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Foundations of Environmental Science

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2010
Bolin Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

Monday - Wednesday - Friday 8:00 to 8:50

Dr. Rebecca L Dodge (view Profile)


Course Objectives

To learn about the natural and human components of environmental science; to understand that scientific observations make possible protection and management of Earth’s environment.  Students will be able to 

  • Explain environmental change in terms of continuous natural processes as well as growing human impacts
  • Observe and report on the environment scientifically, using established methods and protocols to ensure accuracy
  • Relate changes in environmental variables in one part of the Earth System to impacts on other systems
  • Recognize real, discrete environmental issues and identify sustainable solutions
  • Reflect on how your analysis of, assumptions about, and perspectives on environmental issues have changed over the period of this course, and how the activities in this course have facilitated this change
Course Expectations

 Course Format:Textbook readings, content lectures, documentaries, in-class projects and presentations, laboratory activities, and individual projects will be the foundation of the class.   Summary course notes will be delivered during lectures and can be downloaded from the web.  Your notes, together with the text, will be the basis for in-class tests.  Laboratory exercises are in the lab notebook you will purchase in lab.  Laboratory tests/quizzes will be based on pre-lab readings and laboratory activities. 


  • Two tests will be given; each test will cover only the new material presented since the previous test.  Tests comprise multiple choice and matching questions, including interpretation of diagrams and graphs. Bring a scantron, a #2 pencil to the exams, and know your student ID#.  Class grades will be given during office hours – or by appointment.  You will be responsible for keeping track of your lab grades.  Make-up exams will only be given when a written excuse is provided.  (10% each of class grade; 20% total)
  • Periodic quizzes will assess class readiness (read the assigned chapters!) and class understanding of DVDs concerning environmental issues.  (5% of class grade)
  • In-class assignments will include two group activities that will be completed and presented in class (PowerPoint presentation). (15% each of class grade; 30% total)  If you miss the day that your group does one of these, you will do one on your own and present it during my office hours.
  • Two individual projects will comprise (10% each of class grade; 20% total)
  • a Journal of newspaper articles about the environment, with comments and self assessment of your new perspectives (weekly journal with 12 entries required).
  • a presentation concerning an environmental “event” and its impact on the environment, such as impacts on human, animal, agricultural, economic, and other systems (PowerPoint presentation).
  • The laboratory grade will be based on quizzes, a lab midterm test, and a lab final test. (25% of class grade)
Final Exam 12/08/2010 8:00 - 10:00
Submission Format Policy

Acceptable format examples for all presentation assignments will be posted on WebCT. Acceptable format examples for the journal assignment will be available for viewing during class and during office hours.  Students are responsible for viewing examples and using acceptable formats for presentations and journals.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

In order to take a make-up, a written excuse must be provided before or within one class period of the scheduled exam.

In order to turn in a late assignment, a written excuse must be provided before or within one class period of the scheduled exam.(

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements


Attendance is required; be on time and do not leave early.  Students with 3 or more unexcused absences will be dropped from the course.  All students should refer to the MSU Student Handbook for university policies related to student responsibilities, rights, and activities.

Other Policies

This syllabus is subject to change.  All changes will be announced in class and posted on WebCT.  Students are responsible for keeping up with the syllabus.

 Grades will be posted on WebCT.  Students are responsible for keeping track of their grades.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at