The Department’s mission integrates teaching, the advancement of knowledge through research, and public service. In teaching, the mission includes both the education of specialists and the general education of students who will become decision-makers in society. To accomplish this, the Department has a strong, modern, professional program for its majors and a series of courses which broaden the human experience for non-majors. A core curriculum of fundamental courses for the majors is supplemented by a wide range of specialty courses emphasizing applied geology. The Department also serves a large number of students through the general education requirements and through providing courses ancillary to other degree programs. These courses develop in the student an understanding of the scientific method and provide examples of geological problems and their solutions to prepare the students to be informed citizens. Faculty members are expected to remain current in their areas of expertise, to attempt to anticipate future societal needs from the geologic standpoint, and to assure that the graduate and undergraduate programs are responsive to these needs.
To assure attainment of the educational mission, faculty members are actively engaged in the advancement of knowledge through research. The graduate program is an integral part of this research effort and every attempt is made to provide an atmosphere which stimulates the research growth of faculty and students. The results of these efforts are disseminated regularly by oral presentations at professional meetings and by publication in refereed journals.
Faculty and students of the Department provide continuing public service through speaking engagements, the dissemination of technical advice and information, and membership activities in various civic and professional organizations. This service aspect is a direct function of the strong research and graduate programs in the Department.
The Department has an important mission in providing education, research expertise, and public service to all citizens to help increase their awareness of the natural surroundings so that reasonable decisions may be made regarding resource and environmental problems. The program, which has developed in response to this need, emphasizes the application of geology to the solution of societal problems and at the same time provides a very broad and strong theoretical base.