DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS IN GEOSCIENCE CURRICULUM REVISION AT WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY, OGDEN, UTAH
Alumni-placement data indicate that the environmental sector is one of the top employment areas for our graduates, matching recent results from AGI workforce studies. These data, combined with department-wide discussions facilitated by the NAGT Traveling Workshop Program, led to a department name change, from Geosciences to Earth & Environmental Sciences.
The matrix-based analysis of our Geology (BS) degree led us to: (1) add course requirements in applied hydrology and environmental geochemistry; (2) develop a “sophomore-bridge” geoscience methods and careers course to facilitate the transition from lower- to upper-division courses; (3) expand and revise our existing field methods course and summer field camp; (4) introduce a new senior seminar focused on societal issues; and (5) integrate course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURE) into the curriculum.
We will assess the success of our curriculum change through student retention metrics, senior exit interviews, graduate school admission rates, and job placement data.
As a department, we are also engaged in efforts to recruit a more diverse student body to the geosciences (supported by an NSF GP-EXTRA grant), develop a new multidisciplinary undergraduate degree (BS) in environmental science, and expand our undergraduate research opportunities. We present here our process and resulting curriculum.