DEVELOPING A NEW GEOLOGY PROGRAM AT A SMALL, STATE-SUPPORTED UNIVERSITY
SSU's geology program is the result of seven years of planning and development which can be traced through four stages Planning, Assessment, Proposal, and Implementation. During the Planning Stage, basic questions were addressed like: How will a geology program blend with current academic offerings? What students will geology serve? What additional resources will be necessary for the program?
In the Assessment Stage, student interest was measured through a Likert-scale survey administered in introductory geology courses. Administrative and faculty support were gauged through informal surveys. The latter served a dual purpose of notifying the campus that a proposal was forthcoming.
In the Proposal Stage, it was decided that geology would be offered through a concentration within an already existing degree the Bachelor of Science in Natural Science - rather than as a stand-alone major. By following this path, financial risk was reduced and likelihood for approval was increased. The geology proposal was tentatively approved by SSU in 2002. The university provided necessary funding for the program in 2005.
SSU's geology program, currently in the Implementation Stage, completed its first year during which eight students declared concentrations in either geology or earth science education. The program's flexibility, low cost, and modest growth potential should help to secure its survival and future success.