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==9.  Goals and Methodology:== (Dave)  
==9.  Goals and Methodology:== (Dave)  
State the major goals of the project and summarize the  methodologies and time frame to be used in achieving them.
State the major goals of the project and summarize the  methodologies and time frame to be used in achieving them.
dcm: The following was pasted from LOI. I will soon clean it up and add "Goals," and need chem and geo to edit descriptions of modules to shorten them up.

Revision as of 17:16, 15 May 2006

==6. Overview:== (Mike) Provide an overview of this field and the need for this project.

Research on the fate and transport of metals in the environment requires a multidisciplinary approach with a significant emphasis on computational methodology. These studies involve field methods, instrumentation and computational methods that are accessible to undergraduates and can be incorporated both in student-faculty collaborative research as well as course modules across the curriculum. This area is therefore an ideal topic for training our students to develop multi-faceted approaches to problem solving.

==7. Relevant Efforts:== (Corinne) Describe past and current efforts at your institution that are relevant to this project.

There has been a long tradition of Earlham science faculty involvement in local environmental issues. In the last 20 years, faculty members in biology, geology and chemistry have been engaged in studies ranging from atmospheric measurements of mercury to determination of metal contamination in lake sediments. Every year, independent research projects performed by students in the analytical courses have included a multitude of trace metals studies in different matrices using electrothermal and flame absorption spectroscopy, inductively-coupled plasma emission spectroscopy and fluorescence measurements.

dcm: Should EC relevant efforts also include efforts in terms of multi-disciplinarianism (is that a word?) dcm: Save for long proposal?: The Earlham biology department has a long and strong history of field work, including aquatic ecosystem studies at the school's Dewar Lake Bilogical Research Station, faculty-student research on turtles, and a strong emphasis on quantitative, analytical and research-based projects in introductory courses.

8. Peer Groups:

Many institutions have recognized the need for innovative, interdisciplinary approaches in science education at the undergraduate level. Carleton College has established an Interdisciplinary Science and Math Initiative (CISMI) aimed at integrating the physical sciences and mathematics in undergraduate courses and research projects. Our proposed project shares a similar mission to the Carleton program; however, one significant difference in our program is the emphasis on computational science methods throughout the curriculum. In addition, our curriculum modules focus on inquiry in disciplinary-specific courses, especially at the introductory level. Weekly seminars allow students to integrate their experiences. Trinity University is also focused on interdisciplinary faculty and student research as well as interdisciplinary curricular development. However, Trinity’s program has a major focus on the integration of biology and chemistry, while our proposed program uses biology, chemistry, geosciences, and computational science methods to solve environmental problems.

 *Add Shippensburg Interdisciplinary Watershed Research Laboratory.

==9. Goals and Methodology:== (Dave) State the major goals of the project and summarize the methodologies and time frame to be used in achieving them. dcm: The following was pasted from LOI. I will soon clean it up and add "Goals," and need chem and geo to edit descriptions of modules to shorten them up.

Curriculum modules relevant to this proposal will be incorporated into 6 introductory courses in 5 departments in the Sciences. Almost every one of Earlham's 1200 students will take at least one of these classes before they graduate. Additionally, curriculum modules will be incorporated into at least 7 upper-level courses in 4 departments in the Sciences.

Introductory Course Modules - To illustrate how traditional topics can be introduced in an innovative way using this environmental project as a unifying theme, we propose to incorporate a new environmental chemistry component into our general chemistry class (typical annual 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. Students will learn the significance of Kd, a measure of the soil sorption capacity, by determining this parameter in standardized material and applying the procedure 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 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. 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.

Upper Division Course Modules - Hydrogeology serves to illustrate an application of our project to an upper-level course. The lab modules for hydrogeology will target complete hydrogeologic characterization of both the on-campus research site and Springwood Lake. For the on-campus site, we will install ground water monitoring wells and multi-level piezometers. Subsurface hydraulic properties will be determined via constant-head slug tests and constant-discharge pump tests. Quantitative analyses (using Earlham's Inductively Coupled Plasma spectrometer) will establish baseline metals concentrations. Students will track the environmental fate of target metals added to the control site under regulated conditions.

