2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 94-9
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM


ZENTNER, Nick, Geology, Central Washington University, 400 E University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926-7418

It can be challenging to succesfully integrate incoming transfer students into four-year academic programs. Incoming transfers typically spend only two years with us before completing their BS degrees in geology. They come from various two-year colleges with differing geology course offerings, content emphasis, and field experience. Our GEOL 210 field course – a major requirement for all geology majors that emphasizes basic geology and field methods – is an effective first experience for incoming transfer students to CWU Geology.

Created in 1994, Introduction to Geologic Field Methods was designed to be an early field experience to lay the groundwork for our program. Taught annually during the first two weeks of September, the field course is based at the White Mountain Research Station in Owens Valley, California. 25 students, 2 instructors, and 2 teaching assistants live together for 15 days before the start of CWU’s Fall Quarter in late September. Mapping projects stress collaborative problem-solving with rotating field partners and traditional field mapping techniques.

GEOL 210 has provided many specific benefits to our new transfer students - and to CWU Geology. The field course (1) establishes a work ethic and commitment level required for our geology courses, (2) succesfully bonds students socially through a common experience as they enter our program, (3) earmarks strong students for potential undergraduate research projects, and (4) develops faculty-student relationships that increase the quality of our academic advising and reference letter content.