This course meets MWF from 10:00-10:50am for lecture, and either M or T for lab.
Purpose of the Course
The science of botany includes the study of plants and of their relationships to their environments, and the purpose of this course is to introduce you to the science of botany. Four core concepts will be emphasized:
This course will taught at an introductory level, but some concepts are complex. If you are having trouble with a concept, please come see me as soon as possible to avoid problems that may negatively affect your grade.
Based on the recommendations of the American Society of Plant biologists (ASPB) and the Botanical Society of America (BSA), by the end of the course, students should be able to:
Final Grade Assessment
Final grades will be calculated as follows:
Lecture portion of the course: 75% of final grade
Lab portion of the course: 25% of final grade (normalized)
The lecture grade will be broken down as follows:
15% Midterm #1
15% Midterm #2
30% Comprehensive Final
20% In-class Assessments (Critical Thinking Quizzes; Scientific Literacy/Writing; Group Interactive Assignments, etc.)
20% Homework (On-line quizzes; Concept maps; Reading/Response/Interpretation; Metric System/Mathematics for the Sciences; Scientific Citations; Scientific Research)
Note: all exams (including the final) will consist of open-ended questions (short-answer, longer-answer). There will be no multiple choice, fill-in, etc. on the exams.
Grade ranges are based on points and cumulative scores (rather than individual assignments or exams). Overall, final grades will be based on the following scale: A (90% or higher); B (80-89.9%); C (70-79.9%); D (60-69.9%); F (59.9% or less). An A percentage-wise in the lecture and an A percentage-wise in the lab will give you an A in the course. If you do not get As on all assignments, you should not expect to get an A in the course. Grades are based on points, not curves, but the final course grades will be scaled to the highest student score, if necessary (whether the course is scaled cannot be determined until the end; thus, if you want an A, you should plan on getting 90% or more of the points for every assignment from the beginning).
NOTE: For student-athletes, students on scholarship, or students who need specific grades to enter a student organization, academic program, or to keep financial aid, you must start earning your minimum grade requirement to keep yourself on the team, on scholarship, or get into your program starting on the first day of class. Students whose academic careers are dependent on a minimum GPA should be even more motivated than the general student population to earn the grades that will keep them in school. Grades cannot and will not be adjusted at the end of the semester to help you “make” the needed grade just to keep you in school. If you wish to continue at MSU or any other school, you must earn the right to do so, just as every other student must do so. Do NOT dig yourself a hole with poor grades and then expect someone to save you.
Per instructions for each assignment type.
Policy on Late Assignments
No late assignments will be accepted from any student for any reason. This is a non-negotiable policy. Assignments are due at the beginning of class (once I begin lecturing, no assignments will be accepted). You may not email assignments to me (unless requested to do so) and I will not continually remind you that assignments are due. It is your responsibility to note the due dates and allow sufficient time to complete them. Having printer problems before class or forgetting assignments in your room/car are not acceptable reasons for handing material in late. Assignments must be stapled (if necessary) prior to being turned in!
Lecture Attendance Policy
The botany lecture is designed to provide conceptual understanding of key topics in the field, to provide basic science literacy, and to familiarize students with the basic scientific literature. In-class quizzes and assignments cannot be made-up, and exams are written based on my lectures, not the textbook. Because of these factors, attendance of the lecture is required. Class will begin promptly on the start of the hour and you must be in your seat ready to begin. An attendance sheet and seating chart will be kept. If you are not in your seat when I start lecturing, you will be marked absent even if you come in late. If you need to leave class early, it must be for a good reason and you must tell me before class begins or you will be marked absent. You may, of course, choose to ignore the attendance requirement, but if you do, do not ask for make-up assignments or wonder why your grade ends up being poor. Moreover, do not email me regarding lecture absences or bring doctor’s notes, etc. if you miss lecture. It does not matter why you miss, you were still absent and no make-ups will be given. Group work in class also cannot be made up. If you miss lecture, it is up to you to find out from another student what was missed and obtain notes from other students, as I do not provide notes.
For further information on Class Attendance policies, see the MSU Student Handbook, available online through the Student Life section of the MSU website.
Laboratory Attendance Policy
Botany at MSU is a laboratory-based science, which means that laboratory attendance is required in this course. Excused lab absences must be for dire situations or because of university sanctioned events and any make-ups of missed material is at the discretion of the lab TA. It is your responsibility to notify your TA of the reason for your absence and to provide documentation for that absence. Excused absences must be accompanied by written verification of the reason for the absence that is written and signed on official letterhead (e.g., a doctor’s note on clinic letterhead/clinic absence form). If you fail to meet these requirements, the absence will be declared un-excused. Un-excused absences will not be eligible for make-ups. Students with THREE or more lab absences will fail the lab portion of the course. The laboratory cannot be taken separated from the lecture.
University-Sponsored Teams and Organizations
All members of in-season sports teams or other campus organizations who will be missing class because of university sanctioned events MUST present to me a written statement on university letterhead and signed by a university official indicating those dates that will be missed because of travel or participation in the university event. Athletics documentation must be presented to me within the first 2 weeks of the beginning of the semester. Other documentation (such as for theater, etc.) must be presented to me at least one week prior to the time that will be missed.
