1 Geology 101: Earth Processes & Environment, Fall 2015

Syllabus (subject to changes announced in class/e-mail/online)
Geology 101: Earth Processes & Environment, Fall 2015
Dept. of Geology & Physical Sciences, Concord University 4 credits
Place & Time:
Office Hours:
E-mail & Phone:
Course Web Site:
Required Text, Etc.:
Dr. Stephen C. Kuehn (Steve)
Lecture: Science 400 Tu-Th 9:30-10:45 a
Labs: Science 301 Th 12:30-2:20 and 3:00-4:50 pm
Science, Room 106 (the Electron Microprobe Lab)
Tu 11-1, W 9-10 Or, just stop by to see if I’m in (which is a lot). Or, make an appointment.
[email protected]
Environmental Geology by Merritts (ISBN 1-4292-3743-0) & Additional readings on course web site
Mineral Kit
Lab/activity materials to be provided (best to keep labs/HW organized in a binder)
Course description/objectives: Throughout the course we will consider big issues of sustainability related to exponential growth of
human population, energy supply, ongoing depletion of natural resources, and increasing alteration of our natural environment. These
are perhaps the greatest issues that will affect individuals and society this century and beyond. As a result, it is becoming increasingly
important for both the average citizen and scientists to have a modern understanding of Earth processes, time-scales, and
geological/scientific reasoning.
Overall, this course covers major concepts of physical & environmental geology while providing experience with the process of
scientific observation, reasoning, and inquiry. You will develop an appreciation for how we know what we know about the Earth as
well as the numerous connections between people, natural resources, and our environment. You will learn about plate tectonic theory,
the vastness of Earth history, and interconnected Earth systems and processes. You will learn about the properties and formation of
rocks and minerals; about water as both a critical resource and a potential hazard; and about reducing the risks from other natural
hazards like earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides. Toward the end of the course you will also learn about global environmental and
climate changes and their relationship to our use of natural resources.
Overarching Goals and Themes:
1. To develop an integrated and interdisciplinary understanding of the nature of science and scientific reasoning.
2. To use an Earth systems science approach to examine solid-Earth processes (the lithosphere) and how these processes are
related to processes in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.
3. To examine technological, societal, and environmental issues related to natural resources and natural hazards.
4. To develop and use critical thinking skills to investigate the nature of scientific inquiry.
5. To develop lab- and field-based skills related to geologic observation and description.
Participation and Preparation: I expect you to be inquisitive, interested, involved, and respectful of other. The result will be a great
class! The most basic requirements for success include regularly attending class, taking detailed notes, reading the college-level
textbook and other materials, completing college-level laboratory work and homework assignments, and ongoing review and study.
Keep in mind that college-level science courses require a lot more work than high school did. Even though I try to avoid much of the
jargon, the new vocabulary is often like learning a new language. A good rule-of-thumb is to plan on spending at least 2 hours outside
of class on reading, assignments, study, etc. for every 1 hour of time in class/lab. Note that you are responsible for most of the material
presented in the assigned readings (textbook, web sites, etc.), even if it wasn’t discussed in detail in class. Study questions provided on
the course web site will be helpful in guiding your preparation for class time and for exams. Copies of the class PowerPoints will be
posted on the course website. The best plan is to go over the study questions, assigned readings, exercises, and slides
before class. Then, bring these materials and your own questions and curiosity to class. This will have you prepared and
ready to discuss the topics of the day. This will also help us to focus class time where it is needed most, help me to lecture
less, and help you to get more out of the class.
Your grade will be based on quizzes (one most days), in-class/lab exercises, homework assignments, lecture exams
(including a comprehensive final), one lab practical (minerals & rocks), field trip notes & report, and class
participation (includes study guides). Late assignments may be accepted for reduced credit.
Electronic etiquette: Turn off or set to silent all electronic gadgets that are not actually being used as part of the class. You must not
be fiddling with cell phones, pages, music players, etc. during class time. If you bring a laptop it must be used for note-taking or
display of course materials. No Facebook or Angry Birds during class! Access to such devices will be highly restricted during exams.
Disability accommodations: If you are a person with a disability, I would be happy to work with you and the Office of Disability
Services (304-384-6086 http://www.concord.edu/student-affairs/disability-services) to arrange appropriate arrangements. Please meet
with me at the beginning of the term or as early as possible. If you need academic accommodations and are not registered with the
Office of Disabilities Services, please contact the Coordinator, Nancy Ellison at 304-384-6086. Be sure to do this early as it may not
be possible to honor last-minute requests.
