Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


SCHWAB, Brandon E., Geology, Humboldt State University, 1 Harpst St, Arcata, CA 95521,

Humboldt State University is the northern-most campus of the 23-institution California State University System, located on the rural north coast of California. The HSU Department of Geology is confronting an unprecedented period of challenge and opportunity. The department faces: projected retirements of five of seven faculty in the next five years; anticipated (and required) enrollment growth (currently ~100 undergraduate majors and ~10 M.S. students); and ongoing challenges of maintaining strong field-based programs. All of these challenges must be met within the budgetary and administrative pressures from the State and Higher Education in general, while also meeting the societal need and workforce demands for well-educated citizens and highly skilled geoscientists.

To those ends, the department has initiated a strategic planning effort to map a path through the next five years. The effort engages students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni to determine the best way forward. Goals are to balance departmental strengths and reputation, student demands, career expectations, faculty expertise, and fiscal realities. The steps in this process include examining existing Student Learning Outcomes (SLO), mapping those to the current curriculum, stepping back and identifying gaps and overlaps, reassessing course content and structure, and recognizing areas of necessary curriculum reform. A major goal of the curriculum analysis is to insure alignment with National strategies of LEAP and PCAST while maintaining our traditional strengths in field geology and surficial processes. Curricular revision will coincide with development of a meaningful and sustainable programmatic assessment plan. With holistic curriculum design established, appropriate areas of faculty expertise will be identified and an ideal 5-plus year hiring plan created. The overall objective is to have in place by the end of the 2013/2014 academic year a written strategic plan outlining curriculum development and implementation steps, assessment plan, and intentional faculty hiring scenario(s) for the next five-six years. By creating a strategic plan through open and collaborative means, the department can better manage coming change.