Building Strong Geoscience Departments > Program Assessment > Developing an Assessment Plan > Student Learning Goals or Outcomes > CSU-Chico GES

Student Learning Outcomes

Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, California State University, Chico


Students will be able to...

  1. Determine the physical and chemical composition of earth materials and the processes that produced them.
    • Identify and fully describe rocks, minerals and fossils in the field, in hand sample and under the microscope.
    • Use the textural characteristics, and the mineralogical and chemical compositions, of igneous and metamorphic rocks to interpret the processes that formed those rocks and the environments in which they formed.
    • Use fossils, sedimentary structures, and other physical characteristics of sedimentary rocks to interpret their ages and depositional environments.
  2. Analyze the three-dimensional geometry of rock units and discern the geologic processes that formed that geometry.
    • Accurately portray and quantitatively analyze the present and past geometry of rock bodies with appropriate technical diagrams.
    • Use geophysical data such as measurements of Earth's gravitational and magnetic fields, radar, and seismic refraction and reflection profiles to discern the geometry of rock bodies at depth.
    • Perform kinematic and dynamic analysis of geologic structures such as faults, folds, and shear zones.
    • Analyze ancient and modern sedimentary basins in order to determine tectonic setting, subsidence rates, and regional environmental patterns.
  3. Synthesize the geologic history of Earth as evidenced by the rock record.
    • Reconstruct the evolutionary history of life on earth using the fossil record.
    • Use a wide variety of geologic data to interpret the timing and geometry of major tectonic events such as continental collisions, obductions of volcanic arcs, continental rifting, and bolide impacts.
    • Use a wide variety of geologic data to interpret the timing and nature of major climatic events such as glaciations, global warm periods, and world-wide sea level changes.
    • Synthesize and integrate interpretations of biological, tectonic, and climatic evolution into a comprehensive understanding of Earth's history.
  4. Work individually and in groups to access and reference scientific information and communicate scientific information both orally and in writing.
    • Communicate clearly orally and in writing.
    • Design effective illustrations.
    • Participate in group situations to accomplish common goals.
    • Access and reference previous published scientific information
  5. Synthesize varied types of field information and apply these to developing conceptual and mathematical models. Use analytical skills to process observational and numerical data in order to test hypotheses and reach sound conclusions.
    • Students will demonstrate that they can observe the various types of rocks and transcribe those observations into proper field-note descriptions.
    • Students will demonstrate that they can correctly use the Brunton compass to measure strikes and dips and place that data on a geologic map.
    • Student will demonstrate that they can identify contacts between lithologic units on the ground and accurately and precisely plot those contacts on a map.
    • Students will demonstrate that they can make field observations, describe those observations accurately in field notes, and be able to interpret the data and synthesize it into a proper field report.
    • Students will demonstrate that they can construct a proper geologic map based on their field observations.
    • Students will demonstrate that they can construct geologic cross-sections and geologic columns.

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