• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM


ISIORHO, S.a., Department of Geosciences, Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), 2101 E. Coliseum Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499,

Public colleges and universities are required to justify every dollar spent in the education of students especially in the present economic and political climate. It’s important that we are able to demonstrate to our constituents what students learn in and from our programs by assessing learning outcomes. The state of Texas and some other states are currently questioning the efficiency of their education systems. Do we as professors and as departments have any obligations to politicians who control the purse strings? Can we demonstrate that ‘their or our’ money is being well spent?

Fortunately, we have several applied areas in geology that the public can relate to such as landfill issues, water pollution, location and extraction of minerals, and exploration of oil and gas. Some ways to assess students learning outcomes are through research projects, presentations, publications and what they do after leaving our programs. At IPFW, undergraduates are encouraged to work with professors either as part of their research teams or by undertaking independent research projects. A part of the IPFW department of geosciences mission is to “provide rigorous undergraduate education… preparing them for success in private or academic pursuits once they leave our program.” Here we present some student research projects that have been presented/published and also showcase some of our recent graduates’ achievements.

For the 2010/2011 academic year, eight students were involved in research projects that lead to four presentations at the combined North Central/South Central GSA meeting in Branson, MO. Also, four students gave six presentations at the combined North Eastern/North Central GSA meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. A total of 14 students were involved in professional scientific published abstracts. Two of the 14 students gave two different presentations at the Midwest Groundwater conference in Columbus, OH. There is a renewed effort to engage students in research projects that would not only enhance their learning and mastering of key concepts, but would ignite interest in research activities. Some examples, such as the demise of urban wetlands and city water quality, will be presented on how the research work benefits the immediate locality. Also, what our recent graduates are doing will be presented.

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