Northeastern Section - 36th Annual Meeting (March 12-14, 2001)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-12:00 PM


SHOSA, J. D., CHARLES, M. J., LINDLEY, C. F., RANDALL, A. L., SIMPSON, W. R., TACKABERRY, W. J. and WILCOX, L. J., Geology Department, Colby College, 5800 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 04901,

Incorporating research experiences into undergraduate curriculum is rapidly becoming standard practice. Courses often require students to conduct a research project that explores some aspect of the course curriculum in detail and many students are encouraged to conduct independent research projects during their undergraduate career. However, a recent and rather intriguing trend is the incorporation of class research projects as part of the curricular foundation of a course. This approach was used in the development of the Structural Geology course taught at Colby College for the Fall 2000 term.

The outcrops of the Waterville Formation on the Kennebec River offer a unique opportunity to develop a Structural Geology course founded on a class research project. The continued study of the outcrop allowed students to develop mapping and interpretive skills over the course of the term. A class data set was compiled and each student mounted a final report. Reports included base and geologic maps, descriptions of lithologic relationships, the placement of the outcrop in tectonic context, speculation on the local stress fields, a compilation of questions raised during the study, and an outline proposing a direction for continued research. We present some of the results of this class research project, comment on the effectiveness of the research project as a foundation for the course, and propose continued efforts of the incorporation of the class research project in future classes.