The proposed modules for hydrogeology will give students an experience that embodies much of the professional practice of the science. Students will conduct 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 performing the environmental fate experiments, chemical analyses and equilibrium speciation modeling.

Summer Research - Overall, we propose that the summer research component of this project will involve at least 6 faculty each year, about 18 projects total, and at least 36 students over three summers.

Chemistry: collection, sample preparation and analysis of metals in a variety of environmental matrices, and the development and implementation of metal speciation protocols; investigation of the redox chemistry of soil; characterization and model synthesis of the metal-ligand complexes present in these soils/leachates.

Biology: sampling of aquatic biota (macrophytes and animals) in Springwood Lake to describe and quantify the food chains; evaluate the extent of bioaccumulation of metals by those organisms; assess the rates of biomagnification occurring in higher trophic levels, including measuring heavy metal concentrations in fish gill, gonad, liver and muscle tissue.

Geosciences: characterization of the physical properties of subsurface soils by conducting whole-soil hydraulic conductivity tests and laboratory grain-size analyses; determine reactivities of soil minerals by quantifying mineral constituents, cation-exchange capacities, organic matter content and surface functional groups.

Computer Science: design, development, deployment, and management of the field monitoring equipment using photovoltaic panels, batteries, imbedded controllers, wireless data transfer interfaces, environmental sensors, and open source tools; modeling of the biochemical and groundwater processes.

This project will bridge the gap between modern scientific research and science education by incorporating research modules into courses and further developing multidisciplinary summer research activity. In addition to using multidisciplinary approaches in courses and research, we will institute a series of seminars for small groups of students who are enrolled in one of the courses with a research project module. In these small groups, students will discuss and present the work their class is pursuing on the topic, and engage in weekly readings and assignments meant to broaden their understanding of the nature of modern, multidisciplinary science.

An important artifact of this project will be further development of Earlham's Environmental Studies program, which is largely staffed by the same faculty that would be a part of this work.

Because this project will impact the local community, we will hold an annual poster session on-campus for the public in which faculty and students will present their results. We believe this innovative approach of combining classroom scientific inquiry, summer research projects, multidisciplinary discussion, and community participation will give our students a unique opportunity to engage in truly modern collaborative science.

Spring 2007 - Purchase and installation of equipment
Summer 2007 - Course module and seminar development, student/faculty research
Academic 2007-08 - Initial implementation of course modules and seminars 
Summer 2008 - Course module and seminar development, student/faculty research 
Academic 2008-09 - Continued implementation of course modules and seminars 
Summer 2009 - Course module and seminar development, student/faculty research 
Academic 2009-10 - Continued implementation of course modules and seminars

==10. Institutional Resources:== (Corinne) Describe institutional resources and/or strengths that will be used to achieve the goals.

Earlham College has an unusually cohesive science faculty. They come together in weekly divisional meetings to discuss and share many inter-divisional interests. Their teaching philosophy strongly emphasizes collaborative student-faculty research, both within courses and extracurricularly. Their close collaboration has led to the recent granting of several multidisciplinary awards/grants such as a Merck/AAAS grant for interdisciplinary summer research (2002), HHMI (2001), NSF-MRI for a 300-MHz NMR spectrometer (2002), …? These successes, as well as the College’s commitment to supporting the faculty’s efforts in securing external funding, has resulting in an impressive list of scientific equipment, unusual for a College of our size.

The quality of the teaching and learning experience at Earlham has also been demonstrated in the outcome of science alumni. In 2000, Earlham ranked eighth among 1302 institutions of higher learning in the Biological Sciences category of the Baccalaureate Origins Report.

==11. Impact:== (Mark) Describe the potential impacts of achieving these goals.

==12. Fundraising:== (Barbara) Explain what other sources of funding have been sought, what amounts have been committed (including institutional funding), and the plan for raising the remainder.

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