Keck Foundation LOI

From Earlham Cluster Department

Revision as of 15:12, 19 January 2006 by Watsolo (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

1) Introduction

Earlham College requests $354,400 to develop multidisciplinary science curriculum modules and summer research projects focusing on a common environmental issue. This project will emphasize collaboration among the natural and physical sciences departments at Earlham College, including biology, chemistry, computer science, geosciences, and mathematics. It is clear that cutting-edge scientific research is becoming increasingly multidisciplinary and collaborative at all levels; therefore, it is essential to train our students to develop multi-faceted approaches to problem solving. This project will introduce an important scientific problem and ask students to collect and analyze data, as well as make interpretations, using different disciplinary perspectives in both coursework and independent research projects with faculty. We believe this idea of collaborative learning will transform our undergraduate curriculum in the sciences and provide a model for collaborative programs amoung the sciences at other liberal arts colleges.

A grant from the Keck Foundation, together with support from Earlham College, would support a modest amount of equipment and a three year program of development and initial offerings of the curriculum modules including a summer research component. The curriculum modules will be created for both introductory and upper-division science courses in geoscience, chemistry, computer science, biology, mathematics, and environmental science. The three methods (field, laboratory, and computational) will be integrated in the modules such that students at all levels will experience first hand how modern scientific inquiry is carried out using multidisciplinary approaches.

Our choice of metals in the environment will generate module and research topics centered around faculty expertise, student interest, and local impact. We anticipate that following the scientific and pedagogical success of this initial topic, we would further develop this current as well as additional topics to reflect the changing interests of students, faculty, and the community.

Local physical aspects

Computational science

2) Description

Course curriculum module development

Curriculum modules relevant to this proposal will be incorporated into six introductory courses in five departments in the Sciences with a total enrollment of approximately 310 students per year. XXX% of Earlham Students will have taken one of these courses by the time they have graduated. Additionally, curriculum modules will be incorporated into seven upper-level courses in Chemistry, Geology, and Computer Science.

Introductory Course Modules

To illustrate how traditional topics can be introduced in an innovative way into an introductory course using this environmental project as a unifying theme, we propose to incorporate a new environmental chemistry component into our general chemistry class (typical enrollment of 90). This unit will introduce students to fate and transport modeling of metals by measuring the distribution coefficient, Kd, which is a common parameter used to estimate the concentration of metal pollutants in aqueous systems. Kd is a measure of the chelating ability of the soil in a soil-water mixture. A distribution coefficient for copper has previously been measured in a standardized soil material1, and the procedure will be adapted to soils collected from our study sites. The module will be conducted over two laboratory periods. The first week will consist of a spectroscopy lab, where the students will be introduced to atomic and molecular absorption spectroscopy for the determination of the metal concentration in water, and to infrared spectroscopy for the characterization of soil components.

In the second week, students will use atomic spectroscopy to determine Kd of one or more metals in both standard soils, as well as soils collected from both Springwood Lake and our on campus test site. The effect of pH on Kd will also be investigated for the soils. The results will be used to discuss such environmental issues as acid rain and metal mobilization. The soil Kd results will be compiled in a database for use in fate and transport modeling.

Dunnivant, F.M.; Kettel, J., "An Environmental Chemistry Laboratory for the Determination of a Distribution Coefficient", J. Chem. Ed. 79(6), 2002, 715-717.

Upper Division Course Modules

===== Geosciences ===== <<THIS SECTION NEEDS TO BE CUT AND REWORDED>> Hydrogeology, a course in the Geosciences Department, serves to illustrate application of our curricular approach to an upper-level offering. The 1 to 3 week modules developed for hydrogeology will be designed to knit together over the semester to yield a significant end result: the complete characterization of the hydrogeologic setting. During the life of the grant, the course would develop a hydrogeological characterization for both the back-campus research plot and for Springwood Lake. To illustrate our approach for the back-campus plot, characterization will entail installation of several analysis-grade ground water monitoring wells, suction lysimeters and multi-level piezometers. Installations will be subcontracted to an environmental drilling firm and will utilize Hollow-Stemmed Auger (HSA) techniques in order to recover continuous split-spoon soil samples. Smaller subsurface monitoring points may be installed by hand auger. The hydraulic properties of the subsurface will be calculated on the basis of constant head slug tests and constant discharge pumping stress tests. Monitoring points will be chemically characterized to establish background conditions prior to experimental dosing by environmentally benign proxy metal compounds. Total metal concentrations will be quantified by Inductively-Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and aqueous species distributions will be modeled by use a public-domain equilibrium speciation model (e.g. MINTEQA2,PHREEQC). Hydrogeology students will be engaged in all facets of the subsurface investigation, aquifer property determination and sample collection. Students in other courses will cooperatively engage with Hydrogeology students to develop the protocols for running the environmental fate experiments, chemical analyses and equilibrium speciation modeling.

For Springwood Lake, previous and on-going investigations by Industrial concerns and Municipal and State Regulatory agencies have developed a library of data, including that from many existing monitoring wells in the area. Little of the extant data has been compiled, yet most of this data is available as public record. Complete hydrogeological characterization of Springwood Lake will require that students compile and evaluate extant subsurface and hydraulic data. as a means of identifying data gaps and the sampling required to fill them. Students must integrate all of the above to construct a comprehensive model of ground water behavior. Installation of data collection points (vadose zone lysimeters, multi-level piezometer arrays, potentiometric surface observation wells),

Summer Research and Curriculum Module Development

Overall the projects we envision will involve XXX faculty and XXX students over 3 summers...

