The principal mission of geology's instructional program is to serve two vital needs of the JMU students. First, the majors in Geology (BS) and Earth Science (BA) present high quality programs of specialized study focusing on earth materials, internal and external earth processes, analysis of earth history, and application of geology to environmental and engineering issues. Fundamental to this mission is a commitment to foster the ability to think analytically and to communicate both within the discipline and with non-scientists. Course work and research experiences prepare the student for postgraduate study or professional careers that are subject to rapidly changing societal needs. Second, we are committed to enhancing general education by offering timely and challenging courses that provide insight into earth processes and human-environment interactions. These courses promote life long liberal learning by fostering critical thinking and an awareness of natural science.
The Department held its annual Honors Night Reception on March 31 in the Montpelier Room. Awardees with family and friends gathered with faculty and staff to dine and celebrate their special accomplishments. Descriptions of the awards can be found here. Congratulations to our award recipients!
Dr. Carl Drummond ('88) has received the Department's Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Drummond is the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of Geology at Indiana University-Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Dr. Drummond was a featured speaker in the Department's seminar series and gave a very insightful presentation entitled "A Brief History of Academic Freedom and Some Speculations on the Future of Tenure in American Higher Education."
JMU's BA in Earth Science program has received an award from the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition. Dr. Eric Pyle, who helped start the program, represented the department at the awards ceremony in Richmond.
Dr. Eric Pyle and professors from UVA received a grant to form the Blue Ridge Earth Science Collaborative, a project to provide professional development for middle and high school earth science teachers.
Dr. Anna Courtier with undergraduate Jillian Browning are using seismic data to create a map of the Earth's crust and a possible mantle plume underneath the Samoan Islands.
The field course in Ireland is the JMU Geology and Environmental Science capstone course and combines a study-abroad experience in western Ireland with a modern approach to field geology education and preparation for geoscience professions. The course is taught by faculty from JMU and the National University of Ireland, Galway. Both JMU and non-JMU students attend the field course.