The Faculty of the Chemistry Department unanimously agree that the current P&R process lacks sufficient justification, is based upon faulty or incomplete data, promotes a highly personal administrative agenda, and summarily disregards the university community's duty of shared governance
The Geological Sciences Faculty unanimously opposes the P&R recommendation to merge the Geology Program under a new Environmental Science Division. Geology is one of the cornerstones of the Natural Sciences and intrinsically linked to Physics, Chemistry, and Biology through shared methodology and pedagogy in the scientific study of the Earth. While we would welcome opportunities for collaboration through an inter-departmental Center of Environmental Studies, the integrity of the Geology Program and its science-based curriculum must be preserved. Removing Geology from the Natural Sciences and merging it with design or policy oriented disciplines would undermine our credibility, devalue our degree and degrade our ability to attract and retain quality students, faculty and external funding. The recommended merger would likely hinder existing collaborations with the other Natural Sciences and Engineering. Given the local importance of seismic and landslide hazards, a comprehensive polytechnic university in Southern California needs an independent and vital Geology Program.
By all indications, the Department is strong and growing. In the last 2 years, the number of Geology majors has increased by 35%. While relatively small, it is not atypical for a CSU geology department and was lauded in the P&R report for its efficiency.
The Department has hired new research-active faculty. In the last 2 years, our external funding productivity has increased substantially, with grants and consulting contracts in hazard reduction, mining and solid Earth research: non-environment related growth areas. We recently were recognized as members of the Southern California Earthquake Center, which will provide new opportunities for internships and external funding.
Our Department is expanding collaboration with the other Natural Sciences and Engineering through new classes in Engineering Geology, Global Geophysics and Geo-Mathematics, which can only be hindered by removing Geology from the Natural Sciences. Engineering Geology was praised in the College of Science Commentary on Prioritization Reports as a collaborative effort that prevented redundancies. We also play a key role in teacher training (a program of distinction in the Commentary), science education outreach, and are actively engaged in the Teacher Quality Enhancement and SEES NSF STEM Scholarship programs.
Our majors benefit from a rigorous geosciences curriculum that emphasizes field and laboratory skills and demands a strong foundation in physics, chemistry, and mathematics. They engage in faculty-mentored research, participate in the Keck Geology Consortium and NSF programs, and regularly present results at professional conferences. A notable percentage now pursues graduate degrees. The Geology Club was voted best student club this year by the Science Council. They collaborate with the Geotechnical Engineering Club and the Inland Empire Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists.
Our program is widely respected for producing graduates with exceptional applied knowledge and field experience. Geology alumni work in a broad range of professions addressing problems in natural hazards, geotechnical engineering, energy and mineral resources, hydrology, environmental remediation and Science education. Regardless of profession, they emphasize the competitive edge that a science-based Geology degree provides for career advancement.
A survey of CSU/UC and US campuses shows that Geology is nearly always housed within Natural or Physical Science divisions, never Environmental Science, reflecting the academic tradition of Geology as a core Natural Science discipline. The integrity of the Geology Program must be preserved in order to uphold the value of the education and degree we offer our students and for our faculty to remain competitive in Earth Science grant programs. Dilution of the program by merger would do a great disservice to our students, the university and our community.