Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Chem 438
Introductory Biochemistry

MWF 1300-1350 SA 564

Discussion: Section 11, F 1200–1250, SA 460; Section 12, F 1400–1450, SA 460

Syllabus - Spring 2012

Instructor - Richard A. Paselk

Office: SA560a
Office Hours: MW 1100-1150, TR 1000-1050, T 1200-1250; other times by appointment
Phone: x 5719 (Home: 822-1116)

Catalog Description

CHEM 438. Introductory Biochemistry (4). Brief course. [Prereq: CHEM 322 (may be concurrent - RAP, Sp 2012) or 328 with C- or higher. Weekly: 3 hrs lect, 1 hr disc.]

Lecture Schedule

See Biochemistry on my Web Page (

Texts and Learning Aids


For those who need a review of organic chemistry, I have posted a brief review on Moodle (see Course Documents, Quick OChem ...). This is a good, very brief, review of most of what you should know about organic chemistry reactions prior to taking biochemistry.

My attitude towards texts is that they are references to repeat, expand, clarify (or confuse!), and otherwise aid you in your endeavor to understand biochemistry. I do not "require" that you buy a text - you're an adult, you should know what you require to "get through" a course. It's your decision. However, I strongly recommend purchasing a book. McKee will be the central text for most of this course. The text and I may sometimes disagree. If you discover such a disagreement let's discuss it - I may decide to go along with McKee agree to disagree and accept both points of view, or try to convince you as to why I'm correct (perhaps newer literature has moved the field, etc.).

I have traditionally tried to emphasize thinking and problem solving in this course and intend to continue. Thus there may be exam questions with answers you haven't seen and there will be synthesis questions. You can pass the course without "getting" these questions, but you won't get an "A."


I have been posting my notes online for some time. They are not perfect. Old errors may still exist, and new errors are introduced as new material is added and old material is updated. My students are my only editors-I rely on you to help me find mistakes! If you use the notes and think you've found an error please tell me via e-mail. My lecture notes from Spring 2011 are also available to you in my Course Archive with this caveat - I am using a new text and there will be differences in what is covered, when it is covered, and of fact. However if you wish to use them, along with the schedule, to "preview" what is likely to be covered next, please feel free.


Other than exam weeks there will be a discussions each week. Attendance is mandatory for these discussions! The Discussion is graded on participation and evidence you have done the reading, not brilliance or cleverness (you won't lose points for foolish or ignorant responses). Brilliance and understanding will be tested on exams.

There will be a specific reading or/and computer assignment for each discussion (Case-study, journal article, etc.) which you are expected to read. I intend to provide these readings by the previous Friday on the Discussion schedule on the web, however, I am somewhat forgetful, so if you haven't found it by the weekend before the discussion, e-mail me please!

You will be given about a week to work on discussion problems. Be aware that discussion problems sometimes require a great deal of time and thought. Some questions may require meditation or a period of "slow fermentation in back of your mind." It is best to start work on them immediately so you can figure out how to budget your time.

Discussion Summaries

Online Homework (Sapling Learning)

Exams & Grading

Note the in-class exams dates and be certain you can make them:

Exam I (Weeks 1-6) -Friday, March 2, 1300-1350

Exam II (Weeks 7-12) -Friday, April 6, 1300-1350

Final Exam (Comprehensive): Monday, May 7, 1240-1430

I do not generally give make-up exams, but can sometimes make an accommodation if notified in advance. So if you think you can't make an exam, please call me in advance. If you can't reach me directly, leave a message on my voice mail or email. DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE RECIEVED A RESPONSE FROM ME! Grading:

Midterm exams:
 2 @ 100 pts. each
200 pts.
based on writre-ups/participation
100 pts
Online Homework  
100 pts
 Final exam:
200 pts
 Total =
600 pts.

Samples of Exam 1 and Exam 2 with keys from last spring are available on the class Moodle site, however, I plan to utilize the text/Sapling test bank at least in part to generate the exams.

Grading Rubric

Withdrawal/Drop Policy (from HSU Academic Senate)

You may drop this course for any reason without record up through the fourth week. After the 4th weekand until the 13th week withdrawal requires a "serious and compelling reason (see below) and will be recorded as a "W." After the 13th week only catastrophic withdrawals (see below) will be given - a grade of "WC" will be recorded.

When contemplating a Withdrawal, you should also be aware of the new CSU policies (Executive Order 1037; August 1, 2009) that place significant new restrictions on course repeats and withdrawals for undergraduate students. As a summary:

  1. Students may withdraw from no more than 18 semester-units (between census and the final 20% of instruction, with a serious and compelling reason).
  2. Students may repeat courses only if they earned grades lower than a C.
  3. Students may repeat up to 16 semester-units with grade forgiveness.
  4. Students may repeat up to an additional 12 semester-units with grades averaged.

Incompletes (from CSU Executive Order 1037)

"The “I” symbol shall be used only when the faculty member concludes that a clearly identifiable portion of course requirements cannot be met within the academic term for unforeseen reasons. An Incomplete shall not be assigned when it is necessary for the student to attend a major portion of the class when it is next offered."

"A student may not re-enroll in a course for which he or she has received an “I” until that “I” has been converted to a grade other than “I”; e.g., A-F, IC."

Campus Resources for Students

Students with Disabilities

Student Support organizations

HSU Add/Drop Policy

Emergency Evacuation

Academic Honesty

Attendance and Disruptive Behavior

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C438 HomeKipps Apparatus icon


Last modified 22 January 2012