes, critical    thinking questions and flash cards for each chapter.   As study guides will not be provided, it is recommended that students use the tutorial quizzes to confirm that you understand the course material.

Example ImageInfoTrac - the Online Library  This web site provides direct on-line access to over 500,000 articles in a variety of excellent journals.  A four-month subscription is provided with the purchase of the Miller text.

Example ImageIthaca College Library Reference Material for Environmental Studies This site provides information links to quality environmental-related web sites that have been reviewed by the library staff.  An excellent place to start!

Example ImageIthaca College Library Reference Material for Biology This site provides information links to quality biology-related web sites that have been reviewed by the library staff.  An excellent place to start!

Some excellent sources for environmental updates:
Example ImageEnvironmental News Network
Example ImageEnvirolink News Service
Example ImagePlanetArk Environmental News
Example ImageNational Council for Science and the Environment
Example ImageGrist magazine
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This page maintained by Susan Allen-Gil and Nancy Pierce
Last updated on 8/16/07