CSPS118G: Earth, Life, and Time Colloquium
SEMESTER II: The Evolution of Life and the Natural History of Humanity

Spring 2009
CCC1100 Tuesday, 3:30-4:50
ELT Website: http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite/
Course Website: http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite/syl118GS09.html
ELMS Website: http://elms.umd.edu Course ID 200901_CPSP118G_THOLTZ
Download an pdf file of this syllabus.


Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1216
Phone: x5-4084
E-mail: tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Office Hours: Tue 8:30-11 am or by appointment
Dr. John W. Merck, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1218
Phone: x5-2808
E-mail: jmerck@wam.umd.edu
Office Hours: Thurs 3-5 pm (GEO 1119) or by appointment

Susan Drymala
E-mail: sdrymala@umd.edu
IM Name: paleosuz
Office Hours: Centreville 1217, Tues 2-3 pm

NOTE: It is your responsibility as a student to completely read through and understand this syllabus. If you have questions about it, please contact Dr. Holtz or Dr. Merck. You will be held responsible for following all requirements of this syllabus.

COURSE ORGANIZATION: One meeting per week, four weekend field trips (one required).

REQUIRED READINGS: This semester there are three required texts:

Reading assignments must be done by the classtime listed.

Copyright: © 2009 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. and John W. Merck, Jr. as to this syllabus and all lectures. Students are prohibited from copying and selling course materials, from selling lecture notes, and from being paid to take lecture notes without the express written permission of the faculty teaching this course.

COURSE OBJECTIVES AND PHILOSOPHY: Semester 2 focuses on the patterns and processes in the evolution of Life, and its application in understanding human biology and behavior. We will see how scientists approach this view of life from an evolutionary perspective, especially as it relates to the primary question of the Earth, Life & Time program:

CLASSROOM POLICIES: You should bring the following to every single colloquium meeting:

This semester we will have a number of small-group in-class projects. We expect everyone to help move tables and chairs when necessary for a particular project, and to help restore the tables and chairs to the "neutral" position when we are done. Many hands make light work!

During classtime:

Finally, please do not leave any debris behind: pick up all food/beverage containers, papers, newspapers, etc. near your seat and on your desk when you leave.

ATTENDANCE: Given the nature of the course and program, participation in colloquium meetings is MANDATORY. It is up to you to make certain that your presence has been recorded for every class.

POLICY ON GRADES: There are five components to the grade, each of which is worth a certain percentage of the total. These are Field Trip Report (25%), Quizzes (25%), Small Projects (20%), Family History Take-Home Project (15%); Academic Showcase/Undergradaute Research Day Report (15%). Here are the details:

GRADE SCALE (Course): >=90, A; 80-89, B; 70-79, C; 60-69, D; <60, F. "+" and "-" grades are given to the top and bottom two-point range, respectively, within each grade.

GRADE SCALE (Group Projects): +, 100; check+, 90; check, 80; check-, 70; -, 60; 0, 0 points

EXTRA CREDIT: ELT offers several different means of earning extra credit this semester. You earn 5 points maximum extra credit per item, up to a total of two items (i.e., 10 points total). You may do two items in one category, or one in each.

COMMUNICATION: Because many of our communications will be by e-mail, all students are required to maintain e-mail accounts and arrange for access to the Internet. Although not a course requirement per se, students should get into the habit of checking their e-mail daily. Failure to do so may cause you to miss crucial course information. Here is a list of available computer labs on campus.

ELMS BLACKBOARD SITE: http://elms.umd.edu Course ID: 200901_CPSP118G_THOLTZ
The primary function for the ELMS Blackboard site will be to record your grades, although we will also use it as a secondary site for documents, handouts, etc. We will use the Comments function for graded items to convey information about projects this semester (such as Field Trip Webreports): please look at these for help in understanding your grade and correcting erros. ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: The University of Maryland has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit http://www.studenthonorcouncil.umd.edu/whatis.html.

The University of Maryland is one of a small number of universities with a student-administered Honors Code and an Honors Pledge, available on the web at http://www.jpo.umd.edu/aca/honorpledge.html.  The code prohibits students from cheating on exams, plagiarizing papers, submitting the same paper for credit in two courses without authorization, buying papers, submitting fraudulent documents, and forging signatures.  The University Senate encourages instructors to ask students to write the following signed statement on each examination or assignment:  "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination (or assignment)."

