2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


GAO, Yongli, WHITELAW, Michael J., GREGG, Chris and WALLACE, Steven C., Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614, gaoy@etsu.edu

East Tennessee State University (ETSU) acquired a Bachelor of Science degree program in Geology in July 2005. The impetus for developing this program was provided by the discovery of the Gray Fossil Site, East Tennessee in 2000. A previous B.S. degree had been offered up until 1990 when it was replaced by a “concentration” within an existing geography program. Few students took the option of the concentration so the geology program was effectively reduced to providing service introductory geology classes which were taught by two instructors. As a result, library subscriptions to geology journals were terminated, no additional equipment was purchased, and no maintenance on existing equipment was carried out between 1990 and 2005.

As part of the plan to re-invigorate the program, the department has added a new tenure track faculty member each year since 2001. One additional hire is anticipated in 2007 taking the total of tenure track faculty to six. In addition to the faculty lines, a total of $45,000 has been allocated for purchasing new equipment to support the program. The current operating budget of $6,000 has been enhanced by the introduction of a lab fee that provided additional revenues of $8000 in the 2005-06 year. A computer lab with stereo projection system will be used for teaching and research activities in fall 2006.

Current faculty members have been actively seeking internal and external funding to upgrade teaching and research facilities and to support research projects involving students. Other supports to this program include partnerships with local industries, state agencies, and ETSU alumni from the old Geoscience program. 15 students have been successfully recruited in the first academic year of this new Geology major program. In addition, the university desires to offer a Master of Science in Geology degree program by Fall 2007. A separate abstract is concurrently submitted to the T56 session of the 2006 GSA annual meeting to describe strategies for recruiting undergraduate majors.