Attendance: Regular attendance is essential: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen. Plan to arrive on time and
stay for the entire class. Attendance will be taken regularly via daily quizzes or other in-class work. Therefore absences will directly
affect your final grade, in addition to the effect of lost opportunity for learning. I will give a few more quizzes than will ultimately
count toward your grade. So, if you attend class regularly and well-prepared, the extra quiz points you earn will become extra credit.
Study guides: I will provide you with study questions as we go along, and I have the tendency to prepare my exams out of the study
questions. Therefore, it is very strongly recommended that you write out answers to all of the study guides and also verify the
accuracy of your responses. The study guides are a lot of work to complete, so be sure to start early. The best plan is to bring the
questions to class every day, look them over before doing the related readings, and put time into writing up responses every class day
when the material is fresh in your mind. Use them also to guide your note-taking in class. Know that students who keep up with their
study guides do much better in this course as a result! It is impossible to learn everything the night before the exam! Good grades are
earned and achieved through commitment, hard work, and perseverance.
Exams: Lecture exams will include a mixture of question types – e.g. multiple-choice, label-the-diagram, fill-in, and short essay –
designed to test your understanding of concepts covered in lectures, in-class exercises, discussions, homework, and readings.
Typically, several questions on each exam will relate to photographs or illustrations that will be shown as slides in class. The separate
lab practical (hands-on exam) will focus mainly on applied skills like map reading and rock identification. There are no make-ups for
exams, but you may use the retake instead. There will be a re-take opportunity outside of class for each exam except the final. Be sure
to bring two pencils to each exam. Scantron forms will be provided. All lecture exams are individual work, not group work (i.e. one
brain per test). The lab exam includes both individual and group portions. Cell phones will not be available to you during exam times.
Field Trips: We will be leaving campus and going into the field three times during the term. These trips can sometimes include hiking
on uneven trails, scrambling over rocks, wading in streams, and working in the rain. To help get the most out of the field experiences,
you will be expected to take detailed, neat, legible notes that include sketches when needed. So, bring a notebook! I will also supply
questions that we are attempting to answer, or tasks that we are to complete, for each field stop. Good field notes should include: (1)
Date; (2) Location; (3) General purpose of the stop (4) Notes and sketches – be sure to include the major ideas, observations, and
interpretations; (5) Trip summary – include the overall themes and concepts that link the stops together as well as any additional notes
or comments. You will be preparing a 2 page written report for each trip and turning in your notes, so good notes are essential.
Tutoring: Free tutoring is available on campus on online. (1) On campus tutoring — contact the Academic Success Center
([email protected]; 304-384-6074 http://www.concord.edu/student-affairs/academic-success-center). (2) SMARTHINKING—Free
online tutoring in most subjects, available 24/7; Sign up through MyCU Student Tab.
Academic Honesty and Policy: You are encouraged to discuss questions, ideas, and principles with each other as you study for the
exams and work together in class. However, the ultimate product that you turn in must be your own work in your own words unless I
instruct you otherwise. In addition, you are not to use any materials produced by students in previous semesters of this course. Nor are
you to provide any similar materials future students to see or use. Copying answers from others and duplicating someone else’s work
are strictly forbidden. Cheating or any other form of serious academic dishonesty is reason enough to fail the course or worse. See
academic policy in the CU catalog: http://catalog.concord.edu/content.php?catoid=5&navoid=243
Concord University Honor Code: “As a member of the Concord University Community I will act with honesty and integrity in
accordance with our fundamental principles and I will respect myself and others while challenging them to do the same.” Your
enrollment in this course
indicates that you have
accepted and agree to abide
by the principles of this code.
E-mail communication:
Please be advised that e-mail
is not a secure form of
communication. To best
protect your confidential
educational information, faceto-face communication is
recommended. If you initiate
a request for such information
via your official Concord email address, I will interpret
that request as constituting
permission to release the
requested information to you
via reply to the same e-mail
Geol'101'(1) $ CRN$10251
Geol'101'(1) $ CRN$10251
Daily Course Schedule on Course Web Site:
See also study guides for more details on coverage of specific topics.