Brandon Dearmond Finley
B CUSP 110
Examines an important social issue such as ecology, the role of technology in society, bioethics, or global and local health concerns through interdisciplinary investigation, and the disciplined scientific study of the natural world. Offered: A.
This course (BCUSP 110D) is built around the the theme of chemistry and its application to cooking. We will cover how chemistry is observed in the kitchen as well as how you can use chemistry to improve your cooking. We will cover the chemistry of different cooking techniques and tools. In addition, we will discuss the chemistry of different ingredients and how they interact with each other to form a complete dish. Although the main topic will be chemistry and cooking, we will also examine broader food issues including nutrition and health, social uses of food, and food safety.
This course is the first in a 3-course sequence that introduces students to the university environment. You will be introduced to university standards of quality, grading, and the time commitment involved in education. You will also have an opportunity to use the resources available on campus (the writing center, the QSC, the library, etc). The course is designed to provide you with a set of tools that you will use in all of your courses here- critical thinking, reading comprehension, research, evaluating information, logic, and evidence-based writing.
Student learning goals
Students will be able to write using an evidence-based approach. This includes the ability to critically analyze, evaluate, and research reliable information. Students should be able to create an argument and support that argument with relevant details.
Students should be able to explain some of the fundamental chemistry that occurs while cooking- energy transfer, the Maillard reaction, the role of water, salts, and flavor compounds, etc.
Students should be able to explain, discuss, and provide examples of the benefits of various cooking techniques and methods.
Students should be able to examine recipe and discuss why certain ingredients are used or why certain techniques are used. This could include looking at a dish and figuring out how to reproduce it or take a list of ingredients and create a specific dish without being given a recipe.
Students will be able to discuss, explain, and understand the complex relationship between food and society. This includes the role food plays in social interactions, the economics and politics of food, and the role food plays in nutrition.
Students will understand the requirements and expectations of the university in terms of grading, quality of work, and the services offered by the university to improve their education.
General method of instruction
The course is approximately 65% lecture and 35% in-class work. Lectures are used to convey information, provide definitions, and demonstrate conceptual material. In class work (in groups or individual) is used to reinforce concepts, practice using the writing and chemical skills discussed during lectures, and provide time for discussion or experimentation. In-class work will include writing practice and practice with the chemical concepts.
There are no prerequisites. An interest in chemistry and cooking will help, but is not required. This course uses a lot of written communication. The course will teach you how to write using an evidence-base style, but it will be helpful if you have mastered basics such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments will come in several forms:
Weekly assignments - These are multiple choice questions, will be submitted and graded electronically, and will focus on basics- definitions and concepts.
Bi-weekly question sets - These will require you to write detailed answers. These will focus on more in-depth learning. They will ask you to apply the concepts to new situations and will require you to critically think about and analyze information or situations.
Presentation - This will be a brief (~3 minute) presentation discussing the science of a particular food or dish.
Research paper - The research paper is the heart of the course. You will research and write about a food-related topic that you choose. The paper will focus on two things- the science of your topic and the social issues surrounding your topic. This paper will be reviewed and you will have the opportunity to revise it. The paper will be turned in as part of your final.
In-class work- These are activities designed to reinforce or practice conceptual material. They will be experimental, written, or discussion based assignments.
I use rubrics and letter grades (not points). Letter grades will be weighted at the end of the quarter and converted to numerical GPA values using a set scale. Written assignments and in-class work are graded based on quality, depth of thought, accuracy, and turning things in on time. Electronic homework assignments do not receive partial credit, but all written and in-class assignments do. I like to offer lots of assignments to avoid weighting a single assignment very heavily. The largest portion of the grade will be the research paper, although this assignment is broken down into many separate parts to make it more manageable.