Supporting Minority Students at Humboldt State University
Geology BA - Geosciences Option Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University is the northernmost campus of the California State University system located on the rural north coast, ~300 miles north of San Francisco. Campus demographics are changing rapidly to better reflect that of California. As Fall 2013, HSU was eligible for recognition as an Hispanic Serving Institution. The Geology Department has ~110 majors, ~10 of which are MS students, ~85 Geology BS/BA, and ~15 Geology BA-Geosciences Option. The Geosciences Option was revamped from a Geoscience Education Option that never gained viable enrollments in part due to changes in the Education program.
Keys to Success
- Attracting new students by visiting Introductory geology classrooms
- Supporting our majors by reforming pedagogy, building community
- Preparing students for careers by providing field experience and service learning opportunity
Attracting New Students
We are a rural campus and lack the means to recruit from outside the area. Most of our majors transfer in from two-year schools knowing that they want to major in Geology. Our primary recruiting efforts have centered around having the Department Chair and student volunteers visit introductory Geology courses each semester to talk about the program and career opportunities in the geosciences. The student volunteers are often URM.
Supporting Our Majors
Support includes high levels of interaction between students and faculty. The department is very hands-on and highly field-oriented. The curriculum is designed to provide field experiences at multiple levels that build gradually and build confidence. Field courses and field trips often use senor-level undergraduate TAs as intermediaries between new students and faculty.
Twice per semester "GeoGatherings" allow for information exchanges and group advising activities, as well as informal social interactions with pizza provided by the department.
An active student Geology Club also provides opportunity for social connection for the students.
Preparing Students for Careers
Students are prepared to pursue work in public education, nature interpreter, teaching credential, natural hazards and resource planning, and environmental science. The program provides a broad Earth science background and the opportunity to work with the public in a service learning-type capstone experience.