2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


HEFFERAN, Kevin P., Geography and Geology, Univ of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI 54481 and O'BRIEN, John, Geoscience Department, New Jersey City State University, Jersey City, NJ 07305, kheffera@uwsp.edu

Over the past two decades, fundamental changes have dramatically altered geology curricula, particularly in North America. In the past, traditional geology programs offered courses in mineralogy, optical mineralogy, igneous petrology, metamorphic petrology and sedimentology. In response to changing market demands, an increasing number of geoscience programs have compressed these courses into a one-semester or two-semester Earth Materials course. Obviously, all the course content covered in up to five mineralogy/petrology courses cannot adequately be addressed in a one-semester or two-semester Earth Materials course. In addition, other Earth materials such as soil and water must be considered.

Instructors need to carefully select the content of their Earth Materials course, based on the needs of their students, focusing on the following questions: How has our student population changed? In what fields are our Earth Materials students majoring— geology, earth science, hydrology, engineering, etc.? For what types of employment are we preparing our students? What do our students need to know, and in how much depth?

How do instructors choose the essential topics to include in a compressed Earth Materials course? In an ideal world, what topics would be covered in an Earth Materials textbook? Do existing textbooks sufficiently cover these topics? What are the strengths and weaknesses of existing Earth Materials textbooks? Is the traditional lecture/lab format the most suitable means to teach an Earth Materials course?

This interactive poster encourages faculty-- and student-- input regarding these fundamental Earth Materials questions. Faculty and students will select those topics and pedagogical approaches that are most appropriate to the rapidly emerging Earth Materials market, recording their suggestions on the poster.