GEOSCIENTISTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THE VALUE OF UNDERGRADUATE FIELD EDUCATION
Whereas 89.5% of respondents indicated that fieldwork should be an integral and required part of undergraduate education, 79.4% indicated that a residential field camp should be required. Only 36.5% agreed that a course in bedrock mapping exercises was necessary; mapping was commonly perceived as too specialized for most students. Analysis of the open-ended survey items indicate that fieldwork is valued across all three participant groups mainly for promoting cognitive gains such as knowledge and understanding, and for enabling learners to interact with geological phenomena in its natural state. Although also recognized as important, less value is placed on the role of fieldwork in enhancing attitudes and motivation, and in career preparation. We found few statistically significant differences between values held by the three groups, suggesting that students, instructors, and professional geologists hold largely similar opinions about the value of field education. This work contributes to the ongoing conversation among geoscientists about the purpose and value of undergraduate fieldwork by helping to identify long-term goals and outcomes of educational fieldwork experiences.