Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM
FIRST 50 YEARS OF THE WASATCH-UINTA FIELD CAMP; BRINGING A TRADITIONAL FIELD CAMP INTO THE 21ST CENTURY
Established in 1967, the Wasatch-Uinta Field Camp (WUFC) has been run by a consortium of institutions including the universities of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota-Duluth and Wisconsin. With annual enrollments of 40 to 70, more than 2600 students have completed the program. The camp is based in Park City, UT, and focuses instruction in the Wasatch Mountains, but also features multiple-day exercises in the San Rafael Swell and along the Carlin gold trend. Our traditional, mapping-based curriculum focuses on developing the ability to make accurate observations of the mineralogical, petrological and structural information in outcrops. Projects refine student abilities to visualize and integrate these observations into 3D frameworks through sketches, maps and cross-sections. Project deliverables (rock/unit descriptions, geologic histories and abstracts) help students grow communication skills that are critical for success irrespective of their chosen career paths. Students generally work in randomly assigned teams that mix varying levels of capability and foster the development of teamwork and project management skills. Our pedagogical approach reflects the viewpoints of the employers that repeatedly hire our graduates and seek students that are capable of conducting science in the field.
We are currently involved in two curriculum development initiatives. The first seeks to improve hazard awareness and safety. Perspective gained through ExxonMobil’s Field Safety Leadership Course helped identify a range of necessary safety-related improvements. To address these shortcomings, we (1) conducted Field Activity Risk Assessments and compiled Site Safety Summaries for all field areas, (2) developed protocols for collecting participant medical information, (3) drafted a pre-activity statement to communicate hazards, risk considerations and mitigation strategies and (4) conduct daily briefings to reinforce an underlying commitment to safety, communicate plans of operation, highlight risk-related concerns and outline emergency response plans. The second initiative involves the integration of course management tools (e.g., Wikispaces and DropBox) to foster effective teaching through the rapid distribution of teaching materials to instructors from different universities.