The topic of this class is extremely interesting, but the class is poorly organized. Brian seemed to decide what we would do in two week increments. The plus side of this is that he is very open to suggestions for where to place focus. He's very friendly, a fun guy to be around, incredibly laid back. Sometimes in class we would discuss a scientific paper or pop science book. Sometimes we would workshop some simple high school chemistry type problems with an ecotox application. Sometimes he would show pictures of chemical treatment plants, or computer models of air pollution. For a while we each did a short presentation on a chemical and how it behaves in the environment. At the time I thought the laid back nature was teaching me less than jam-packed courses, but looking back I remember more key concepts from this class much more demanding classes like Intro Bio. You get lots of chances to talk about the material with your classmates, which I think is lacking in the sciences. If you are a non-sciency Environmental person, this class could be a good opportunity to get a little more quantitative while learning very policy-relevant information about how pollutants travel. If you have a good science background, particularly if you were strong in General Chemistry, the problem solving will be overly simplistic for you.
If you are looking for a walk in the park, look elsewhere. If you are looking for an interesting, challenging class that makes you think, take this course. This class covers ecotoxicology from the basic chemistry level to the mechanisms of global transport of environmental contaminants. Liz wants you to do well, and will do everything she can to help you, short of doing the thinking for you. Her exams are the most diffcult tests I've ever taken. However, if you are taking this class, you should be more interested in the material than your letter grade- which will turn out to be fine if you show her you are working. She knows it if you are, and this will help you in the end. (Over the semester I was working at about 80% capacity and I got a B. I'm impressed) Do your best on the problem sets, go to office hours. By the end of the semester, they involve a lot of thought problems which you may find fun. Also- ask her how long of an anwer she wants for each question. Sometimes her answer will surprise you.
This was a great class taught by a dedicated and energetic professor. Liz is always available for students and gives very interesting and clear lectures even when they are mostly equations. Review sessions before each test were very helpful. She is obviously passionate about the subject and has designed a great class. I'm sure she would make a great advisor for someone interested in environmental science or biochemistry.