Cal Poly Pomona

P&R Responses for recommendation 97

Recommendation 97
Department Computer Science
Consensus Opinion 11 out of 12 faculty/staff : Con
Consensus Explanation The Computer Science Department would like to extend support to the response of the Geological Sciences program regarding the discontinuance of its Integrated Earth Studies (IES) program. We agree that the environmental sustainability theme for the campus as embraced by the P&R committee is in contradiction to the recommendation of discontinuance of this program. Response to this recommendation from the Geological Sciences Department clearly exhibits the intricate connection between this program and environmental sustenance. In fact, a program like this almost becomes indispensable as it provides the courses for scientific foundation of environment sustenance. We therefore support the Geology department in their request to urge not to discontinue the IES program.
Minority Opinion NA out of NA faculty/staff : NA
Minority Explanation

Recommendation 97
Consensus Opinion 10 out of 12 faculty/staff : Con
Consensus Explanation Discontinuance of the Integrated Earth Studies (IES) major is contradictory to the “Environmental Science” themes embraced in the P&R proposal. The IES curriculum embodies courses such as Studies of a Blue Planet, Descriptive Physical Oceanography, Meteorology, Groundwater Geology, Natural Disasters, Engineering Geology, and Soil Science that have environmental science content. Authors of the P&R document target “global warming” and “environmental sustainability” as topics for future emphasis. If these emerge as growth areas on campus, the IES program is strategically positioned to expand and provide support courses that develop the scientific foundation for related studies.

The IES curriculum draws only from courses that satisfy requirements for other majors or General Education. Elimination of the IES degree will not eliminate these course offerings and hence results in no savings to the University.

The IES major is the newest of two degree programs offered by the Geological Sciences Department. Both programs serve important but distinctly different needs in Southern California. Combining the two degrees would neither reduce redundancies nor save resources. The IES and Geology programs are interdependent and cannot be considered in isolation. They utilize many of the same courses and the same faculty in a way that directs students to different professional goals. The IES degree provides quantitative scientific training for students seeking careers with an environmental focus. The Geology degree prepares students for graduate school and careers in the currently booming geoscience industries, e.g., natural resource exploration, natural hazard reduction, and geotechnical engineering. Growth in these areas is demonstrated by our surveys of alumni and industry professionals and the fact that the number of Geological Science majors has increased 35% (from 32 to 44) in the past 2 years.

Merger of the IES and Geology degree programs into a Division of Environmental Science would isolate the Geological Sciences Department from its roots in the Natural Sciences and potentially dilute its science curricula. Existing synergies with faculty in the Civil Engineering Department and scientists in external funding agencies may be disrupted. Any proposed blend of Geological Sciences curriculum with programs in Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, and Regenerative Studies faces serious impediments, including:
• Fundamental differences between science-based and design-based methods and pedagogies. Geologists solve problems through application of the scientific method; e.g., observation and experimentation in the field or laboratory. This is in stark contrast with programs that address problems through artistic design, creative studios, and public policy discussion.
• Differences in faculty expertise and research interests. All current Geological Sciences faculty teach and conduct research in quantitative disciplines of the Natural Sciences (physics, chemistry, and mathematics).
• Differences in curriculum. IES and Geology curriculum both require 44 units of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology courses to provide marketable quantitative skills.
• Reduced opportunities for external research funding. Dilution of a quantitative science base will diminish our competiveness for grants.

In summary, the IES program should remain as a distinct major within the Geological Sciences Department, housed with the other Natural Sciences. This will not preclude Geology faculty from exploring interdisciplinary opportunities in environmental studies. In fact, the IES program is well-poised to provide service courses for environment-focused majors. One example of such interdisciplinary cooperation is our current relationship with the Civil Engineering Department. Faculty from both departments have worked together to ensure that courses in Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology do not overlap and are useful for both majors.
Minority Opinion NA out of NA faculty/staff : NA
Minority Explanation

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