Field Safety Contract
Field Trip Form



$82,500, or $40/hr (May 2010 data)



Chicago's Environmental Geology
Earth Science 109W, Section 01, Fall 2012



w The outline below will be adjusted daily.  Check frequently for updates!  

Field trips are required class activities.  You must be present and dressed appropriately for the weather.

For daily learning objectives, click the date.  Links will be added weekly as the semester progresses.

Week Class Activities      (Click the date for a list of daily learning objectives!)
  WEDNESDAY (10:00-10:50 am) FRIDAY (10:00 a.m.-12:30 pm)
1 AUG 29  Welcome to Muddy Waters!  Getting to know you.  What is FYE?  What are environmental geology and the Muddy Waters course?  Pre-assessments. AUG 31 Intro to the "H2O: Where Does It Go?" Project.  Field safety contracts.  The water cycle.   Dress for outdoor work today!  "E-mail us!" due.
2 SEP 5  The water cycle.  Read Chap. 3 in the CSS book before coming to class today.  "Class Act" is tomorrow, Thursday, Sep 6, 3:05-4:05 pm. SEP 7  The water cycle, continued.  Data collection for the H2O project.  Dress for outdoor work today!
3 SEP 12  How you learn.  Guest presenter:  Katherine Gleiss of the Learning Support Center.  How to prepare a project proposal.  Read Chap. 5 and 6 in the CSS book before coming to class today. SEP 14  Visit with John Murray, NEIU Chief Engineer.  Academic integrity and plagiarism. Collecting and analyzing rainfall data for the H2O project.  H2O outlines due via e-mail at 10 a.m.  "Meet with Tif" due.  Dress for outdoor work today!  
4 SEP 19  H2O Project Proposals due.  VIsit from Molly Mansfield, Ronald Williams Library.  Intro to the "Thirsty City" Project.  Transitions.  Read Chap. 1 and 4 in the CSS book before coming to class today.  "Reading the NEIU Catalog" due. SEP 21  Analysis of water: field parameters.  Keeping a field notebook.  Dress for outdoor work today!  "Avoiding Plagiarism" due. 
5 SEP 26  Guest presenter from the Academic Advising Office.  SEP 28  Drinking water standards.  Colorimetry.  Lab safety. Team-building and the NEIU Rock Wall.  Dress for wall-climbing today!  
6 OCT 3  Water treatment processes.  Measuring chloride, sulfate, and field parameters in tap water. OCT 5  Field trip to Lake Michigan.  Dress for outdoor work today!  "Meet with a Professor" due. 
7 OCT 10  Thirsty City project due in text format.  See Assignments page! OCT 12  Thirsty City project flyer due. 
8 OCT 17  Intro to the "Great Debate" Project.  Basic concepts of sewage treatment.  (Get the powerpoint here.)  Read Chap. 10 in the CSS book before coming to class today. OCT 19  Field trip to sample near a sewage treatment plant outfall.  Dress for outdoor work today!  Prepare for the Great Debate.  "Planning Your Future:  Your Academic Plan" due.  "Meet with a Professor" due.
9 OCT 24  Data interpretation.  Preparing for the confluence trip and for the Great Debate.  OCT 26   Field trip to the confluence.  Dress for outdoor work today!
10 OCT 31   The Great Debate! Gallery Walk. NOV 2  Planning for the Great Debate.
11 NOV 7  Planning for the Great Debate.  NOV 9  The Great Debate!  Stream discharge.  Last day to drop a course.
12 NOV 14   Intro to MyPlan.  Intro to the "Do We Need an Ark in Albany Park?" Mini-project.   Gathering online stream discharge data.  Calculating recurrence interval and probability. NOV 16  Field trip to measure discharge at Irene Hernandez picnic area.  Dress for outdoor work today! 
13 NOV 21  Flood Insurance Rate Maps.  NOV 23   THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY--NO CLASS
14 NOV 28  Ark in the Park Mini-project due.  Watersheds and the hydrologic cycle.  Intro to the "Balancing Act" Project.  NOV 30  Balancing Act: maps and calculations. 
15 DEC 5  Simple water budget calculations.  FYE course evaluations. DEC 7  Balancing Act group presentations.  Visit to the SCSE.
16 DEC 12  Field trip; USEPA.  Course evaluations.  Dress for a field trip to the USEPA today!   (Grades are due at midnight, December 17.)
REQUIRED TEXT AND MATERIALS:  Bring these to every class session.
w CSS:  "College Success Strategies", by Sherrie L. Nist-Olejnik and Jodi Patrick Holschuh, custom edition for NEIU, Pearson Custom Publishing, 2012.

w Additional readings:  Some readings will be provided in class or via Blackboard; you must check this online syllabus to stay updated. 

w Your notebook, field notebook, pen/pencil text, and any handouts or homework papers you might need.

