Spring 2010 CHEM106 General Chemistry II – Environmental Chemistry (Owens)

This syllabus is a living document; students must check the syllabus posted on the Department web site http://chem.winthrop.edu/ for any changes prior to every class attendance

  • Two 75 minute lectures per week, three credit hours
  • Dates reflect T, R lecture days for Spring 2010 semester


Instructor: Pat Owens (owensp@winthrop.edu) Phone: three, two, three, four, nine, two, five

  • Office Hours: SIMS312A- MF 2:00-3:00 PM


Course Texts:

  • Environmental Chemistry, 4th ed., Colin Baird and Michael Cann, 2008
  • Chemical Principles: The Quest for Insight, 4th Ed, Atkins & Jones, 2008


Course Objectives:

  • Gain a broad literacy in the molecular basis for relevant environmental issues.
  • Increase understanding of general chemistry and environmental chemistry principles and the application of these to solve specific problems
  • Understand underlying causes and potential solutions for environmental problems that involve the atmosphere, energy, aquatic systems, and toxic substances.


Course Outline: This course provides an introduction to the molecular basis of the environmental problems that our planet faces.  We will focus our efforts on several key areas of interest: energy, atmospheric environmental chemistry, aquatic environmental chemistry, and toxic chemicals.  Both global and regional environmental problems will be examined. The course is divided into three major parts:

  • Environmental Atmospheric Chemistry - Global warming, ozone depletion, photochemical smog, particulates and acid rain.
  • Energy - Resources, production, fossil fuels, nuclear and other energy sources
  • Toxic Substances and Aquatic Chemistry - Toxic organics, toxic heavy metals, waters


Schedule: Class lectures are scheduled TR at the appointed hour in the appointed room. The course syllabus schedule provides the specific class lecture schedule, topics, announced graded exercises, and assignments.  All course information is posted on the chemistry department's web page (chem.winthrop.edu).


Final Exam: The final exam will be administered from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM on Friday, April 30, 2010.  Students must take the final exam with their section to receive credit.

Class Preparation: You are responsible for all assigned material and for all material discussed in lecture.  You are expected to take detailed notes during each lecture and will be responsible for everything discussed in class throughout the remainder of the course.  For each class I recommend that you do the following:

  • Read assigned lesson for upcoming lecture, take notes
  • Work assigned problems; take whatever time is required to understand and to quickly demonstrate an understanding of the assigned exercises for the upcoming lesson
  • Review previous lecture notes and take whatever time is required to master the material covered in the previous class
  • Rework previously assigned problems


Student Competencies: Assigned chapters, class discussion, homework, problem sets, quizzes, tests, reports, papers, and the final exam will all center on development and evaluation of student competencies. Students should expect to face challenging and unfamiliar questions on all graded work; this is done to focus attention on competencies that students have not yet fully mastered.   Students are urged to not fall behind and to master each competency as soon as it is first examined.


The course web site will itemize chapter sets of student competencies to more effectively focus student study and to allow student self-evaluation of progress. Links to quizzes or tests given to date will be added to the syllabus schedule as they are returned.  Solutions to problem sets and to quizzes will not be posted since more effective student learning occurs through working through these problems individually. Class time will be used to review the quiz and test questions that challenged students most. Periodically, as time allows, graded problem sets will be reviewed in class.



Course Requirements and Graded Exercises

  • Periodic chapter quizzes will be worth 25-40 points each; no makeups will be given.
  • Graded problem sets due at the beginning of class and will be worth 20-30 points.
  • The book report requirement from the selected reading list will be worth 75 points.
  • The research article review will be worth 50 points.
  • Two 150 point exams will be given as noted in the syllabus; no makeups will be given.
  • A research paper is required and will be worth 200 points.
  • The final exam will be worth 300 points. Students must take the final exam during the scheduled class final exam period to be eligible to earn credit for this course.


Grades: Percentages will be calculated based upon total earned points divided by total points tested. You must score better than 50% on the final exam to pass the course.  You must score an A on the final exam to earn an A in the course.  The following grade range will be used: A = 93-100%; A- = 88-92%; B+ = 85-87%; B = 80-84%; B- = 76-79%; C+ = 72-75%; C = 66-71%; D = 56-65%; F = <56%. Since the CHEM 106/108 combination represents a General Education requirement, CHEM108 must be completed and passed in order to receive a final grade in CHEM106.  Students who do not pass CHEM108 will receive an incomplete in CHEM106 until CHEM108 has been passed.


Attendance: You are expected to attend all class meetings for the full scheduled time.  A student who is absent for any reason is responsible for obtaining the assignments from the instructor or a classmate. Roll will be taken occasionally and the attendance practices of students will be taken into account when final grades are assigned. Absence from a test or quiz without a written doctor's excuse or similar external agency valid documentation is inexcusable.  An unexcused student absence will result in a zero for the missed grade AND a deduction of 20-100 points (determined by the weight of the missed test) from the student's previously earned points in the course.  For excused absences, missed exercises will not be included for neither earned nor total points when calculating overall course grades. Makeup tests and quizzes will not be given.


General Education Requirements: CHEM 106 and the co-requisite CHEM 108 together fulfill four hours of general education requirement for natural sciences. Listed below are Winthrop’s seven fundamental student learning outcomes for natural science courses as well as examples of how they will be fulfilled in CHEM 106 and 108. 


Students should be:

    1. Conversant with a few fundamental concepts from among the three main areas of natural science, including earth, life, and physical sciences. (e.g., stratospheric ozone depletion, tropospheric smog formation, dose-response toxicological curves).
    2. Able to apply the scientific methodologies of inquiry. (e.g., CHEM 108 laboratory exercises and experiments)
    3. Able to discuss the strengths and limitations of science. (e.g., ozone depletion and climate change predictions, uncertainties concerning the degree of climate change and what doses represent non-harmful radiation)
    4. Able to demonstrate an understanding of the history of scientific discovery. (history of human environmental awareness and discoveries of human impacts on planet earth, detection of ozone depletion over poles)
    5. Able to discuss the social and ethical contexts within which science operates. (e.g., exposure of humans to known carcinogens through thoughtless practices; challenges of changing political will to solve environmental problems).
    6. Able to communicate about scientific subjects including (lab courses only) the defense of conclusions based on one’s own observations. (e.g., CHEM 108 laboratory presentations and project reports)
    7. Able to discuss the application of scientific knowledge to the social sciences and to non-scientific disciplines. (the entire course does this)


Students with Disabilities: Winthrop University is dedicated to providing access to education.  If you have a disability and require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact Services for Students with Disabilities, at 323-3290.  Once you have your official notice of accommodations from Services for Students with Disabilities, please inform me as early as possible in the semester.

Student Conduct Code:  “Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals.” The policy on student academic misconduct is outlined in the “Student Conduct Code Academic Misconduct Policy” in the online Student Handbook (http://www2.winthrop.edu/studentaffairs/handbook/StudentHandbook.pdf).