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

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


SWOPE, R. Jeffrey, Department of Geology, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, 723 West Michigan Street, SL118, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5132 and LICHT, Kathy, Geology Department, Indiana Univ Purdue Univ Indianapolis, 723 West Michigan Street, SL 118, Indianapolis, IN 46202, rjswope@iupui.edu

A research-based international field study of the geology of Iceland provided IUPUI undergraduates with experience in developing, planning and implementing independent research projects. Ten students and five faculty members participated in a semester-long class on Iceland's geology prior to the 12-day field trip in 2003. The primary focus was to enable students to write collaborative research proposals to IUPUI's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). Each proposal was reviewed by peers and faculty prior to its submission. All of the proposals were successful and funding was used to support part of the travel and research expenses. Hiring an outfitter for transportation, lodging and meals in Iceland was cost-effective and enhanced the trip. Not only did it allow us to focus on the geology, but also our guide was a biologist who provided abundant information about local sites and culture. Typical field days lasted from 8am to 10pm and after dinner most of the group, energized by the perpetual light, continued to do things half the night; the lack of sleep became problematic as the field trip progressed. In Iceland, students organized dedicated research days to collect samples for three projects. Students in each group enlisted other students' help in completing their fieldwork within the allotted time. A total of eight faculty mentors from three departments were directly involved in mentoring students in the field or in the lab. Assessment was based on an in-class presentation, research proposal, field notebook and participation during the trip. Although UROP requires only one formal presentation, 6 students produced nine abstracts for posters and talks presented at the National GSA meeting in 2004 and/or the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. Most of the participants are either continuing their Iceland research or have moved on to research at the Master's level. Since the trip, the atmosphere of the department has changed dramatically because of the increased undergraduate attendance and participation in colloquia and our department-wide research forum. It created a climate where undergraduate research in Geology is the norm.