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

Paper No. 87-6
Presentation Time: 9:20 AM


BESONEN, Mark R., Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, Texas A&M University--Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5892, Corpus Christi, TX 78412, ANDERS, Tania-Maria, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5802, Corpus Christi, TX 78412, SMITH, Richard, Geographic Information Science & Geospatial Surveying Engineering Program, Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5868, Corpus Christi, TX 78412, SOLLITTO, Michael, Department of Communication/Media, Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5722, Corpus Christi, TX 78412, SIMCIK, Martha, College of Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5806, Corpus Christi, TX 78412 and DAVIS, Mary Beth L., Academic Programs Abroad, Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5810, Corpus Christi, TX 78412, mark.besonen@tamucc.edu

Recognizing the myriad benefits of off-campus educational opportunities, and a university initiative to foment international programs, the Academic Programs Abroad Office at Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) supported the development of a geology-focused, five week study abroad program near Edinburgh, Scotland during summer 2015. The program involved 23 students, and was led by four faculty who offered several first and second year core classes (Essentials of Geology, Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, and Public Speaking), a mid-level elective class (Climate and Society), and several internship and directed independent study opportunities. Scotland is an ideal base for a geology-focused program given that many of the science's founding fathers (Hutton, Playfair, Hall, Smith, Buckland, Sedgwick, Lyell, and Darwin) worked and made their fundamental field observations there, and around Great Britain, in general. Furthermore, a wide variety of bedrock lithologies (igneous, volcanic, sedimentary, and metamorphic) and physiographic types (mountains, midlands, coastal, and glaciated terranes, etc.) are present, well-documented, and can generally be easily reached with a few hours of travel. Though only one of the offered classes was specifically focused on physical geology, the other classes were generally tailored to the interests and professional goals of geology, environmental science, and geospatial science majors for broad appeal. In addition to regular lecture classes, efforts to take advantage of the local environment were made, and included field trips to local sites of geologic interest such as Arthur's Seat Volcano in Edinburgh, the classic, angular unconformity at Siccar Point observed by Hutton, Playfair, and Hall, and the Ordovician/Silurian GSSP boundary at Dob's Linn. Related activities of a broader appeal included visits to the National Museum of Scotland, geocaching exercises, and a hands-on dendroclimatological exercise. The program ended with a 5-day academic study tour with small groups of 4-5 students producing a "story map" (a GIS-based, hyperlinked travel log of text and pictures) to document and showcase each day of the tour.