Thursday, March 05, 2009

ASU realigning Earth science degree

Rumors were flying today that ASU was considering eliminating its BS degree in geology. So, Tom Sharp, Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies in the School of Earth and Space Exploration offered this clarification in an email to AEG Arizona Chapter president Ken Ferguson:

Let me clarify what we are doing with our degrees. Currently we have a B.S. in Geological Sciences and a B.S. in Earth and Space Exploration. We are going to make the degree in Geological Sciences a concentration within the Earth and Space Exploration B.S. Although this is technically doing away with the BS in Geological Sciences, in reality is is simply putting it under the umbrella of Earth and Space Exploration. Under that umbrella, the degree is more rigorous and has an engineering component.

There will be several other Earth and Space Exploration tracks that students can select including astrophysics, earth and space exploration (earth and space science combined with engineering), and instrumentation. Already, our geology majors are sharing classes with Earth and Space majors and engineers. I think that we should consider a concentration in engineering geology.

We are also creating a new degree, which is a environmental earth science. This is not as rigorous as our geology degree, but we feel that there is a market for such a degree and that it might help grow all of our programs.

One of the issues that I am also dealing with right now is field geology. With all the budget cuts and a change in student fee accounting, we are having difficulty paying for field trips and field classes. We all agree that these are critical, but we have to be creative about how to finance these. We will be setting up a foundation account specifically to support field studies and requesting that alumni and local industry contribute to make sure that we can keep a strong field program going in spite of cuts in state funding.

[I edited this slightly]

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Lee.

    I posted a bit more about this over at GeoSlice.

    Anyway, I think there are a lot of troubling aspects evident here, but also a lot of potential. I the dialogue continues and solutions can be found.