The Big Picture

Course Goals

From an early age we are drawn to count and to measure; from reciting nursery rhymes such as “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe,” to reading stories such as One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, to stacking blocks by size, we have an innate desire to take our measure of the world. In this class we will examine measurements as a way of learning to understand (to make sense of) our world, considering questions such as: Why do we measure things? What do we choose to measure? How do we make measurements? How do we report measurements? What are the limits of measurements? How do we improve measurements? Can the act of measuring change what we measure? How do we measure what we cannot see? What can we not measure? What do we choose not to measure? Can we trust measurements? Can measurements do harm? Through a combination of reading, writing, discussing, and making measurements, we will work together to understand better the measure of all things. To this end, our content-specific goals are to...

DePauw's first-year seminar program serves as an introduction to the range of work you will encounter during your four years at DePauw, helping your to reinforce and to develop further your academic skills. Taking advantage of our small, seminar course format, our growth-oriented goals are to...

The Role of Writing

The first-year seminar is the first layer of DePauw's multi-tiered writing program (which also includes a writing-intensive course in the sophomore year, and a writing in the major requirment completed during the junior and/or senior year). We will use a variety of approaches to develop your skill as a writer, including informal writing exercises, formal essays, writing exercises, revision of drafts, one-on-one writing conferences, and peer review.

The Role of Speaking and Listening

Our time together is a collaboration that requires your active participation. Whether working in a small group with one or more peers to gather data or to analyze a reading, or gathering together as class to share, summarize, critique, and explore ideas, we will spend our class periods in discussion. Learning to contribute to an effective discussion and learning to listen carefully to each other are important skills that together we will work to develop.

Working Toward Success in Chem 197

In addition to your usual academic commitments—attending classes, completing assignments, and preparing for exams, to name a few items—commit yourself to...

The Nitty-Gritty Details

Textbook and Other Resources

The textbooks for this course are....

You will find these textbooks at Eli's Bookstore. Links to additional reading assignments and copies of course handouts are included on the class schedule page.


Your final grade is determined as follows:

Letter grades are assigned using the following scale:

A (≥93.0) A- (90.0-92.9)
B+ (87.0-89.9) B (83.0-86.9) B- (80.0-82.9)
C+ (77.0-79.9) C (73.0-76.9) C- (70.0-72.9)
D+ (67.0-69.9) D (63.0-66.9) D- (60.0-62.9)
F (<60.0)

Final averages are not rounded; to earn a grade of B instead of a grade of B-, for example, you need a final average of ≥83.0. These ranges are fixed with the following caveats:

Office Hours

Feel free to stop by my office (Julian 364) without an appointment at any of these times:

Office hours on Thursday are by appointment only. If you wish to schedule an appointment at another time, please catch me after class or lab, send me an email, or drop by my office.

Due Dates

Because I value thoughtful, well-written, and well-reasoned work more than absolute deadlines, the due dates for formal writing assignments allow for some flexiblity. Specifically, there is no penalty for turning in any draft or final version of a formal writing assignment within 24 hours of its deadline. In addition, you may request an additional 48 hours for any one final version of a formal writing assignment (for a total extension of 72 hours); you must inform me that you are using this additional 48-hour extension in advance of the assignment's original due date.


A seminar course is a collaborative effort that relies on our collective participation; thus, your attendance is expected and is factored into your final grade (see above). If you must miss class to travel to an athletic event, to meet religious obligations, or to return home for a doctor's appointment, please let me know well in advance; if you miss class for an unexpected reason, such as illness, please let me know as soon as possible. If you miss class it is your responsibility to know and to understand the material covered that day; ask a classmate for a copy of his or her notes and visit the course website for copies of handouts.

Selected DePauw University Academic Policies

Academic Integrity

Although you may make frequent use of external resources when completing an assignment, it is important that the work you submit represents your understanding of the assignment. A failure to do so is unethical and a serious breach of academic integrity. Be sure to review DePauw's guidelines for academic integrity, which are included in the Student Handbook; in particular, review the examples of plagiarism. Although often unintentional, plagiarism nevertheless is a serious violation and may result in a significant reduction in your grade for an assignment or for the course. Be sure to consult with me if you are unsure about any issue concerning academic integrity.

Be sure to consult with me if you are unsure about any issue concerning academic integrity.

Student Accessibility Services

It is the policy and practice of DePauw University to provide reasonable accommodations for students with properly documented disabilities. Written notification from Student Accessibility Services is required. If you are eligible to receive an accommodation and would like to request it for this course, please contact Student Accessibility Services. Allow one week advance notice to ensure enough time for reasonable accommodations to be made. Otherwise, it is not guaranteed that the accommodation can be provided on a timely basis. Accommodations are not retroactive. Students who have questions about Student Accessibility Services or who have, or think they may have, a disability (psychiatric, attentional, learning, vision, hearing, physical, medical, etc.) are invited to contact Student Accessibility Services for a confidential discussion. Student Accessibility Services is located in Union Building Suite 208 and can be reached by phone at 765-658-6267. Please feel free to reach out to me privately and confidentially if you have questions about the nature of our course assignments.

Religious Accomodations

DePauw accommodates students who are adherents of a religious tradition and wish to fulfill obligations of that religious tradition on holy days. Students are expected to notify their instructors of their intent to fulfill the obligations of their religious tradition well in advance of these days. For the sake of this policy, “holy days” are defined as periods of time in which either activities required by normal class participation are prohibited by a religious tradition, or a special worship obligation is required by a religious tradition.