2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


SANTI, Paul M. and HIGGINS, Jerry D., Dept Geology and Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, psanti@mines.edu

Many classically-trained geologists have found employment as engineering geologists or hydrogeologists, gaining the technical knowledge and skills they need through experience and self-education. Ideally, these individuals would learn the necessary subjects in their undergraduate classes and have a shorter learning curve on the job. There are many degree programs that train students specifically for these fields, but students may also be trained within a standard geology program, with some modifications. Critical technical skills must be taught as additional topics in existing classes. These include use of the Unified Soil Classification System, air photo interpretation, detailed small-scale mapping, trench logging, and use of ground-water flow parameters and equations, among other topics. Problem-solving and analytical thinking skills can be taught through a variety of exercises that enhance the geology curriculum without adding new topics, including in-class discussion questions, homework and laboratory problems, and add-ons to mapping and semester projects. These exercises typically focus on geologic hazards, properties of geologic materials, analysis of landforms, and site investigations. Other educational experiences to prepare undergraduates for careers in engineering geology and hydrogeology include interaction with professional associations, internships and co-ops, and professional registration.