Geological Science, El Paso Community College
Program Design & Assessment
The Associate of Science degree in Geological Sciences at El Paso Community College (EPCC) gives students a valuable grounding in the basic skills of geology as a way of preparing them to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a Bachelor's degree in geoscience. The degree is marketed as a way for geoscience students to get the introduction to their upper level coursework.
Types of students served
EPCC is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution and approximately 95% of the student body is of Hispanic decent. The students in the degree program mirror this ethnic distribution. Also, the majority of students in this degree program are returning to school in preparation for a second career and many have families with children. More information is available on the Supporting Minority Students at EPCC page.
The main goal of the degree program is to prepare students who graduate with an A.S. degree to transfer to the University of Texas El Paso or other four-year institution.
How program goals are assessed
The degree program is assessed based on the number of Associate's degrees conferred. The number of students who have declared a major in geological science is useful, but given that some students never finish the A.S. before transferring to a four-year school it is not viewed a a measure of the success of the program.
Design features that allow goals to be met
Through an articulation agreement and close coordination between the two schools, 100% of the A.S. in geological science at EPCC transfers to the B.S. degree program at UTEP. This allows, students in the A.S. program to be confident that they will be learning the content they need to be successful at UTEP.
The courses taught at EPCC prepare students with necessary geological skills to be successful at the B.S. level. Although they may be covered in a "black box" sort of way, students are taught skills such as using a Brunton compass, how to read a topographic map, and how to construct a stratigraphic column. So while they have the skills, they may need to pick up the theory behind what they know how to do in later courses.
Given the close relationship between EPCC and UTEP, the progress of transfer students can be tracked. They tend to be very successful and, in terms of basic geologic skills, can be better prepared than students who began their studies at UTEP because of the additional attention available at EPCC.
The A.S. program graduates an average of 3-4 students per year with a recent high of 7 in the spring of 2013. At any given time, there are approximately 60 students with declared majors in Geological Science at EPCC.
Careers pursued by our alumni
Data are not available the careers chosen by students after leaving EPCC and attaining their B.S.