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Learning Outcomes

All outcomes are contingent on students fulfilling their responsibilities, including:

  • Completion of all assignments
  • Spending a minimum of 3 hours’ work (in and out of class) per credit per week
  • Consulting with the instructor whenever problems arise.

1. Students will develop a knowledge base in the principles of physical and historical geology with special emphasis on the unifying theory of plate tectonics and the linkage between geological processes and global biogeochemical cycles.

2. Students will be trained to apply the scientific method to investigations of geological processes, Earth systems, and interactions among the various physical and biological realms utilizing standard scientific field and laboratory methods.

3. Students will be able to apply their knowledge base and research skills to current Earth‑system based issues such as mining and management of Earth resources with emphasis on related economic, social, and public policy dimensions.

4. Students will understand the concept of geologic time and major events in the evolution of Earth and its plant and animal life.

5. Students will understand the various landscape‑forming processes that act on the Earth's surface (agents of weathering and erosion) and those that act from the planet's interior (mountain building. volcanism, earthquakes).

6. Students will understand how knowledge of Earth system science aids in land‑use decisions and mitigation of natural hazards such as flooding, earthquakes, and landslides.

7. Students will understand the functioning of hydrologic systems and the challenge of maintaining surface and ground water quality.

8. Students will understand the genesis of Earth resources including fossil fuels, metals, and non‑metallic minerals and in this way they will appreciate their finite nature.

9. Students will be able to analyze, interpret, and report on laboratory and field findings using appropriate statistical techniques and computer applications.

Additional student learning outcomes specific to the earth science education subplan:

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge in theories of the structure, origin, and evolution of the universe and solar system.
  • Students will understand the fundamental processes of the atmosphere, the resulting weather and climate, and the effects of the atmosphere on other aspects of the earth's environments and on humans.

Excerpted from 2014 Geoscience Program Review