ACADEMIC ACCOMODATIONS: If you have a documented disability, you should contact Disability Support Services 0126 Shoemaker Hall.  Each semester students with documented disabilities should apply to DSS for accommodation request forms which you can provide to your professors as proof of your eligibility for accommodations.  The rules for eligibility and the types of accommodations a student may request can be reviewed on the DSS web site at http://www.counseling.umd.edu/DSS/receiving_serv.html.

COURSE EVALUATIONS: CourseEvalUM will be open for students to complete their evaluations for Fall 2009 courses between Tuesday, April 28, and Wednesday, May 13. Students can go directly to the website to complete their evaluations, beginning April 28. You will be alerted about these dates and provided more information closer to that time, and students will be alerted via their official University e-mail account.

Students who complete evaluations for all of their courses in the previous semester (excluding summer), can access the posted results via Testudo's CourseEvalUM Reporting link for any course on campus that has at least a 70% response rate. You can find more information, including periodic updates, at the IRPA course evaluation website.

The expectation is that all students will complete these. This is YOUR chance to anonymously evaluate this class: please use this opportunity!


Date Topic

1/27/09 Cancelled: University wusses out

2/3/09 Welcome Back; Semester Logistics
The Evidence of Evolution
Reading: Zimmer Prologue, Introduction, Chaps. 1-2, 4

2/9/09 (Mon.) FILM: Appalachia, pt. 1 & 2 [sponsored in part by ELT]

2/10/09 Charles Darwin and the Discovery of Natural Selection
Reading: Zimmer Chaps. 5-8

2/12/09 (Thurs.) FILM: Appalachia, pt. 3 & 4 [sponsored in part by ELT]
NOTE: Today is both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln's 200th Birthday!

2/17/09 Quiz 1
Mechanisms of Evolution
Reading: Zimmer Chaps. 9-12

2/21/09 (Sat.) Field Trip 1 Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History

2/24/09 How to Reconstruct the Tree of Life
Reading: Shubin Chaps. 1-4

Excised Lecture: Please read at your leisure More than Lions, Tigers, and Bears: A Brief Overview of Biological Diversity

3/1/09 (Sun.) Field Trip 2 Fossils and Paleoenvironments of West Virginia

3/3/09 Raw Animal Sexuality!
Reading: Shubin Chaps. 5-8

3/6/09 (Fri.) Scholars Open House, CCC 1205, 12-3 pm

3/10/09 Quiz 2
"Fearfully Great Lizards": Dinosaurs
Reading: Shubin Chaps. 9-11, Epilogue

3/16-20 SPRING BREAK!!

3/24/09 Scatterlings of Africa: The Origins of Humanity
Reading: Diamond Prologue, Part One Intro, Chaps. 1-2

3/27/09 (Fri.) Scholars Open House, CCC 1205, 12-3 pm

3/31/09 Quiz 3
Out of Eden: From the Origins of our Species to You
Reading: Diamond Part Two Intro, Chaps. 3-5

4/3/09 (Fri.) Scholars Open House, CCC 1205, 12-3 pm

4/7/09 Human Biological Diversity and "Race"
Reading: Diamond Chaps. 6-7

4/14/09 Quiz 4
Your Family: An Historical Perspective
DUE: Family History Take-Home Project
Reading: Diamond Chaps. 8-10

4/17/09 (Fri.) Scholars Open House, CCC 1205, 12-3 pm

4/17-19 (Fri.-Sun.) Field Trip: American Museum of Natural History, as part of Scholars in New York

4/21/09 What is Language? The Evolutionary Biology of the "Humanities"
Reading: Diamond Chaps. 11, Part Four Intro, and Chaps. 13-14
4/22/09 (Wed.) Undergraduate Research Day

4/25/09 (Sat.) Maryland Day

4/28/09 Quiz 5
Languages Have A History
Reading: Diamond Chaps. 15-17

5/1/09 (Fri.) Scholars Academic Showcase

5/2/09 (Sat.) Scholars Softball Tournament

5/5/09 Life in Darwin's Universe: the Possibility of Life on Other Worlds
Reading: Diamond Chap. 12, 18-19, Epilogue

5/9/09 (Sat.) Field Trip 3: National Zoo

5/12/09 Quiz 6
Human Natural History; Valediction
DUE: Academic Showcase Report

Last modified: 1 April 2009