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

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 10:25 AM


KEEN, Kerry L., Department of Plant and Earth Science, Univ of Wisconsin-River Falls, 410 S. 3rd St, River Falls, WI 54022, kerry.l.keen@uwrf.edu

As a student, I recall Dr. H. Olaf Pfannkuch's (Olaf's) disposition toward concepts presented as diagrams. At that time, some seemed vague and abstract. Now as a professor, I routinely use this type of diagram and challenge my students to create their own abstract diagrams. For example, in introductory hydrology students create “classic” hydrologic cycle diagrams, then extract the three fundamental components from their simplistic diagrams. Olaf's use of visuals in introductory geology helped inspire me to use image observation exercises, which involve making precise observations, descriptions, and inferences.

As my Ph.D. Thesis Advisor, I recall conversations with Olaf about the four elements comprising a thesis: Theory, Laboratory, Field, and Quantitative. Olaf's classes employed these elements, and I have continued this in my own teaching. In my hydrogeology class, I present theory as a critical foundation for the applied components of the course.

At times I can sense this continuum - how aspects of Olaf's teaching resurface within me. Sometimes the awareness is subtle, and other times it's very clear. Clear examples include: 1) student projects installing and monitoring observation wells; 2.) stream-groundwater interaction senior research projects; 3.) team project using downhole temperature measurements to track spring snowmelt; 4.) team project using temperature, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen measurements to locate lakebed springs; 5.) working with several students on a project to define source water area protection zones for municipal wells; 6.) installing temporary wells, then surveying, measuring water levels, and monitoring water quality at a barrier island in Florida; and currently, 7.) installation and operation of several continuous water-quality monitoring sondes on a trout stream at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus with the goal of better understanding the interaction of groundwater with this stream and impacts of the campus and city of River Falls.

Other elements of my teaching that draw inspiration from Olaf's teaching include: 1.) Use of applied projects 2.) Hands-on learning, 3.) Comprehensive reports as part of lab projects, 4.) Historical context, 5.) Value of community, 6.) Hard work, 7.) Time for fun, and 8.) Engage students outside of the classroom.