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Class Notes Fall 2010

Schedule of Events

FOR 690, Fall 2010

Week of

August 30:  10 project ideas due (no class meeting)

Sept  8: Three project ideas

Sept 13: Introductions (presentations)

Sept 20:  Bibliography due (no class meeting)

Sept 27:  Annotated bibliography, Lisa’s Introduction, plan proposals

Oct 4:  Draft proposal due

Oct 11: Reviews due of draft proposals (no class meeting)

Oct 18:  Ryan’s Introduction, Lisa and Ryan’s draft proposals

Oct 25:  Final proposals, Mid-term evaluation

Nov 1:  More final proposals due (no class meeting)

Nov 8:  Discuss final proposals, review resumes

Nov 15: Plan final presentations and reports

Nov 22: Review draft final reports

Nov 29: Review draft final reports

Dec 6: (no class meeting)

Dec 14:  Final Report due, presentations, wrap-up

Time sheet template

Lead a discussion of selected readings

Skill sessions

Grading scheme

The majority of your grade will be based on your projects:  25% for oral presentations and 40% for written reports or other products.  The project proposals are 15% and the remaining 20% is for other assignments such as time and

 effort accounting, feedback for presenters, and preparing for skill sessions if needed. 

Late assignments will be discounted at the rate of 10%/day.  Assignments required for class participation will be worth 0% after the day we needed them.

Three project ideas, Sept 8


  1. Urban permaculture: intentional, integrated design.  Frank Cetera has a Meetup Group and an organization called the Alchemical Nursery.  They have a board meeting tomorrow and he will meet with her the week of September 20.  100 people attended the Upstate Permaculture gathering last spring.

Doghouse design, cob design (homemade mud and straw), opportunity for education through the SPCA.

  1. Programming for children:  Chris Abbott hasn’t responded to email.  Try telephone: Parks and Rec.  ESF Outreach has been involved.
  2. Environmental law, for Onondaga Nation, Jack Manno might be a good contact.


  1. Urban farming

Transferable to the Congo, particularly with refugees

Syracuse Grows

  1. City of Syracuse:  TNT has two projects. 
  2. Restoring parks.  Evaluate tree health and plan for replacement. 
  3. South Syracuse, something to do with sewage.  Waste management.

They will communicate by email on Friday and set up a meeting.

  1. Food composting (more useful than sewage composting). 

OCCRA is doing composting.  We know they handle yard waste, and pre-consumer food waste from major generators.  Ruth saw something about taking post-consumer waste from schools.

Selection criteria

Skills:  Applying those you have or developing those you want. 

Gaining knowledge and experience.  What will be transferable to future projects?

Cost:  We need projects that aren’t costly, or the client has to support the costs.

Involvement in the local community is a benefit, as long as we’re here.  Working with a client will develop important skills.

It’s a real-world experience.

There will be some bad experiences and we will also learn from those.

Scope:  How much time it will take.  Timeliness of client response can be a limitation.

Introductory Presentations 9/13, 9/15


Here are the steps to developing your bibliographies.

Monday Sept 20: send us an email update of your search efforts.  Where did you look, what search terms did you try, what worked and what didn't?

Tuesday Sept 21, Linda Galloway will meet with you in 324 Bray at 2:15 p.m.

Thursday Sept 23: send us your bibliography by email.  How many references did we say you should have?  20-30?

Tuesday Sept 28: email your annotated bibliography (of the sources you found, document the most interesting.  I hope you will have found about 10 worth using).  Meet in 210 Marshall, discuss what you found, give us a progress report on project development

Thursday 30th:  Meet in 324 Bray, for Lisa's introduction.  We will also talk about your draft proposals, which are due the following week.

Lisa's catch-up schedule

Monday 9/20: 10 project ideas

Thursday 9/23: 3 project ideas

Friday 9/24: bibliography

Tuesday 9/28: annotated bibliography, all caught up!

Project Updates Sept 29 

Serge will work with SU Food Services:  The generate 50 tons of food waste per semester.  He is communicating with the Director of Food Services.

Paul will do an environmental policy for the Syracuse Center of Excellence, the Environmental Finance Center.  The document will describe the organization’s policies regarding environmental issues.  They are interested in pitching it to SU, ultimately.  There would be an accompanying database of recommended vendors, venues for events.  There will also be versions of the policy to share with different audiences.  (There’s a slim chance he would switch to NOFA)

Dorothy will do a permaculture project.  She has been reading broadly and talking to Frank Cetera.  She will design the plantings and the entrance for the Alchemical Nursery at 117 Otisco Street, which will be developed into an intentional community.

She will also do a wetland project, probably not for this class.

Lisa had a lot of project ideas.  She talked to a not-for-profit that restores abandoned mines and contributes them to the Adirondack Park Agency.  Dan Maffei is probably worth talking to.  There were people in Oneida Country that haven’t replied, she will start calling them.

Time Accounting Sept 30

We looked at some examples from last year’s class and came up with these guidelines for time accounting.

Time entries are in rows, with the most recent at the bottom.

Columns are for categories of tasks, grouped into more general categories.  Examples include: communications, background reading, field work, writing the proposal.  Overhead (not directly related to your project) would include class work like reviewing each other’s proposals or preparing your background presentation.

Show gridlines (if printed), freeze header panes, color optional (especially if printed).

The week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday.

Add a table with weekly project totals.

Time sheets will be due on Monday for the preceding week.

Draft Proposals

Oct 5:  Serge, Paul

Oct 7: Dorothy

Oct 19:  Lisa, Ryan


Reviewers:  Lisa reviews Serge reviews Dorothy reviews Paul reviews Ryan reviews Lisa.

Reviews are due a week from the date that the proposal is presented.

Tuesday Oct 19

Ryan’s presentation,

Ryan and Lisa’s first draft proposals.