Appropriate attire for the day's activities. 
COURSE REQUIREMENTS:  Grading and Evaluation
w Attendance at all class sessions is required.  Attendance is part of the course grade.  The NEIU policy on class attendance (see the NEIU Catalog) applies to this course.  In accordance with university policy, less than 75% attendance will automatically result in a failure for the semester, regardless of your grade for assignments.
w If you absolutely must miss a class, please notify the instructors in advance, if possible, or as soon thereafter as you can.  To learn what you missed, first check the web page, and then get notes from at least two classmates.
All course requirements must be completed to pass the course. 
w The final date to drop any Fall 2012 course, per University policy, is November 9.

w Students are expected to check e-mail and the course website at least every other day to watch for course announcements and updates.
Academic integrity:  The NEIU policy on academic misconduct will be strictly enforced.  A site from Indiana University  explains and gives examples of plagiarism and provides helpful tips on how to avoid it.  Cheating on homework, exams, quizzes, or other course components will result in a score of zero for that assignment or more severe penalties, as described in the NEIU policy.
w A large part of this course involves working in small groups.  A positive group dynamic depends on your positive attitude and acceptance of diversity: other group members will have diverse opinions, individual backgrounds, and work styles.  The ability to work well with others is an important skill necessary in virtually all careers and in daily life.  Whether or not you have previously been exposed to group work, in this class you will have the chance to build and enhance these skills--and have some fun along the way! 
w Team citizenship may be a part of your grade on the semester project or other group projects.  The team score will be weighted by individual scores assigned by team members to themselves and their teammates.  A copy of the Team Citizenship Evaluation appears here.
w Students are expected to participate in all course assessments.  On some days, you will be asked to complete anonymous "minute papers", ungraded quiz-type questions, concept maps, or survey questions.  This information will help the instructors determine the extent to which the course is meeting its goals.  To help make the course better, please give your most thoughtful, honest feedback--the more, the better.
Evaluation and Grading Policies
  10%      Attendance and participation
  65%      Projects: 
   Project 1:  H2O: Where Does it Go?  
   Project 2:  Thirsty City  
   Project 3:  The Great Debate  
   Mini-Project:  Do We Need an Ark  
in Albany Park?  
   Project 4:  Balancing Act  

25%      Other Assignments

* The grading scale is as follows:  A 100-90%; B 89-80%; C 79-70%; D 69-60%; F <59%. 
* Late homework assignments will not be accepted
unless you communicate with the instructors about the issue and they approve the request.  Even with instructor approval, late assignments may be docked points.
* Make-up exams will be permitted only in a case where there is an approved reason for missing the exam.  Missed exams that are not made up will result in a score of zero for that exam.
* Please note the schedule for the final exam and university policies governing final exams (inside the back cover of the Schedule of Classes.)  No exceptions will be made other than those allowed by this policy.

Flexibility: The schedule of activities will change several times per week as the semester evolves.  Check this page frequently for updates!

Dr. Kenneth M. Voglesonger E-mail:  K-Voglesonger [at]
Office hours: Monday 9:00 - 11:00
                       Wednesday: 1:00 - 2:30
                       Friday: 1:00 - 3:00
                       or by appointment

Web page:
Dr. Laura L. Sanders E-mail:  L-Sanders [at]
Phone: 773.442.6051 (voice mail) 
available in S-130/132. 
Office hours:  Tuesday 4:00-5:00 pm; 7:20-8:20 pm
                      Wednesday 10:50-11:50 a.m
                      Friday 12:30-1:30 pm 
                      or by appointment.

Web page:
Tif Probst, Peer Mentor E-mail:  T-Probst [at]
Office hours:  Tuesday 3:00-5:00 pm
                        Wednesday 11:00-11:50 a.m.; 3:00-5:00 pm
                        or by appointment.
Location:  Ronald Williams Library, 4th floor (look to the left as you get off the elevator).
LEARNING OUTCOMES:  Course Objectives
Upon successful completion of this course, you will have demonstrated the ability to do the following:

work effectively as a team member to research environmental geology issues of a specific area, in particular with respect to the scientific investigation of soil and water, interpreted in the context of Chicago regional geology.
apply a scientific method for geologic field and data interpretation, utilizing time management strategies, critical reading and analysis, and written/oral presentation skills in the synthesis and interpretation of the data.

Toward this final goal, successful completion of course elements will enable you to:

4 Compile an organized record of data and supporting information from various sources (field and laboratory experiences, class presentations, readings, and research), optimized for your individual learning style.

4 Distinguish changes to the landscape effected by stream, lake, and coastal processes; critically analyze patterns of change in soil and bodies of water to predict continuing/ future changes from these forces.

Evaluate the impact of geologic factors on human activities (including water and waste management, storm water and sewage treatment/control, construction, etc.) in Chicago, and the effect of human activities on analyzed parameters of water quality and soil characteristics.

4 Apply strategies to maximize achievement of your short-term and long-term academic goals through self-knowledge, successful navigation of the university environment, and effective planning.
Chicago's vital bodies of water--Lake Michigan, Chicago River, and others--interact with the urban landscape and the soils and rocks of the ground beneath us. These interactions influence environmental issues in our everyday lives, including "What happens when water goes down the drain?" and "Why do certain areas flood after it rains?"  Explore these questions in the context of Chicago's geology, to evaluate the critical interactions affecting soil and water contamination, flooding, and our drinking water. Laboratory analysis of water and soil, collected on local field trips, will clear the "muddy water" about how environmental geology impacts your neighborhood.  ESCI 109W meets the NEIU General Education requirement of a laboratory Natural Science course.
General Education Program:  Muddy Waters counts as a Natural Science Laboratory course.  See this document for more information.

First-Year Experience Program: Muddy Waters counts as your First-Year Experience course.  See the First-Year Experience Course Matrix here.
Web address (URL) for this page:

Muddy Waters is supported by the National Science Foundation program
Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences
(Award 0914497).

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

Copyright 2012 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated November 30, 2012.

Your Instructors:
Dr. Ken Voglesonger

Dr. Laura Sanders

Your Peer Mentor:
Tif Probst