Chemistry

Initial work in the chemistry department will center on the collection, sample preparation and analysis of metals in a variety of environmental matrices as well as the development and implementation of metal speciation protocols.  Additional research projects will include investigation of the redox chemistry of soil, characterization of the metal ligand complexes present in these soils/leachates and synthesis of metal chelating ligands for use in soil studies and linking to nanoparticles for detection of metals.  Chemistry will also collaborate in the implementation of remote monitoring of chemical species (such as pH, dissolved oxygen, ion specific electrodes...).

We anticipate an average of 2.5 faculty and 5 students per summer at 8 weeks each.  Supply costs are anticipated to be approximately $5000 per year.

Biology

Sample the aquatic biota (macropthytes and animals) of Springwood Park Lake in order to 1) describe and quantify the food chains; 2) evaluate the extent of bioaccumulation of metals by those organisms; and 3) assess the rates of biomagnification occuring in higher trophic levels. This work will involve 1 faculty member and 3 students for 8 weeks each summer.

Geosciences

Computer Science

Development, deployment, and management of the field monitoring equipment.


Professional Development Workshops

Offered for one week each of the three summers.

Topics (possible, refine/reduce to three or four before submission. Make it clear that the workshops are for all of the faculty, need to choose topics that are broadly useful.)

3) Purposes, Aims, and Impact

The purpose of this project is not only to bridge the gap between scientific research and science education by incorporating research modules into courses and encouraging summer research activity, but also to introduce students to the different disciplinary perspectives that can be used to approach scientific problems. We envision implementing the multidisciplinary aspect of this curriculum by instituting a series of seminars taken by small groups of interested students who are also enrolled in one of the courses with a research project module. These seminars will be offered at multiple levels, with advanced undergraduates leading the underclass seminars, and faculty leading the upper-class seminars. In these small groups, students will discuss and present the work their class is pursuing on the topic, and students will do weekly readings and assignments meant to broaden their understanding of the nature of modern, multidisciplinary science. In addition to learning skills in scientific inquiry and science research, these course modules and projects will also have an impact on the local community. Since all projects will be grounded in scientific issues important to our local and regional environment, we anticipate holding yearly poster sessions open to our community in which students or groups of students will present aspects of their projects and link them into a larger scientific and social context. We believe this innovative approach, combining classroom scientific inquiry, summer research projects, multidisciplinary discussion, and community participation will give our students a unique opportunity to engage in truly collaborative science.

4) Timetable

3 years, full summer of activity in 2007 through spring semester 2010.

Include a statement that shows that Earlham will carry this on supported by funds that are described in the current capital campaign menu.

5) Justification for why Keck and not some other funding source

The costs involved in the proposed interdisciplinary science research and curriculum development project far exceed the parameters of the Earlham College operating budget. In order to plan, implement and evaluate this project, we must secure outside funding. Private and government funding sources for interdisciplinary projects are few and far between. Even then, many focus on one core discipline with collaborative disciplines radiating from the core. In addition, most are targeted toward large research universities, and not at undergraduate colleges and liberal arts institutions.

By reviewing W.M. Keck Foundation funded projects, it is clear that Keck places a high value on research at undergraduate colleges and in funding innovative projects. With educational programs that have strength across the full range of the liberal arts and sciences, Earlham has demonstrated unusual strength in the sciences, and stands alongside the undergraduate institutions that have received Keck Support.

Because of the shared interest in multi-disciplinary projects and the confidence in undergraduate collaborative research, Earlham turns to the W. M. Keck Foundation to seek support.

Appendix A - Budget

                                  Year 1      Year 2      Year 3       Total
PERSONNEL               
  Faculty Salaries and Stipends             
    Summer research              $28,800     $28,800     $28,800     $86,400 
    Workshop facilitators         $3,000      $3,000      $3,000      $9,000 
    Project Coordinator           $3,000      $3,000      $3,000      $9,000 
  Student Stipends                
    Summer research              $38,400     $38,400     $38,400     $115,200 

TOTAL PERSONNEL                                                      $219,600 
                
EQUIPMENT               
  Ultrasonic Nebulizer           $15,000            
  Large freeze drier             $25,000            
  Acid digestion system          $25,000            
  
  Field Monitoring (4 @ $3000per):              
    Temperature             
    PH (digital)               
    Conductivity                
    Redox (reduction oxidation potential)
    Pressure Transducer             
    Nitrate selective probe             
    Computer, packaging, and communications  
  Total Field Monitoring         $12,000            

  Field Sampling:                      
    Lake sediment cores to 2 m              
    Shelby soil cores               
    Monitoring wells (one time install)
    Drawing equipment              
  Total Field Sampling           $15,000
  
  Biology sampling gear           $3,800

TOTAL EQUIPMENT                                                       $95,800 
                
SUPPLIES                
  Per student per year            $1,000             
TOTAL SUPPLIES                   $13,000    $13,000     $13,000       $39,000 
                
GRAND TOTAL                                                          $354,400 

Appendix B - Reviewers

We'll need complete addresses, telephone, and fax

Lew Reilly 
Ursinus College
Department of Physics
Collegeville, PA
	
Scott Brooks - BioGeoChemist
Environmental Sciences Division, POB 2008
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN  37831

Mic's friend
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN

Bob Panoff
Shodor Institute
Raleigh, NC

Brock Spencer
Beloit College
Department of Chemistry
Beloit, WI  53511

Biologist?

Bruce Herbert, Professor
Department of Geology and Geophysics
Texas A & M University
MS 3115
College Station, Texas 77845
herbert@geo.tamu.edu
979-845-2405

Appendix C - College Collateral

Fact sheet

Background on each department, orange flyers?

Division Brag Sheets - EllieV's revisions? SaraP?

Personal tools
Namespaces
Variants
Actions
websites
wiki
this semester
Toolbox