Thursday Oct 21

Serge and Dorothy’s Proposals.  Do you want to go through the review process again?

Review Time sheets

Revised bibliography schedule

Lisa and Ryan will send bibliography assignments by email.

Tuesday Oct 26

Paul’s Proposal

Thursday Oct 28  Course Planning and Improvement

If you type your answers to the following questions and print them out, then we can pass them around in class and your feedback will be read anonymously by another student.  You can write them by hand as long as we can read your handwriting.

  1.  Below is a list of the activities in the course so far.  Please indicate which you found most useful, somewhat useful, or not useful.  Give specific suggestions for improvement if you have any.

August 30:  10 project ideas: most useful, useful, not useful, useful, fine

Sept  8: Three project ideas: useful, useful, na, somewhat useful, might not require a whole assignment.

Sept 13: Introductions (presentations):  useful, not useful, na, somewhat good practice, give more direction

Sept 20:  Bibliography (library session): useful, useful, na, somewhat, fine but not necessary.  See below.

Sept 27:  Annotated bibliography: useful, useful, na, useful except for keyword exercise and long list, natural step not necessary for the assignment.

Progress reports are useful but might not fit this framework.  Maybe informal communication meets this need. 

Oct 4:  Draft proposal:  useful, useful, na, useful--feedback is nice, useful to get the review.

The review form is helpful for knowing what to put in the proposal.

Oct 11: Reviews due of draft proposals (no class meeting): useful, useful, na, useful, reviewing is fine, not for a grade.

Oct 18:  Informal project reports: useful, somewhat (did we do this?)

Oct 25: Revised proposal due: useful, useful, useful

Timing is dependent on the individual project development.

Writing a proposal for the class vs. writing for a client.

Add a class for writing proposals!  We had this as a skill session, in the past.  This year, we did it by trial and error.  Seeing examples of other types of proposals would be helpful.

  1. Here is the list of future activities.  Do you have suggestions for improvements to the activities or the schedule?

Nov 8: Not scheduled, but I may be available after all

Nov 15: First drafts of final report:

Nov 22: Reviews due of draft final reports

Week of Dec 13 TBA:  Final Report and Final presentations

We want a session on what final reports will look like.  What the final presentation should be like.

  1.  In previous years, we organized "skill sessions," which I wasn't planning to do when I had 2 students in the class, but now there are 6 of us, so I would be comfortable asking for experts to come to us.  Are you interested in the topics we had in the past?

Library: this was more useful than we expected.  Linda Galloway was good.  It would be good to start by preparing questions from the students.

Reflective Listening (Conflict Resolution Center); Interest-based problem solving (Conflict Resolution Center): 1

** Writing skills (Ruth Yanai):  5, 3, 3, 3, 1

**  Resume and Interview (John Turbeville): 3, 4, 2, 2

*** Resumes: 5, 5, 3, 3

Interview 3, 2, 3, 3, 3

**  Professional Communications (John Hassett): 5, 1, 3, 2, 2

How to convince people to do what I want.  In English.  What about business letters.

**  Research Skills: 3, 2, 4, 2, 5

Are there other topics you would like us to organize for a class session?

****Proposals:4, 4, 3, 4, 4  For future classes.

  1.  Do you have other suggestions for content or process that could improve the course, this year?  What about in the future?

What is the value of sharing the reviews?  Some people read them and found them useful; some did not.

Tuesday Nov 9  Proposals

Lisa and Ryan’s proposals.

Thursday Nov 11 Resumes

Tuesday Nov 16 Planning Final Reports

Lisa worked on this project last year.  How much of that belongs in the project report for this class?  All of it!  That will be the most useful to her client, and we don’t want her to waste time making a product just for us, with only this semester’s contribution.  She will develop an outline and show it to us next week.

Paul gave us his outline verbally. 

Introduction: Why this project.  The experience of writing it, making the database, interacting with people at work.  What people at work are saying about it (not yet).  Product:  policy document, database.

Serge sent us graphs of his results! 

Outline:  Introduction, SU food services, Sadler, food stream, food waste, objectives, methods, results.  Conclusion.

This report seems like it’s of enough general interest that you could be writing it up for publication!  Like, where?  Daily Orange, Alumni newsletter, OCRRA newsletter, CNY Environment.  Paul suggested you should also do a short version for a press release. 

Dorothy’s sent us her outline, it’s for her presentation.  Often people do a better job planning their oral presentations than written reports (this happens all the time for thesis presentations), so maybe planning the oral presentation first is a good strategy.  We thought the outline would also be good for her written report.

Ryan’s outline (down to one topic, from three).

We discussed the relationship of the report to the product. 

The audience for the programs he is developing is the landowners.  So we thought about whether his presentation could be the one that would be delivered to landowners.  We decided it should be Lee MacBeth and the people on the board making the decisions.  They get to decide whether he goes forward with it.  This semester is a pilot project, continuing it could be part of his job!

In some cases, you will be making presentations for your client audience.  You can treat us as a practice audience—tell us who that audience is, so we can role-play.  If it’s an audience of 1, invite the person to join us.

We picked a date for our final oral presentations, see below.

Tuesday Nov 23

Lisa’s outline for presentation and final report.

Serge, too.

Tuesday Nov 30 Drafts of Final Reports

Dorothy, Lisa, Paul

Lisa reviews Paul

Paul reviews Dorothy

Serge reviews Lisa

Ryan reviews SergeThursday Dec 2 Drafts of Final Reports

Ryan, Serge

Dorothy reviews Ryan

Ryan reviews Serge

Tuesday Dec 14  Final Presentations

Plan on speaking for only 10-15 minutes, so we have time to ask you questions and give written feedback.

Yes, 324 Bray is available, 3:15 to 5:45 p.m.