Department: BCES
Course Number: BIOL 115
Course Name: Topics in Ecology and Environment
see attached course proposal
This form must be submitted to the Faculty Council on Liberal Learning and Academic Life as part of the submission
Please attach a proposed syllabus for this course and the Undergraduate Curriculum Course Proposal Form.
Please answer the following questions:
This is a new course that we are now proposing for this Area of Inquiry.
1. Name and contact information for the department chair administrating this course.
Harold Cones, 4-7061
2. In any given semester, how many sections of this course is your department willing to offer?
2-4 depending on personnel
3. Why is this course being offered/what is it designed to achieve (Course purpose/goal)?
This course is being offered for nonmajors as a course to use to satisfy the Investigating the Natural
World Area of Inquiry. Students will gain an understanding of how science operates and its role in
modern society and do so using an ecological or environmental topic as the basis, in this case wetlands.
4. All courses must address every objective listed below.
 Understand the process of science and the strengths and weaknesses of this process
 Understand that our present knowledge of the natural world is the result of the progression of scientific
ideas over time
 Apply scientific knowledge to the definition, understanding, and evaluation of issues of contemporary
 Gain an understanding of a body of knowledge in at least one natural science discipline
5. Briefly explain how this class addresses the above objectives.
Students will be introduced to the process of science. The ecology of wetlands use will be explored, with
attention to how changes in their use have occurred over time. Students will gain a perspective on the
presently followed practices and procedures dealing with wetlands and will learn about and evaluate the
formative research work in this field. The role of wetlands in modern societies will be explored. Basic
concepts and processes in the field of biology will be covered as a foundation for the material of this
6. Course Assessment: Identify how this course will accomplish the above objectives (choose at least one).
 Participating in class discussion and debate
 Engaging in teamwork and other collaborative exercises
 Writing analytical or evaluative papers, perhaps incorporating original research
 Making oral presentations
 Performing laboratory experiments
 Conducting data analysis
 Participating in fieldwork
 Other means – please identify
It is anticipated that sections of this course initially will have to accommodate 90 students on average in
order to meet demand. Given this size class the types of assessment done are somewhat limited. Some
collaborative group work, limited class discussion, short papers, and problem-solving activities will be
done. As class size is reduced it is expected that oral presentations and longer analytical papers can be
7. Attach a proposed syllabus, which includes a statement of purpose, course objectives, and how these
objectives will be accomplished.
The attached syllabus is an example of one specific topic/section that could be taught for this course. The
departmental curriculum committee will evaluate all proposed sections of these AoI courses. All
approved sections will have the following purpose and objectives.
to introduce students to a particular area/problem of biology and to use this topic as a way for
students to understand how science works and what the role of science is in modern society.
to learn about a particular biological topic
to understand how science works
to understand what our state of knowledge of this topic is & how it was achieved
to understand the role of science in modern society
to be able to find the information necessary to understand other contemporary scientific issues
Prior to preregistration each semester a list of sections of the courses to be taught will be made available.
Each section will have a specific title and a description of the topic for that section.
8. Please identify and explain if this course contributes to the Foundations of Liberal Learning expectations for:
Information Literacy: students will gain knowledge in a scientific field and about how new knowledge is
acquired in the sciences.
9. Explain how this course connects to Vision 2010 – the CNU Strategic Plan
This course will provide good ways to connect students to science, its process and its role in today’s
society. Current topics will be of interest to students, making it more likely that they will be engaged
with the material. Having faculty members present topics more aligned with their areas of interest and
expertise will be beneficial to both students and instructors. All in all, these courses will be good
additions to the curriculum and they will help prepare students to be informed and aware citizens.
Submission Checklist:
By the deadline, submit a packet with the following documents to the Assistant Dean for Liberal Learning. Please
submit in electronic and hard copy form.
_____ Area of Inquiry Course Proposal Form
_____ Syllabus for the Course
_____ Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Course Proposal Form
BIOL 115
Dr. Rob Atkinson
Science Building 110A
[email protected]
Course description:
The wetland topic will be used to integrate wetlands ecology with general science and general biology concepts. The history
of use of wetlands and of our understanding of the ecology of these habitats will be explored. The research that has
contributed to our contemporary views of wetlands will be used as the basis for learning how the scientific process
contributes to the understanding of the natural world and forms the basis for policy and regulation.
Quizzes each week (60%), Midterm (20%) and Final exam (20%)
Course outline:
Week One:
Week Two:
Week Three:
Weeks Four:
Week Five:
Week Six:
Week Seven:
Wetlands as distinct from other ecosystems.
Wetland hydrology, hydric soils and hydrophytes, a brief introduction
Survey of wetland types: marshes and swamps, tidal and nontidal
Trends in attitudes towards wetlands
History of exploitation
Wetland values to society
Wetland hydrology: How water occurs on landscapes
Hydrologic cycle
The chemistry of water
Overview of soil horizons
Hydric soils
Aerobic and anaerobic soils: what, no oxygen?!?
