Assessment is a continuing process in the Geology Department rather than an event. The procedure for making changes to improve the program is illustrated by a flowchart:
Examples of specific initiatives that have been undertaken as a result of the assessment process are listed below.
CURRICULUM CHANGES RESULTING FROM ASSESSMENT DATA
AND FROM OUR EXTERNAL REVIEW
Initiative: Reducing Requirements for the Hydrogeology/Engineering Geology Emphasis
One curriculum change resulting from assessment data and from our external review includes reducing the number of courses and credits required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Geology with an emphasis in Hydrogeology/Engineering Geology by two courses and a total of seven to eight credits (from 88-90 credits to 80-83 credits) to bring the total number of credits required for this emphasis into line with the other Geology BS degree emphases.
Initiative: Revised Elective Requirements
Another curriculum change has been to modify undergraduate major requirements by giving students the freedom to chose more electives in related areas. This allows our students to choose electives outside of Geology that complement the major and result in broader educational preparation. All minimum of 12 credits of 5000-level elective courses are required.
Initiative: Making Geology 1110 Laboratory a Separate One-Credit Course
Because the majority of Geology majors are transfer students, most of them have taken an introductory Geology course at another institution, many of which offer such a course as a threecredit, lecture-only class without an associated and required laboratory section. Because of the importance of the laboratory component of the Geology 1110 Physical Geology course, these undergraduate majors can now take just the laboratory section of the course instead of either having to take the lecture portion of the course as well as the lab or simply waiving the requirement.
Initiative: Eliminating Geology 3520 and Modifying Geology 3500 and 4500
The General Geology undergraduate course sequence has been streamlined by eliminating Geology 3520 (Optical Mineralogy) and incorporating the most useful and practical aspects of this class into Geology 3500 (Minerals and Rocks) and Geology 4500 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. This change went into effect in the summer of 2010.
Initiative: Emphasize Importance of Geophysics in the Undergraduate Curriculum
In response to input from the Geology Advisory Board and our undergraduate students we now require that all undergraduate students must take at least one geophysics course (e.g. Geology 5620 Global Geophysics or Geology 5660 Applied Geophysics). These courses will also help to fulfill the 12 credits of 5000-level elective courses requirement. This requirement went into effect in the summer of 2010.
Initiative: Adding Economic Geology Course
In response to input from the Geology Advisory Board and our undergraduate and graduate students we have added Geology 6800 Economic Geology as an elective course in our curriculum. This course will help to prepare students for a career in the mining industry. The course was first offered in Spring 2013.
Initiative: Adding Geochemistry back to our Curriculum
Due to the retirement of a faculty member in the field of geochemistry, this very important aspect of our curriculum was largely eliminated. Based on input from the Geology Advisory Board and our students, replacing this faculty member and reintegrating geochemistry into our curriculum became our top priority. In the Spring of 2013 our new geochemist joined the faculty and has added several geochemistry courses to our curriculum.
Initiative: Offering Geology 4700 and 5200 Every Year
Students, alumni and outside reviewers have consistently recommended that we offer the Geology 4700 Field Methods and Geology 5200 Field Camp every year. The alternate year scheduling of these courses resulted in some of our students having to take the courses at other institutions in order to graduate in a timely manner. Starting in the 2012-2013 academic year, we began offering both courses each year, despite logistic and funding challenges associated with doing so.