Course Policies Regarding Disruptive Behavior
Out of general courtesy to me, your instructor, and to your classmates, please observe the following policies:
Disruptive students will be given one (1) verbal warning to improve their behavior. Second offenders will be asked to leave the classroom and will be referred to the Dean of Students. Abusive students will be dismissed from the class permanently. The instructor reserves the right to amend these rules as necessary throughout the term.
Policy on Electronic Devices [READ THIS TWICE]
Turn off or silence (note: vibrate is not the same as silent) all cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices that make noise or have the potential to disrupt the class before you walk into class. Class should never be disrupted because of someone’s cell phone going off. NO cell phones are permitted to be out and/or in my (or your) sight in this class. If you want to use your phone to record the lecture, it must be placed at the front of the room. Laptops may only be used to take notes and only after receiving permission from the instructor for its use. If your phone is out and/or in sight, you will be asked to put it away and you will lose 2 points off of your final grade for each offense. If you are caught doing anything other than taking notes on your laptop, you will be asked to turn your laptop off and you will lose 2 points off of your final grade for each offense. Should your phone ring/vibrate during class, or your laptop sound incoming mail, etc., you are dismissed for the day. You are to silence your device immediately and quietly leave. You will be counted absent for the day. Continued abuse of the electronics policy will result in referral to the Dean of Students.
The following is quoted from the MSU Student Handbook, “Instructor Drops”, p. 47 of the 2012-2013 handbook:
“An instructor may drop a student any time during the semester for excessive absences, for consistently failing to meet class assignments, for an indifferent attitude, or for disruptive conduct. The instructor must give the student a verbal or written warning prior to being dropped from the class. An instructor’s drop of a student takes precedence over the student-initiated course drop of a later date. The instructor will assign a grade of either WF or F through the 8th week of a long semester, the 6th week of a 10 week summer term, or the 11th class day of a 4 or 5 week summer term consisting of 20 days. After these periods the grade will be an F. The date the instructor drop form is received in the Office of the Registrar is the official drop date.
A student dropped from a class by a faculty member for disruptive behavior has the right of appeal to the Student Conduct Committee through the Dean of Students office. Although the student will be retained on the class roll, class attendance will be the decision of the instructor.”
Note to students: for the purposes of this course, “consistently failing to meet class assignments” includes consistently not turning in assigned work and/or turning in work that consistently receives a failing grade.
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities are required to register with Disability Support Services (DSS) before classroom accommodations can be provided. The instructor then needs to be notified by the student of the nature of these accommodations. This notification will take the form of an official letter obtained from DSS by the student and given to the instructor. Every effort should be made to provide me with this documentation within the first 2 weeks of the semester to avoid losing accommodations because you failed to provide proper notification in a timely manner. It is always the responsibility of the student to arrange accommodations with DSS. Students with disabilities must still take their exams on the same day as the rest of the class.
University Code of Conduct
For university standards of conduct please refer to the MSU Student Handbook. In general, students are to attend all meetings of all classes; instructors may drop students for excessive absences, indifference, disruptive behavior, or failure to complete class assignments; students are prohibited from cheating, plagiarizing, or colluding. Students are expected to have read the Student Handbook.
Cheating, plagiarism, and collusion (as well as several other forms of conduct) are all strictly prohibited at MSU. The following definitions and prohibitions regarding Academic Dishonesty are taken from the MSU Student Handbook, p. 83-84 of the 2012-2013 handbook:
“The term “cheating” includes, but is not limited to: (1) use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations; (2) dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or (3) the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the university faculty or staff.
The term “plagiarism” includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.
The term “collusion” means collaboration with another person in preparing work offered for credit of that collaboration is not authorized by the faculty member in charge.”
If you are unclear on what may count as cheating, plagiarism, or collusion, please see the instructor or the Dean of Students.
Dates for the lecture exams are listed on the Lecture Schedule and will NOT be moved. There will be no make-up exams given to any student for any reason. However, if you have a legitimate, excusable reason for missing one of the midterm exams, a substitute score based on the portion of the comprehensive final corresponding to the missed exam will be used to replace the zero received. Students are NOT allowed to miss the final exam; failure to take the final exam results in a failing grade for the course.
Excusable reasons for missing an exam include the following:
In all cases, students MUST notify me, the instructor, PRIOR to the start of the exam to receive consideration for an excused absence. If you are physically unable to notify me, then have a friend or family member notify me. Notifying me after the fact will result in an unexcused absence and a zero for the exam.
Inexcusable reasons for missing an exam include the following:
In general, none of these excuses will be accepted for missed exams as all of them stem from a lack of responsibility on the part of the student to maintain control over their own schedules. You know exactly when your exams are scheduled, and you should make every effort to take them.
Absolutely no electronic devices of any kind may be used during exams. All exams are closed book and will be monitored for cheating. If you are caught doing anything suspicious, your exam will be taken away from you and you will receive an automatic zero for the exam.
There isn’t any extra credit, so don’t ask for it. You will not be allowed to turn in missed assignments at the end of the semester in an attempt to fill in zeros on your grade report.