Incorporating A Stronger Field Component in Your Curriculum

Yvette Kuiper and Geoff Feiss

At the 2009 workshop on Strengthening Your Geoscience Program, working groups of participants met to address topics of concern. This page is a summary of one working group's discussion.

What are some examples of departmental efforts in this area?

  • Make it a requirement: incorporate course based field trips/exercises and a field course
  • General public field trips
  • Field trips for recruiting students
  • Field trip as part of a freshman seminar (recruiting)
  • Take your dean/provost or other administrators in the field
  • Go to NEIGC and local field based conferences

What are benefits and positive outcomes?

  • Community/team building
  • Lower barrier between students and faculty
  • Recruiting
  • No better way to learn geosciences than in the field
  • Learn to argue on the outcrop (think critically)
  • Eye-opening experience: learn to travel, camp, etc.
  • Learn to make primary observations and base interpretations on them.
  • Learn how to generate qualitative and quantitative data with a compass, hammer and handlens.
  • Students learn how to formulate working hypotheses and test them.

What are challenges and barriers?

  • time for faculty; don't get credit for the time commitments
  • time for students; limiting factor, athletes, other commitments
  • facilities (vehicles, camping gear, etc)
  • money
  • logistics
  • liability

What are some ideas for making this work better?

  • charge students a fee
  • make logictics part of the trip; make it fun, get students to cook, get a new tire etc.
  • On student field trips make student volunteer groups to help before, during, or after the trip
  • get staff or students or geoclub to do logistics
  • don't go to all new places each year
  • pair up with other universities
  • join consortia
  • Have a screensaver with field pictures run in lower level/non-majors classes.
  • Have a display case with field pictures (also good for recruitment)
  • Community-building games; e.g. give identities to vans (community building effort)

What resources regarding this topic would you want to see on the website?