USING FIELD TRIPS TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN MINORITY STUDENTS IN THE GEOSCIENCES
A cornerstone of our strategy to achieve this objective involves the use of field trips to attract and retain students. Recruiting from a pool of approximately 1000 students who enroll in our general education physical geology course each year, we invite students to participate in an annual departmental field trip. In the past five years, trips with 13 to 26 participants have visited geologically interesting locations such as California (2003), the Mississippi River Delta (2004), the Grand Canyon (2005), and West Texas (2006). These 10-day trips enrich our students' academic experience while providing an important opportunity for socialization and bonding with other students and faculty. The trips also open the eyes of some students who have never been outside of Detroit. We actively solicit financial support from alumni and local geology societies to help defray a large portion of the trip expenses because these costs represent a major barrier to minority student participation. Subsequent to the departmental trip, we incorporate 1 to 5-day long field trips into ten of our Geology courses. Regular involvement in field experiences maintains the intellectual stimulation and social bonds that motivate our students and ensures that they are prepared for field camp - their ultimate field experience.