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

Paper No. 36-2
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


HOLLOWAY, Gail M., ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, 100 E. Boyd St, Sarkeys Energy Center, Rm 710, Norman, OK 73019 and ELMORE, R. Douglas, ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, 100 E. Boyd St, SEC 710, Norman, OK 73019, gholloway@ou.edu

The University of Oklahoma ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics offers a weeklong spring field trip to its first year majors. Eligible students must have completed an introductory geology class, but have not taken any of the upper-division classes within the major. The trip is not required, so attendance is self-selected by the students although all majors at the appropriate level are encouraged to participate. In geology and geophysics, experience with field-based skills and observations is essential. The students are exposed to diverse geologic settings in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, which helps to secure in their minds the geological processes that they will learn about and apply to their upper-division courses and throughout their careers. During the trip, the students form bonds with other geology and geophysics majors that lead to study groups in upper-division classes, and support throughout the major and beyond. By participating on the field trip, students have benefitted in numerous ways. Over 40% of the students go on to participate in undergraduate research experiences. These students are likely to become active, and hold leadership positions, in the departmental geology club, which participates in K-12 outreach and geology education workshops with local schools and organizations. Students who have participated in the trip graduate with consistently higher grade point averages than those students who do not attend, averaging almost 0.5 points higher. These benefits extend into an increase in departmental retention as well as a higher likelihood of post-graduate experiences in geology and geophysics.