LETTER FROM OUR CHAIR
For additional information:
Dr. James R. Ebert, Chair
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
Oneonta, NY 13820-4015
1-800-SUNY-123 ext. 3707
Two of the faculty have been awarded the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. One member has received the Richard Siegfried Junior Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence. One was recognized for Innovative Use of Instructional Technology. One member is a Distinguished Teaching Professor and received the SUNY Oneonta Outstanding Academic Advisement Award. In the history of the department, 4 faculty have attained the rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor. This represents nearly one third of the DTPs on our campus and twice as many as any other department. We are not certain if any other department in the SUNY system surpasses this record.
- Excellence in teaching, advisement and mentoring are our most important goals.
- Total numbers of majors (September, 2011): 193
- Environmental Science: 27
- Earth Science: 52 (33 are dual majors with Adolescence Education)
- Geology: 30
- Meteorology: 39
- Water Resources: 12
- Adolescence Education Earth Science: 33 (in the Division of Education)
- Average class size in upper division courses in majors: 14
- We offer a unique pre-semester field experience for incoming freshmen called GEO-FYRST (Geologic Experience Outdoors First Year Regional Summer Trip). The learning experience shared by these students and the development of a cohesive freshman cohort have had beneficial ripple effects within the student body of the department.
- We are the only geosciences department among the 13 SUNY comprehensive colleges that offers (or participates in) six distinct majors. Most offer 2, a few offer 3 or 4 and only one offers 5, but 3 of these are variants of geology. Three colleges do not offer any majors in the geosciences.
- We occupy a newly renovated building and have recently acquired significant new instrumentation: X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, electromagnetic induction profiler, ground-penetrating radar, thin-section machine, total station, etc.
- Each year we award five to seven scholarships which have been endowed by alumni contributions, memorial contributions from alumni families or contributions from emeritus faculty or their families. Each scholarship is between $600 and $1200. These include the QTZ Scholarship, the Peter Knightes Scholarship, the M. Ira Dubins Memorial Scholarship, the Robert Caputo Memorial Scholarship and the Scholarship(s) for Excellence in Geology, Water Resources and Earth Science.
- Every fall we bestow nine mini-scholarships that we call “book awards” to outstanding freshman, sophomore, and junior majors. These awards are funded by alumni contributions.
- We provide a cash prize and certificate for the Philo C. Wilson Outstanding Graduating Senior during a department reception in the spring.
- Faculty research is most typically done in conjunction with undergraduate students. Numerous students have presented their results at national and regional conferences. The Earth Sciences Department has sponsored more student/faculty grant-funded projects than any other department.
- Participation by large numbers of students in conferences is subsidized partially by alumni contributions to our Field Experiences Fund.
- We host a very active Meteorology Club, Geology Club and chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the national honor society for the geosciences.
- Most of our alumni are working in the field of their degree and about 25% of recent graduates are continuing their education in graduate school.
- The department hosts a small Masters degree program in geology or water resources.
- The reputation of the Earth Sciences Department is well known regionally and nationally for excellence in undergraduate instruction.
- We host 4 listservs for science teachers, including the ESPRIT listserv for Earth Science teachers which has 1600 subscribers from 26 states.
- We host the Oneonta Earth Science Outreach Program (ESOP) which enables high schools to offer advanced geoscience courses for Oneonta college credit. This program addresses a national need in that there are no AP courses in the geosciences. ESOP has been featured in several national publications, including the American Geological Institute’s Geoscience Currents and the Geological Society of America’s GSA Today.
- We actively support Adolescence Education and some of our faculty are engaged in outreach activities in support of in-service teachers.
- We offer a variety of extended field trips. Recent trips have visited the Mojave Desert/Mecca Hills area of California, Death Valley and Iceland.
- We host an annual Majors’ Night in the fall, at which recent graduates return to advise current students regarding careers. We host an annual Department Picnic in the spring, which is well attended by students, alumni, faculty and emeritus faculty.
- In alternate years, we host a Career Workshop for our majors. Panelists are alumni that have been in the workforce long enough to have risen to senior or managerial positions.
- Two thirds of our faculty have participated in professional development workshops through the Cutting Edge Series sponsored by the Science Education Research Center and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.
- Entry-level job opportunities are excellent for graduates from the Earth Sciences Department. In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates job growth in the geosciences at an annual rate of 19%, more than double for other career areas.