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Skidmore College
Geosciences Department

Student Learning Goals

Below are the departmental learning goals mapped to College-wide goals for student learning.

The Department of Geosciences at Skidmore College seeks to engage students in a meaningful scientific exploration of our planet. (Ia, Ic, IIa, IVc) The geosciences major allows students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, to design programs of study to meet individual interests and goals, while developing breadth of knowledge vital to all geoscientists. (Ia, Ic) All students graduating with a degree in geosciences from Skidmore College will be able to purse advance degrees and/or professional careers in the geologic sciences as well as related fields within the environmental sciences. (IIIc, IVa, IVc, IVd) All students majoring the geosciences should also be able to demonstrate a master of fundamental principles of the geosciences as well as the modes of inquiry used by geoscientists.  (I & II)

  • Students will acquire sound skills in
    • Problem-solving. (IIa, IIb, IIe)
    • Scientific research. (IIa, IIb, IIe, IIIc, IIId, IV)
    • Communication. (Ic, IIc, IId, IIIc)
  • Acquire a broad understanding of the geosciences in general. (Ia, Ib, Ic, IIb, IIe, IIId)
  • Develop specific knowledge of one area of geosciences in greater depth. (Ia, Ib, Ic, IIb, IIe, IIId)
  • Apply their understanding of Earth processes in a liberal arts context to contemporary issues affecting humans. (IIIa, IIIb, IIIc, IIId, Iva, IVc, IVd)
  • Develop a strong foundation for professional careers in geosciences and other related fields requiring or benefitting from a geosciences background. (Ib, IIa, IIc, IId, IIIc, IIId, IVa)
  • Develop a strong foundation for lifelong learning. (IVa, IVb, IVc, IVd)

Information Literacy

  • Understand how science is critiqued and revised over time by many practitioners (Ib, IIa, IIIb, IVb)
  • Function as an informed consumer of science media (I, IIa, IIb, IIe, IIIa, IIIb, IVc)
  • Access and manipulate public geoscientific data sources (IIa, IIb)
  • Understand and clearly communicate the uncertainties and limitations of different types of observations (Ic, IIa, IIb, IIc, IIId, IVa, IVc)
  • Correctly attribute sources of data, scientific literature, and ideas (Ic, IIb, IIc, IId, IVb)
  • Efficiently search for and access the primary scientific literature (Ic, IIa, IIb, IIe)

Visual Literacy

  • Understand different ways of visualizing geoscientific data. (Ia, IIa, IIb, IIIc)
  • Be able to interpret and explain information from graphical sources, including multi- dimensional, spatial, and temporal data. (Ia, Ic, IIa, IIb, IIc, IIc, IIIc, IVa)
  • Create graphical representations of data that clearly communicate scientific results. (Ic, IIb, IIc, IIIc)
  • Correctly attribute sources of graphical data and imagery. (Ic, IIc, IIe)

Technological Literacy

  • Create digital representations of information in ways that clearly communicate results. (IIb, IIc, IIe, IIIc, IIId)
  • Access and manipulate digitally archived public geoscientific data sources. (Ia, Ib, Ic, IIa, IIb, IId, IIe)
  • Understand principles and major applications of technology used in geoscientific studies. (Ia, Ic, IIa, IIb, IIe, IIIc, IIIc)

Effective Oral Communication

  • Be able to effectively communicate about geoscience to general audiences. (Ic, IIb, IIc, IId, IIIb, IIIc, IVb)
  • Develop effective oral communication skills to deliver scientific information to an audience of peers. (Ic, IIb, IIc, IId, IIIb, IIIc, IVb)
  • Be able to formally communicate scientific research results. (Ic, IIb, IIc, IId, IIIb, IIIc, IVb)

Effective Written Communication

  • Synthesize and cite information from a variety of sources. (Ia, Ic, IIc)
  • Articulate clearly hypotheses and methods for scientific research. (Ic, IIc, IIIc)
  • Develop proficiency in expressing results, including addressing uncertainty in the findings. (Ic, IIb, IIc)
  • Convey the implications of findings for the geosciences community and/or the public. (Ib, Ic, IIc, IId, IIIc, IIId, IVa)
  • Write effective independent and collaborative pieces. (Ic, IIc, IId, IIIc)


Advice for Geosciences Majors

Skidmore's Career Services offers a program called Living the Liberal Arts. Alumni panelists from different majors return to campus to provide advice on their post-grad professional journeys.

On March 29, 2011, four geosciences alumni were on campus. Here's a brief clip of Matt Shrensel '09, a staff geologist for Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, providing his insights.