Cell respiration consuming oxygen
Hydrology limiting oxygen supply
Anaerobic options for bacteria
Sulfur as an electron acceptor
Implications for animal tissues
Muscular systems
Function, oxygen demand, and adaptations
Respiratory systems
Comparison across ecosystems
Implications continued,
Circulatory systems
Comparison across ecosystems
Week Eight:
Week Nine:
Week Ten:
Week Eleven:
Week Twelve:
Hydrophytes: Photosynthesis contrasted with cell respiration
Light reactions
Dark reactions
Light stress and competition in forested ecosystems
Getting the oxygen that nonhydrophytes cannot obtain
Morphological adaptations
Physiological adaptations
Reproductive adaptations
Delineation and gradients
The 87 Manual and delineation procedures: putting the 3 parameters together
Gradients: scientists team with mathematicians to describe ecosystems
Acid soils: bogs, peatlands, tobacco and Manifest Destiny
Salt marshes
Salt stress, diffusion and osmosis
Diversity, productivity and zones
Week Thirteen: Contrasting nontidal and tidal wetlands
Rivers that flood
Tidal Wetlands connected to Chesapeake Bay
Week Fourteen: Great Dismal Swamp
Lake Drummond and geology
Atlantic white cedar swamps: history and restoration
Week Fifteen:
Policy and management implications
Wetland mitigation
An Initiative to involve universities in monitoring mitigation sites
Tiner, R. W. 1999, Wetland Indicators: a Guide to Wetland Identification, Delineation, Classification, and Mapping: Lewis
Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, USA.
Does this proposal affect Liberal Learning requirements? Yes __X___ No ____
Title of Course: Topics in Ecology & the Environment
Proposed Course Number (cleared with Registrar): BIOL 115
Prerequisite Courses: None
Catalogue Description (including credits, lecture, and lab hours): (3,0,3)
Topics in ecology will be used to introduce the process of science and this process will be the overriding theme
of the course. The course will also look at the history of a particular topic and see how the history has helped
to shape contemporary views. Effects on society will be discussed. The various sections will be one-semester
courses with titles that may include: the wonders of wetlands, pollution, global change, and these will be
taught on a rotating basis. Each individual section will go through the departmental curriculum committee for
Is the course cross-listed? If so, what is the number of the other course? N/A
**A proposed syllabus, including complete text and/or reference information, as well
as any relevant information to this decision, must be appended.
NOTE: All affected department chairs must sign approval on last page.
For whom is the course primarily intended? Explain why it should be added to the curriculum.
Non-biology majors as an AOI in Investigating the Natural World.
The course will introduce the process of science using exciting current topics as the means.
If this course is required, append a description of how the course fits into the curriculum. Indicate how
it affects hours required for graduation. N/A
Has this course been offered previously as a special topics course? If so, when? What course number was
used? N/A
Has this course, or one closely related to it, been offered at CNU previously?
If so, is that course currently being offered? How does the proposed course differ? When is the last term the
old course will be offered? N/A
What is the anticipated enrollment per offering for the next three years? 90 per section originally
During which term will this course first be offered?
Fall 2006
Spring 20___
Summer 20___
During which semesters will this course regularly be offered?
Fall 2006
Spring 2007
Summer 20___
Print in the 2006-2007 (academic year) Undergraduate Catalog.
How will the course be staffed?
Various faculty members already teaching in the introductory biology program
Does the course involve a particular classroom, special equipment, or costs beyond those usually associated
with a course at CNU? If so, please explain. N/A
Is the course repeatable for additional credit? If so, is there a limit to the number of times the course can be
repeated? (e.g., applied music courses) NO
If this course is for an Area of Inquiry
a. Identify the Area of Inquiry Investigating the Natural World
b. Demonstrate how your course will meet the objectives of this Area of Inquiry
The various sections of this course will address all areas required of this AOI including: understanding the
process of science including its strengths and weaknesses; how present knowledge is the result of a progression
of scientific thought; applications of the field to contemporary society; gaining understanding of a scientific
This course was approved by:
(Liberal learning core courses must be reviewed by BOTH academic Deans.)
Department(s): (1)
Date: ________
Date: ________
College Curriculum
Date: ________
Date: ________
Date: ________
Undergraduate Curriculum
Date: ________
Changes to the Liberal Learning requirements must be reviewed by the Faculty Senate.
Faculty Senate President:
Date: ________
Date: ________
Distribution by Provost Office following approval:
Department Chair(s), UCC Chair, Deans, Registrar
** If “Do Not Concur” is checked, please attach a statement of explanation.
Rev. 01/26/05
Do Not