Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM
FIGS: FRESHMEN INTEREST GROUPS WITH A GEOLOGY COMPONENT
At SUNY Potsdam all freshmen are encouraged to enroll in a Freshmen Interest Group (FIG), a group of two or more courses with a common theme. The goal of FIGS is to increase retention by relating courses, grouping students with similar interests, and to provide first year undecided students with multiple courses from different disciplines in a field that may be of interest to them. Geology has been an active participant in this program since the first FIG was developed in 1994. Environmental Geology was, and continues to be, a central course in this initial FIG, Adirondack Coordinated Environmental Studies (ACES). Each year 10-25% of the FIG students become Geology majors, and this year five of our fourteen graduating seniors first entered our program through the ACES FIG.. As the FIG program has grown, to 23 such offerings last year, our involvement has increased, contributing courses for (R)evolution, Natural Science, "Earth and Sky," Archaeology, and Science and Society. All of these courses attract students who might not otherwise take a geology course, but who, by their selection of the FIG, have a demonstrated related interest and thus are prime candidates to be Geology majors.