SLO - University of Northern Iowa

Bachelor of Science: Geology Major
Departmental Philosophy of Student Outcomes Assessment
The Bachelor of Science program in geology is recommended for most students who
wish to prepare for careers as professional geologists and who plan to enter graduate school in
geology. This curriculum meets the standards of the American Institute of Professional
Geologists. Students on the B.S. geology program are required to complete an undergraduate
research project. The B.S. in geology requires more course work in geology and mathematics
than does the B.A. in geology.
The Assessment Plan for the Bachelor of Science Degree—Geology Major is based on
the primary purpose of generating information which will be useful for enhancing student
learning and program development. To this end, we are focused on four interrelated goals.
First, we believe that it is critical for our students to establish a basic background in the
supporting sciences and mathematics. Geology is becoming increasingly more quantitative and
our students must give special attention to developing quantitative and analytical skills.
Second, our students must master a broad understanding of the field of geology in order to
become competent professionals in today’s society. This requires the completion and
understanding of the basic 8-semester-hour sequence in geology as well as upper division
offerings in crystallography, mineralogy, optical mineralogy-petrography, structural geology,
geomorphology, stratigraphy and sedimentation, paleontology, and various geology electives.
Third, our students must be prepared to apply their geologic knowledge to new situations and to
engage in independent work, data synthesis, and problem solving. Opportunities for these
applications are found in upper division courses, a required summer field experience, and in a
required undergraduate research project. Fourth, geologic knowledge as applied to any
situation must be communicated clearly to be understood and to be useful. Hence, we give
special attention to written and oral communication by our students.
The Bachelor of Science--Geology Major combines a set of core requirements (geology,
related sciences, and mathematics) with general university requirements and electives. In order
to allow flexibility in our assessment procedure, we have selected student portfolios and
surveys as major components of our Assessment Plan. Our Assessment Plan incorporates those
student outcomes and assessment methods which will tell us most directly how well our
curriculum and program structures are responding to the four goals stated above. The
Assessment Plan for the BS-Geology Major has been reviewed by student representatives from
the Department of Earth Science.
Outcomes and Competencies
Outcome 1 Students shall become familiar with basic principles from mathematics
and other sciences and of the relationship of these principles to the
solution of geologic problems.
Competency 1.1
Application of basic mathematical concepts through the
level of Calculus II.
Competency 1.2
Application of the basic principles of chemistry through
the level of General Chemistry II.
Competency 1.3
Application of the basic principles of physics through the
level of General Physics II or Physics II.
Competency 1.4
Application of mathematics and science principles in
required upper-division courses in geology.
Outcome 2 Students shall become familiar with the basic principles of geology.
Competency 2.1
Develop an understanding of the broad discipline of
geology and its major subfields.
Competency 2.2
Application of the major principles in crystallography and
mineralogy, including the identification of minerals by
physical, chemical, and x-ray methods.
Competency 2.3
Application of the major principles in optical mineralogypetrography, including the identification of minerals by
optical methods.
Competency 2.4
Application of the major principles of structural geology,
including understanding the mechanics of rock
deformation and plate tectonics.
Competency 2.5
Application of the basic principles of geomorphology,
including the interpretation of landscapes from field
studies and by interpretation of topographic maps and
aerial photographs.
Competency 2.6
Application of the basic principles of sedimentation,
including the identification of common sedimentary rocks
and interpretation of their environment of deposition.
Competency 2.7
Application of the basic principles of evolution and
paleontology, including the identification and description
of the major invertebrate fossils with a special emphasis
on interpreting paleoecology.
Competency 2.8
Application of additional principles in geology through
study in selected upper division courses and electives.
Outcome 3 Students shall pursue independent work, data synthesis, and problem
Competency 3.1
Be able to synthesize geological information and
interpretations from multiple sources.
Competency 3.2
Be able to propose and complete an undergraduate
research project in geology involving field and/or
laboratory research.
Competency 3.3
Be able to successfully complete a summer field course in
Outcome 4 Students shall communicate orally and in written form according to
the standards of the discipline.
Competency 4.1
Be able to make an oral presentation to a group of peers
which successfully communicates geologic
Competency 4.2
Be able to create a written paper (or report) in
conformance with discipline standards for scholarly
publication and in keeping with common standards of
expression for the English language.
Measurement of Competencies (B.S. Geology)
Method of Measurement
1.1--------------------------grades in required courses
1.2--------------------------grades in required courses
1.3--------------------------grades in required courses
1.4--------------------------grades in required courses;
observations by geology staff
2.1--------------------------grades in required courses;
observations by geology staff
2.2--------------------------grades in required courses;
observations by geology staff
2.3--------------------------grades in required courses;
observations by geology staff
2.4--------------------------grades in required courses;
observations by geology staff
2.5--------------------------grades in required courses;
observations by geology staff
2.6--------------------------grades in required courses;
observations by geology staff
2.7--------------------------grades in required courses;
observations by geology staff
2.8--------------------------grades in required courses;
observations by geology staff
3.1--------------------------required term papers and other writing
assignments in upper-level courses
3.2--------------------------copy of undergraduate research paper
(abstract can be filed in folder)
3.3--------------------------copy of transcript of geology summer field course;
student’s self evaluation of field course
4.1--------------------------presentations in classes;
required presentation of undergraduate research
4.2--------------------------departmental writing requirement
(see attached copy of “Writing in the Earth Sciences”)
Understanding of competencies 1.1-2.8 will also be judged from the results of the
(recommended) Graduate Record Examination. The GRE results will allow us to assess the standing
of our graduates with a national audience and national norms. At the time of their graduation, students
are invited to provide comments concerning the strengths and weaknesses of this program. The
student’s advisor will prepare a summary statement for the portfolio, commenting on the progress and
professional growth of the student.
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