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American Geological Institute

2001 AGI Geoscience Associate's Conference

Breakout Group #2 Report

TOPIC 1.  OUT-OF-STATE STUDENTS PAY MORE THAN IN-STATE STUDENTS AT SOME FIELD CAMP COURSES.

This disparity results from regulations issued by state government or governing boards, and neglects the factor that the site of the course is generally held in another state.  It increases field camp costs for the students, causing some to avoid going to camp, and thus negatively impacts profitability of the camp.  Some state universities have solved or partially solved the problem.

If the situation can be ameliorated, it will reduce costs for the out-of-state student (in a situation where all students are “out-of-state”).  It would also help provide more financial stability by increasing camp enrollment.

Suggestions for solutions: 

Prepare a letter advocating an adjustment downward for costs to an out-of-state student, to be signed by several professional society presidents, addressed to the university president, and sent to the department chair/head for use in a local effort to improve the situation.

Develop exchange programs or consortia with a result of a common tuition.

Examples of what works now.

Indiana University charges out-of –state students the in-state graduate level tuition (still higher than in-state undergrad tuition).

Illinois State University classes the field camp course as an extension course, avoiding fees charged all students who take on-campus courses.

2. RISK AND LIABILITY TO THE UNIVERSITY AND FACULTY, AND TO LANDOWNERS AND MINERAL RESOURCE PRODUCERS

Our litigious society has created problems for those teaching students in the field and to landowners and producers kind enough to allow access to their lands and operations. Each is at financial risk.

Resolving this issue will contain costs and overcome reluctance to participate.

Suggestions for solution:

Develop a data-base of statistics to help frame the risk

Prepare a complete list of hazards for each site

Learn from the corporate model: safety is paramount.  Develop a health and safety plan for the camp, then advertise the fact heavily (especially to insurers).  Have risk management personnel prepare the health and safety plan for the camp, then improve it with lessons-learned on an annual basis.  Ensure that every student and faculty member has a copy of the hazards list.  Conduct regular health and safety briefings for all camp personnel.  Devise metrics to measure or track safety and health issues, such as person-hours without a camp-related injury.

Approach insurance companies about group coverage and/or approach AAPG about a possible link to their plans

3.       MAJORING IN GEOLOGY COSTS MORE THAN OTHER  MAJORS, DISCOURAGING ENROLLMENT

Field camp costs (on average) more than $2,000 (without the penalty for out-of-state students) and precludes or minimizes summer income opportunities. Students who may not want to practice geology as a career and students in difficult financial shape seek a lower cost major.

A solution to this would increase enrollment and provide a greater diversity of students.

Suggestions for solutions:

Increase financial support for NAGT Field Camp Scholarships

Provide alternatives to the six-week course

In K-12, build greater awareness of, enthusiasm for, and curiosity about field study.  An example is the various K-12 curricula now under development by AGI.

4.        MAINTAINING FUNDING FOR THE FIELD CAMP COURSE AND OTHER FIELD EXPERIENCES

Administrators commonly take the position that field camps and other field experiences must pay for themselves.  Permanent camp facilities carry fixed annual costs, and these become difficult to spread over fewer students.   We need to keep field camp and other field experiences affordable to students.

The goal is to maintain ready access to high quality educational opportunities at reasonable costs.

Suggestions for solutions:

Measure the capacity of the whole system of field camp education, and consider consolidations. 

Raise funds dedicated to field camp from alums

Develop a booklet to guide students in how to choose a field camp course

Examine whether the airline or hotel models of pricing and booking could be used to cost-effectively attract more students.  For example, use a central clearinghouse to advertise the camp(s) and book students using incentives such as discounts for early booking/commitment.

Prepared on behalf of Team 2 by Robert G. Corbett and R. Michael Beathard

 

 

 


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