2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (2225 October 2006)
Paper No. 235-14
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM

GROWING PAINS: THREE NEW GEOSCIENCE PROGRAMS ADDRESS GROWTH ISSUES

FLOOD, Tim P., Department of Geology, St. Norbert College, 100 Grant Street, De Pere, WI 54115, tim.flood@snc.edu, ANDERSON, Steven W., Department of Science, Black Hills State University, USB9102, Spearfish, SD 57799-9102, and MUNK, LeeAnn, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508

At a time when geoscience departments are being eliminated or dispersed, three new undergraduate geoscience degree-granting programs, St. Norbert College (WI), the University of Alaska Anchorage (AK), and Black Hills State University (SD), have experienced steady to rapid growth of majors despite small budgets and limited faculty. These programs began with single faculty members and new curricula, and have grown into sustainable academic entities that maintain solid enrollments and place students into high quality graduate programs and geoscience careers. These faculty faced similar challenges in the early stages of program development, such as having to teach a wide variety of upper division courses, needing to establish program credibility, finding the time and funding necessary for faculty and undergraduate research, obtaining materials for laboratory courses, and recruiting majors. Several lessons learned in developing these programs may be useful for those working within established geology programs/departments.

Additional lessons (growing pains) have been learned since inception of these programs. Course scheduling is critical to maintain the balance between the needs of the major and general education expectations. Major courses are offered every three semesters at SNC, and every four semesters at UAA and BHSU. Course requirements for the major should have enough flexibility to accommodate students out of sequence, i.e. those who decide to major late in their undergraduate career. Flexibility also helps to eliminate major courses taught as independent studies. Independent major courses are often a great deal of additional work for faculty and generally not as high quality as regular scheduled courses. As the number of faculty in the program increase, communication within the department becomes increasingly important. This is a simple yet important concept. Regular meetings are platforms for discussion of daily programmatic issues and help in molding the long term vision of the program. Recognition of individual faculty may be in the best interest of the program and should be promoted. Department Chairs need to publicize the good work of their geology colleagues to the appropriate people and venues. The good work of Department Chairs should intentionally be promoted by others within the program.

2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (2225 October 2006)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 235--Booth# 141
Building New and Rebuilding Defunct College and University Geoscience Programs for the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities, Successes and Failures (Posters)
Pennsylvania Convention Center: Exhibit Hall C
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 38, No. 7, p. 568

© Copyright 2006 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.