Review Comment

Environmental Science I

April 28, 2008

Bower, Peter
Environmental Science I

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Ok all these people bickering need to relax. Bower's class is not bad at all. While there is a lot of busywork and often mind-numbing menial assignments, it is absolutely doable and an extremely easy way to complete your lab requirement as well as boost your GPA. It is truly an easy A. Some of the readings are actually quite interesting if you go into it with an open mind.
Don't take the class just for fun, because you reall will be wasting your time but if you're considering considering taking it to fulfill your lab requirement, DO NOT HESISTATE TO TAKE THIS CLASS. I rarely went to class and managed to do very well. It is the easiest lab in the history of Barnard and Columbia. In addition, sign-up for Terryanne as your lab instructor. She is hilarious and the nicest person you will ever meet at Barnard.

Workload:

first semester - 8 tests, open note. 4-5 field journals that are relatively short and fun. second semester 12 tests open note. two lab reports (10 pages & 4 pages). ABSOLUTELY EASY!

April 03, 2005

Bower, Peter
Environmental Science I

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Well now that the second semester is winding down I can give an educated review....A lot of people taking this class, including myself, were in it for the Gen Ed. requirement, not for the science. In retrospect, Bio might have been a better choice.

The first semester was somewhat interesting. The labs were for the most part pointless, but learning about the Hudson River from many different aspects had its advantages. The excessive reading of "The River" was completely unnecessary: pure, unadulterated busy work. Also a little too much info about fish. I got an A first semester, so I really shouldn't complain too much. However, the class presents so many opportunities for students to be annoyed beyond belief that it's hard to be appreciative of the good grade.
The second semester has been rough. We are currently dealing with a fake town full of fake people, trying to determine if a fake factory polluted the fake ground. You tend to feel delusional when you realize you're having a serious discussion about a completely fictional scenario. (The people have names like D.S. Gruntl and Ivana Lede. It's pretty sad.) We are in the midst of this report about the whole fake town (it's too weird to explain to those who haven't experienced it firsthand), which has presented the opportunity for an entire weekend's (in my case) worth of busy work. In essence, we have to reword some of the 68794854 documents that we have been given and make our own "official Environmental Site Assessment." We also have had a lot of reading, but it's been on A Civil Action, which is an amazing book. The subject material has been scattered as well. We go over chemistry, groundwater movement, reading comprehension (he needlessly summarizes A Civil Action) and whatever else pops into his head over the course of one class. The labs have been worse this semester as well. We have had to methodically draw and color our own maps, which takes basically all of lab time plus a lot of free time as well. And it's coloring, which is fun for about twenty minutes, not the 2 hours that's necessary to finish.
Bower himself is not a great professor. He's intelligent enough, but he doesn't keep track of his lectures, apparently; he will repeat on Wednesday basically an entire lecture that he has given on Monday. It's a huge waste of students' time. I've had to fight back the urge to scream more than a few times. The class is a weird mix of people who love him/environmental science and people who hate them both. This leads to high tension within the class; people who are interested enough to ask questions are met with strong opposition by the people who just want the class to be over. I was somewhere in the middle; I found the subject matter at times interesting, but the manner in which it was taught could be vastly improved if we could apply our scientific knowledge to actual real life (and all of the current issues in environmental science) instead of a fake factory. Bower's habit of repetition is also rough, especially now that the semester is almost over. It's gotten old to the point of ignorance; he makes it really easy to not pay attention to him, because you know that you're not missing anything. He's also been really cranky this semester, I think because he got knee surgery. He won't let people walk in front of him (arrogant!) and has weird little routines, like officially starting the class by putting a flag in a pot.

On a side note- Diane is an excellent lab instructor. She tends to be a little unfocused, but she genuinely is happy to see everyone and her smile is welcome compared to Bower's surly mug. She truly appreciates the amount of effort that her students put into their work, and she is happy to help you with any questions. She also helped lighten our workload for this final report slightly; she delivers suggestions from the students to Bower and sometimes gets him to ease off on the assignments.

I can't say how other science classes are, but if you need to fulfill your science requirement, then Environmental Science will make you frustrated, stressed out, pissed off, and in the end you'll be done.

Workload:

Weekly quizzes (both semesters); 25 page report on the Hudson River (Fall) and 10-15 page report (Spring), which also includes many hand-drawn maps; Tons of reading, which you need to at least skim for the quizzes; LONG labs; and in general a weird variety of homework that might confuse you but isn't too difficult

January 01, 2005

Bower, Peter
Environmental Science I

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

a fairly easy class, not a lot of work, but not very interesting at all. every lecture is on something random and has no relationship to the lecture the day before. the grading is really picky, they take of points for details that weren't even asked for in the question. he's also completely unavailable for questions or help. beware of the hudson river report, he bumps up the length every semester, so far up to 25 pages long.

Workload:

lots of short readings, weekly tests, severely long semester end report

November 17, 2004

Bower, Peter
Environmental Science I

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Professor Bower is one funny man -- that's all you need to know. Because he has charisma, character, and a sense of humor, he made science interesting for me. He knows his stuff about the Hudson, let me tell you! He's a great guy, and he plays really great music at the beginning of every class. Lots of reading, but I barely read the material -- he just ends up going through it again in class anyway.

The Lab sections are long and really boring, but try to get Diane, she's real nice.

Workload:

One weekly test based on ONE chapter he gives the previous week, a power point presentation (and to make it easier for us, instead of it as a requirement, he decided to make it optional), a final report based on the labs (12 total)

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
ENSB / EESC ENSB EESC BC1001: Environmental Science I: Envirnmntl Science I Lec Peter Bower 2012 Fall TR / 8:40- 9:55 AM 2
ENSB / EESC ENSB EESC BC1001: Environmental Science I: Envirnmntl Science I Lec Peter Bower 2010 Fall MW / 11:00-12:15 PM 2
ENSB / EESC ENSB EESC BC1001: Environmental Science I: Envirnmntl Science I Lec Peter Bower 2009 Fall MW / 11:00-12:15 PM 2
ENSB / EESC ENSB EESC BC1001: Environmental Science I: Envirnmntl Science I Lec Peter Bower 2008 Fall MW / 11:00-12:15 PM 2
ENSB / EESC ENSB EESC BC1001: Environmental Science I: Envirnmntl Science I Lec Peter Bower 2004 Fall MW / 11:00-12:15 PM 2
ENSB / EESC ENSB EESC BC1001: Environmental Science I: Envirnmntl Science I Lec Peter Bower 2003 Fall MW / 11:00-12:15 PM 2