2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 272-8
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


MCMILLAN, Margaret E., DEANGELIS, Michael T., RUHL, Laura, SHROAT-LEWIS, René A. and CONNELLY, Jeffrey B., Department of Earth Sciences, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2801 S. University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204, memcmillan@ualr.edu

Students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock are required to complete Senior Seminar as a part of the B.S. degree in geology. This is a discussion-style course that meets for one hour each week during a regular semester. The original goal of this course was to challenge students to read, understand, and discuss a range of geology topics at a high-level. Each student selects a geologic topic and journal article, leads a class discussion on their chosen topic, and gives a professional-style oral presentation at the end of semester Departmental seminar day. In doing so, students learn how geoscientists think and communicate scientific data, and gain experience in various written and oral presentation styles.

Over the past 5-6 years we have expanded the course goals by incorporating career preparation in response to both student and employer demand. About one quarter of the class meetings and course assignments are career-related. Activities include: resume and CV writing, searching and applying for jobs, asking for supportive letters of recommendation, and how and when to apply for graduate school. One aspect of this course that has greatly benefited students is a mock interview conducted by the university career center. Students and the instructor receive feedback from the career services interviewer post interview. Several students have noted that these mock interviews prepare them well for the real-world experience.

Another useful part of this course is a meeting with the State Geologist who presents information about becoming a registered professional geologist and preparing for the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) exams. Students are encouraged to take the ASBOG Fundamentals of Geology exam, which is paid for by the department. The purpose of this is two-fold: to assess the program’s strengths and weaknesses, and to give students an incentive to make progress towards becoming a registered professional geologist.