Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Paselk

Biochemical Toxicology

TTh 1400-1450 SA 564

Seminar Guidlines - Spring 2010

Office: SA560a & GH 122c
Office Hours: MW 1400-1450 (SA 560a); TR 1500-1550 (GH 122c)
Phone: x 5719 & x 5136
Home: 822-1116


Each student will present a nominal one-hour seminar (approximately 45 to 50 minutes followed by approximately 10 to 15 minutes of questions for the presenter) to Chemistry students & instructor (the speaker may also invite guests if they wish).  The seminar will be evaluated on content (emphasis on biochemical toxicology content), organization and context of the topic within the field of biochemical toxicology, visual and oral presentation style, citation of references, and ability to answer pertinent questions, among other things.

Students in the course will choose their topic, in consultation with me. Among potential sources of current topics are the mini-reviews in "News and Views" in Nature, or "News Focus" or "Perspectives" in Science published over the past year. They have the advantage of providing a great starting point and providing a reading for the class.

The seminar given is expected to be relatively narrow in scope and must include references to the primary literature that places the topic in context (background) as well as to appropriate recent primary literature to demonstrate the current interest and knowledge in the topic.

The seminar presentation must be 45-50 minutes in length.  In order to accomplish this time limit, you must practice your presentation multiple times before your actual scheduled seminar time.  (The classroom, the Computational Chemistry Laboratory in room 565, has computer projection facilities and is generally available 24/7 outside of scheduled classes, and you can request access to that room. Room schedules are available on-line:

(A suggestion as a start is to have approximately one slide per minute, so if you need a 45 minute presentation, about 45 slides are needed. On the other hand, I have seen successful seminars with half that number of slides. It really depends on how much info you have on your slides and the type of info and how much explanation it requires.)

You may use Microsoft PowerPoint or html if you wish; transparencies or 35 mm slides are also acceptable

Attendance is required of all students for all seminars and will be recorded.

Grading: Your seminar grade will be based on:

  1. A formal seminar presented to the class.
    1. The seminar presentation is the single greatest determinant of your seminar grade based on:
      1. My evaluation of your presentation including organization, clarity, quality of illustrations, ability to communicate, apparent knowledge and preparation, ability to answer questions etc.  The seminar presentation will be evaluated by the other students enrolled in the class. I will use student evaluations of the seminars in determining the success of your presentation style and effectiveness in communication.
      2. Additional evidence of your preparation, such as your list of references.
      3. In the case where a seminar presentation "didn't work," I will look at the outline for evidence that the presenter in fact "did the work" but failed the presentation for other reasons (e.g. "totally freaked out"). You may still get a good score on your seminar on the basis of your outline, though your grade will of course be reduced for an unsuccessful presentation.
      4. Failure to give your seminar on the scheduled date without a "serious and compelling" reason will result in an automatic 0 points for the seminar.
    2. The quality of your evaluations of your colleague's presentations may affect your grade by a + or -.
  2. Attendence: Unexcused absences will reduce your grade.
  3. Pre-Seminar meetings: Grades for the seminar will be reduced by one half letter (-) for failure to arrange and show up for the "pre-seminar" meetings with me.

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Last modified 1 January 2010

© RA Paselk 2010