Building Strong Geoscience Departments > Workshops > Strengthening Your Geoscience Program > Participants and their Contributions > Thomas Nelson Community College

Thomas Nelson Community College Department of Geology

by Pete Berquist and Lynsey LeMay


Overview:

The Geology Department at Thomas Nelson Community College is comprised of one full-time faculty member, and at least two adjunct instructors each semester. The full-time faculty position is also the Department Head, and reports directly to the Dean of the Division of Science and Allied Health; this division additionally includes Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Science Education, Health, Physical Education, and a diverse Nursing program. Each program within the division has their own dedicated labs, although we collectively share purchasing budgets. The Geology Department is relatively young, having had a full-time instructor for ~4 years, and in that time has moved from the Division of Math, Engineering, and Technology to the present Division.

As an institution, TNCC serves ~14,000 students annually, where students are pursing Associates Degrees, Certificate programs, workforce development, or transfer status into 4-year academic programs. Geology receives ~ 200 to 250 students each semester (except for summer terms, which draw ~30 students). Informal polling of students inquiring why they decided to take a geology course reveals that over 95% perceive that geology will be easier than physics, chemistry, or biology.

Strengths

Weaknesses

Planning process

The Geology Department does not have a formal planning process. Decision about the number of courses, and development of courses involves consultation with adjunct instructors and the Division Dean. Ideas for courses that may be of interest to students, and developed in the future come from informal conversations with other instructors at TNCC.

Recent department review

To my knowledge, the department has never received a formal review, and there are no plans to conduct such a review. However, Departments are required to review, and update, their curriculum every two years. This review is restricted to courses currently offered and does not account for any future plans for the department.

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