Mineralogy field trip to a mine where we learn about useful minerals, how mineral deposits form, how we explore to discover mineral resources, and how we turn rock into forms useful in making the stuff of civilization. This is a common theme in most of my course. I'm an economic geologist, so of course these are central themes in my teaching of geologic concepts.
Courses I routinely teach
Geology of National Parks and Monuments (120-150 non-science-major student general education large lecture)
Mineralogy (15-20 student lecture + lab)
Petrology and Geochemistry (15-20 student lecture + lab)
Practical Scanning Electron Microscopy (12 student lecture + lab)
Economic Geology (15-20 student lecture + lab)
Senior Seminar in Geology (10-12 student seminar)
Hydrogeology class measuring the water level in a monitoring well near a limestone quarry. Knowing water table levels in the unconfined aquifer surrounding a quarry helps the quarry predict water flow into the pit and limit environmental impact of the operation.
Courses I've taught in the past
Optical mineralogy (15-24 student lecture + lab)
Structural geology (20-24 student lecture + lab)
Field Geology (14 student lecture + lab)
Geophysics (15-24 student lecture + lab)
Hydrogeology (15-24 student lecture + lab)
Environmental Geology (15-24 student lecture + lab)
Physical Geology (48 student lecture + labs)
Intro to Geology for non-science majors (120-180 student large lecture + 24-student labs)
Geology Club visiting an exploration drill rig near campus that was drilling to determine the extents of limestone deposits. We are very grateful that industry professionals who volunteer their time to help introduce us to practical aspects of working in the field.
Geology Club - learning with students outside the classroom
Students may learn knowledge and skills in my classes, but we also learn a lot outside the classroom in travels with Geology Club. Field trips in Geology Club include:
visiting active geologic operations in the county,
visiting classic rock exposures in the Mid-Atlantic region (PA/NJ/NY),
attending professional geology conferences,
traveling to explore the geology of distance places (e.g., Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Peru, Washington, California, and Arizona)
bonding activities on campus (e.g., movie night, geology yoga, geocrafts, etc.)
Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists (PCPG) annual conference where Geology Club students learned technical geology knowledge, practiced professional etiquette, and met working geologists in the region. These meetings often lead to internships and jobs for the students who participate.
Geology Club trip to hike in New Hampshire's White Mountains and explore Maine's Acadia National Park. Big trips like this are great for bonding and for letting off the steam of schoolyear stress.
Geology Club students camping in Utah - campfire's going and the sun's setting, just starting to cool off from the daytime heat and dinnertime!
Other travels with students
In addition to exploring the world with students in Geology Club, I also take students on trips through classes and research. A lot of students at Kutztown University have not traveled much before coming to college, so these trips show them that they can travel the world and teach them how to plan trips so they can travel on their own with their friends and family after they graduate from college. Geology Club is kind of a gateway experience in this regard.
Students choose our destinations and do most of the planning (with my help). So far, I've been fortunate for the past 24 years - they've always chosen interesting places to visit! (Or maybe every place has interesting attractions and it's all about just paying attention to what's special about each place?)
Geology Club trip to Washington where we hiked at the base of Mount Rainier, hiked in North Cascades National Park, and sea kayaked to watch ocean creatures. Another great trip!
Geology Club students in a cave in Puerto Rico's amazing karst region. Anyone can travel to distant lands on their own, but there are some travel options that are only possible in groups, and shared experiences make travel richer because it promotes connection.