STRATEGIES FOR RAISING THE PROFILE OF EARTH SCIENCES AT A LARGE UNIVERSITY: A CASE HISTORY FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, VANCOUVER, CANADA
As a result of these mergers, EOAS is comparable in size (45 faculty, 450 undergraduate students, 200 graduate students) to the largest science departments at UBC and is recognized as a leader in education, pure and applied disciplinary research, outreach, and industry engagement. Seven diverse undergraduate programs provide enrolment stability through resource industry boom-bust cycles. Small programs have not been abandoned, although limited resources make this an ongoing challenge.
Major factors leading to the success of EOAS include a) a united vision because all faculty share an eagerness to study key scientific and societal questions about global climate change, resources, natural hazards and their mitigation, and earth history in the broad sense from core to atmosphere, b) an appreciation of the fundamental unity of method and technique that is found in broadly integrated earth science, c) a combination of research faculty who teach and a cadre of dedicated teaching faculty, with teaching innovation found at all levels of seniority in the department, and d) creativity in leveraging resources. Vancouver is an international center for mineral exploration, and funds from alumni in industry, matched by the government, allowed EOAS to occupy a new Earth Sciences Building in 2012, bringing together all members of the department into adjacent buildings for the first time.