Building Strong Geoscience Departments > Curricula & Programs > Beyond the Curriculum > Program & Department Profiles > Geological and Environmental Sciences, Hardin-Simmons University

Geological and Environmental Sciences, Hardin-Simmons University

Information for this profile was provided in 2005.

POB 16164
2200 Hickory Street
Abilene, TX 79698-6164
department website

Demographics

Number of faculty: 2
Number of graduates per year: 4 undergraduates, 6 Masters
Degrees granted: B.A. or B.S. Geology, M.S. Environmental Management
Are graduate students required to get teaching experience: no
Institutional enrollment: 2400

Recruitment and Retention of Students

Undergraduate recruitment is limited to university enrollment services programs. We have little to do with it. However, we hold fall or spring events where prospective students visit the campus.

Graduate students - program directors are responsible for their own recruitment. Most efforts are via web and various websites that sell our programs. Most students come to us from our local area.

Program Design

The program is a balance of advising students to meet their general education requirements before too many major requirements are attempted. Reason being we do not want them taking hours of classes that won't work for them if they change their major. As a private institution we are considerate of that issue! So we have them take a Physical Geology course first before launching into the major. If they like geology after that they tend to stick with it. If they don't then they have their general education lab science complete. A win-win situation. Our strength is we know our students and watch them closely at every level (freshman to senior). This works for us given our numbers.

Research Experiences, Teaching Opportunities, and Internships for Undergraduate Students

Few - but we do integrate our Paleontology courses into local dinosaur projects. Currently, I have our two seniors working for local petroleum companies. They are engaged in paid internship programs. They know they have jobs after graduation.

Teaching Experiences and Training for Graduate Students

The last semester our graduate students are with us they are required to work 80 hours of internship in a local company or government operation. Often, about 60% of the time, this will lead them into a paid position when they graduate.

Supporting Students' Professional Development: Mentoring, Career Advising and Other Activities

The department head (Geology/Environmental Science majors) or program director (Environmental Management Masters) monitors recent graduates for about 6 years. They are advised to apply for and register for their respective professional status.

Developing and Maintaining a Healthy Faculty

We are limited here because we are severely underpaid. Current new hires into Geology have averaged $36K per year for 9 month contracts. It has only been non-native Americans that apply for or accept our positions. They are very competent but soon realize there are better opportunities elsewhere. Most faculty that stay do so because they have college age kids and our university offers free tuition.

Developing and Maintaining a Department Community that Supports Learning

Our current head leads by example. He is always out in the community working with teachers and schools. Most of the others follow his lead.

Department Involvement in the Institution

Very! Extraordinary community presence! We run many professional development programs and collaborate with the local museums to present programs and activities. We work with local high school kids to help them work on dinosaur dig sites in the Big Bend area of Texas.

Participation in Interdisciplinary or Multidisciplinary Programs on Campus

Geology-Biology-Chemisty-Environmental Sciences collaborate very well. Younger faculty are particularly enthusiastic and energetic. Our Environmental Science program is interdisciplinary and requires a concerted effort at collaboration with the Chemistry and Biology departments.

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