GROWING PAINS: THREE NEW GEOSCIENCE PROGRAMS ADDRESS GROWTH ISSUES
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.