calendar Add meeting dates to your calendar.


Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:55 PM


BARON, Dirk, Department of Geological Sciences, California State University, Bakersfield, 62SCI, 9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield, CA 93311 and BURSZTYN, Natalie, Physical Science Department, Bakersfield College, 1801 Panorama Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93305,

California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) is one of smaller of the 23 campuses of the California State University system. Of its 7,800 students, almost 40% are Hispanic and another 10% from other minorities. The Geology Department offers BS, BA, and MS Degrees in Geology and has traditionally had only a small number of majors. Over the last few years, the faculty has implemented a comprehensive strategy to increase the number of majors, including outreach activities to K-12 schools and community colleges, as well as changes on the campus itself.

One of the challenges in recruiting students into geology is that the subject is rarely taught in secondary schools and students are not aware of it as a career field. To address this issue, we have developed a year-long dual-credit Physical Geology class that is now taught at two local high schools and is taken by about 120 students per year who receive credit for our introductory Physical Geology class. We have also initiated a summer research-participation program in which teachers and high school students work with faculty and college students.

New Geology faculty at Bakersfield College (BC), the local community college, have energized the Geology program there and we have taken several steps to improve the “pipeline” into our programs. BC students can now participate in some of our field trips and can take selected CSUB geology classes while they are finishing up their studies at the community college, getting them off to a fast start in our programs. BC students now also join our research participation programs.

At CSUB itself, we have developed an introductory Geology class for first-year Honors students. In our promotional materials we shifted from an emphasis on field work to more information about job opportunities and use of high-tech equipment and computer modeling in the geosciences. Our student Geology Club has stepped up its activities and presence on campus, organizing field trips and guest lectures.

As a result, the number of undergraduate majors has grown from 25 in fall 2006 to 68 in fall 2009. Over the same period, the number of graduate students has increased from 14 to 21. Challenges remain in increasing graduation rates and shortening time to graduation.

Meeting Home page GSA Home Page