That we need to defend and
re-establish continuous field education for all geoscience majors,
including major field experience(s).
Notes: This comes under the changing needs category because of
increased stresses on field education due to competing technologies,
liability and access problems, and cost (in money, energy and time)
of field education relative to classroom instruction.
We agreed that field education was important throughout a student's
career, and should not be restricted to early or late field experiences.
Major field experiences involving the active investigation of geologic
processes are integral to a complete geologic education. The group
felt that these were optimally done in a multi-week, dedicated field
Notes: The industry representatives in the group strongly urged
that we emphasize the fundamentals of field investigation, particularly
exposure to diverse geologic settings and mapping exercises. The
participants were clearly of one mind on this. We all indicated
that introduction to specific technologies is important, but might
be better handled in field methods courses and in specific, discipline-centered
classes rather than in a field camp external to the university.
On this basis, we then talked about what sort of fundamentals should
be covered. We divided them into cognitive fundamentals and fundamental
Introduce diverse geologic relationships
Notes: this includes field trips throughout the curriculum. Diversity
is essential for a complete geologic education.
Practice doing science
formulating problems and multiple
interpreting and concluding
Notes: We agreed that one of the most important things
that we can give ALL our students, regardless of their final career
choice, is a solid foundation in science. I relayed the messahe
given to me by a first year student at Harvard Law School. He said
that the people who do best at law school are those with a science
background, not a pre-law background.
Scientific approaches can be taught in lectures and by example,
but will only really take hold if students are given the opportunity
to actively practice scientific methods. The field is an ideal
place for this, with ample opportunities to see the effects of biasing
and to practice explicit definition of problems, formulation of
multiple working hypotheses and other scientific approaches.
Apply geologic principles
Notes: The application of geologic principles in the field solidifies
classroom learning and brings great excitement to the learning process.
considered to be the best way to learn geologic relationships.
Field techniques (e.g., data
Communication - written, graphical and oval: essential
for professional success
Introduce High Tech Tools (ETS/GPS/GIS)
Notes: The group felt that these were important to teach but may
be better taught in small groups in a traditional class room setting
where expensive instruments can be used by sub-sets of the class
rather than trying to get enough instrumentation so that all students
in a field class can be actively engaged at the same time. There
was a strong feeling that location tools (e.g., GPS) be used to
augment, not replace, map reading skills.
Notes: these last two items seem contradictory but can be easily
achieved by mixing individual and group projects.
Strategies for dealing with
smaller enrollments Merging with other
Inclusion of other disciplines