Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM


VAN HEES, Edmond H., Geology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201 and LEMKE, Lawrence D., Department of Geology, Wayne State University, 0224 Old Main, 4841 Cass, Detroit, MI 48202,

Wayne State is a large, multicultural university located in mid-town Detroit, Michigan, USA. The WSU Geology Department strives to provide individual attention and a sense of belonging to a close-knit academic community even though the total number of Geology and Environmental Science majors has risen from 5 in 2001 to ~150 today. Many of our graduates find employment in environmental consulting or extractive industries. We therefore employ an integrated approach combining curricular design, field experience, and career awareness to prepare our undergraduate and graduate students for the workforce.

Our curriculum aims to impart a strong fundamental understanding of Geology and Environmental Science while providing practical training. Academically rigorous core courses include Mineralogy, Petrology, Structural Geology, and Sedimentology for Geology majors. Environmental Science majors take four Biology and five Geology courses that, along with a suite of electives, emphasize professional skills/practices and accentuate urban environmental issues to keep students engaged. Courses in Hydrogeology, Site Assessment, Applied Geologic Mapping, and 40-hour HAZWOPER training were added or modified to include applied exercises and develop marketable skills (e.g. GIS).

Field experiences provide opportunities to: 1) bond with fellow students and faculty (addressing the affective domain); 2) practice skills (learning how to make and record observations in the field); and 3) collect samples for individual projects. Most courses include mandatory fieldtrips to locations in Michigan, Missouri, Ontario and the Appalachian Mountains. Students working in teams for course assignments or as members of faculty-led research projects develop collaborative skills valued by industry.

Students build career awareness at professional conferences, workshops and vocational events. The annual Spring Career Night brings department alumni and potential employers to campus for an informal evening of networking and employment advice. The Fall Environmental Science and Geology Career Fair puts students face-to-face with local employers in a more formal setting. Preparatory workshops help equip students with professional resumes and interviewing skills that give them confidence to find their place in the workforce.