General Information


A 10-point scale will be used to assign grades in the course:  90-100% = A, 80-89.99% = B, 70-79.99% = C, 60-69.99% = D, < 60% = F   In addition, grades of +/- may be used at the discretion of the instructor and in accordance with the policies of the University.  No points will be added to your score.


Quizzes, homework, web exercises              20%

Poster                                                             10%

Review paper                                                 20%

Midterm Exam                                              25%

Final Exam                                                    25% (not comprehensive)

Honor Code: You are expected to do your own work at all times in the course. Any representation of other's work as your own (on anything that is graded, including tests, papers, homework, quizzes, etc.) is a violation of the Honor Code of the University. You are required to report all violations to the instructor, and they will be reported to the Honor Committee. Keep all of your graded work during the semester; grading mistakes will be corrected if students can provide evidence. Note that the instructor will also photocopy exams before they are returned. 

Attendance: Attendance is strongly encouraged but will not be graded directly. There will be no make-ups of any material, so you are responsible for obtaining any information you miss because of an absence.

Disabilities: If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 993-2474.  All academic accommodations must be arranged through the DRC.

Quizzes, homeworks, web exercises: Quizzes will be given approximately weekly.  You MUST purchase a blue book (large format) for the quizzes; we will use these all semester and you MUST HAVE A BLUEBOOK TO TAKE A QUIZ. Some of the quizzes will be based on essays from various sources and available as a packet from the Bookstore. Some will be based on assigned readings from other sources or websites.  Essays and articles will be assigned for reading in advance and will relate as much as possible to the material covered in the lecture. Some quizzes will be unannounced ("pop"  quizzes).

Powerpoint slides: Powerpoint slides used by the instructor will be made available as pdfs on Blackboard but will not be provided by the instructor in any other way. Slides are instructor notes and may be changed by the instructor during the semester, but those on Blackboard will not be changed, so students must attend class to see any updates or changes. Quizzes will also usually be given by ppt.

Makeups of quizzes:  NO MISSED QUIZZES OF ANY TYPE MAY BE MADE UP.  Since only 10 of the 12-14 quizzes given will be used to assign the quiz grade, some quizzes can be missed without penalty.

Preparing for classes: Prior to each week’s lectures, pdfs of lectures will be made available on Blackboard and reading or web assignments will be announced in class. These will follow the schedule in the syllabus, but usually will include additional materials. During one of the classes, there will be a breakout session for group discussion of topics, followed by class discussion and (usually) a quiz.

Preparing for exams: Exam questions will cover the material presented in class, and this material is also discussed in the readings and outlined in slides. Students who attend class regularly, take good notes in class and read the assigned readings are best prepared and usually receive the highest grades in the course. Test format will vary and will include short discussion questions, definitions, T/F, quantitative problems and essays. To receive full credit for written answers, you must be able to explain concepts effectively in writing.

Exam policies: All tests are designed to be completed in an hour, so students will not be permitted to leave the room during an exam. Once students begin to finish exams and leave the room, no late arriving students will be permitted to take an exam. You may be assigned a seat for the exam, and you may be required to show your student ID when you turn in your test. Since the class meets only twice a week, there may be lecture material given following an exam. When graded exams are returned, students have a period of two weeks to obtain clarification from the instructor about exam scores or rectify any grading errors. After two weeks, all scores are final.

Missed exams:  If you anticipate missing a scheduled exam (you have a conflict of some sort), contact the instructor in writing prior to the exam.  In the case of unscheduled absences (sickness, emergency), A MAKEUP EXAM MUST BE ARRANGED WITHIN 24 HOURS AND TAKEN BEFORE EXAMS ARE TURNED BACK TO THE CLASS.  Contact the instructor in writing (email) to explain the situation and schedule a makeup. Exams will not be rescheduled except for valid absences (forgetfulness, laziness, or lack of preparation are not considered valid excuses for failing to take an exam or turn in an assignment, such as a paper or poster, on time).  All makeup exams will be in a format entirely different from that of the regularly-scheduled exams.

Papers: You will be required to write a review of a recently published primary research article on a topic in evolutionary biology. A list of papers is available on the course website and you must choose one of the papers on the list. The instructor will discuss the format to use; a webpage is also available with advice on organizing the papers and posters. You must choose a paper and produce a first paragraph for peer-review by your classmates. A first version of the paper is due before Spring Break. After Spring Break, the graded paper will be returned with an initial grade and editorial comments. A second version is due at the end of the semester, after which time a final grade will be assigned. All due dates are final and cannot be extended. Any student who does not turn in a paper on time will receive a score of zero. YOU ARE ALSO REQUIRED TO SCHEDULE A TIME TO SEE THE INSTRUCTOR AT LEAST ONCE BEFORE EACH VERSION OF THE PAPER IS DUE. The final score on the paper will count 20% of your final course grade.

Posters: You will be required to produce a poster on an evolution topic of your choice (from a list of available topics). The poster will be designed to inform your classmates (and the public) about the topic you choose. Library research on the topic must be shown on the poster and may be required to be submitted prior to the poster session. You should show a list of primary peer-reviewed research articles you found on the subject (at least five).  During the poster session, you may be required to discuss your poster topic orally with a faculty committee. The poster will also be evaluated by your classmates (either with or without this faculty evaluation). Late posters will be evaluated by the instructor and will not receive full credit. The poster will count 10% of your final course grade.

Add and Drop dates: The last day to add classes is January 31, 2012.  The last day to drop the course without the Dean's permission is February 24, 2012.  Selective withdrawal period February 27-March 30, 2012.

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