Department of geology and geophysics


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FY07 (July 1, 2006–June 30, 2007)
Section 1. Introduction:
FY06 was characterized as transitional in last year’s Annual Report because the Department of Geology and Geophysics experienced a major change in leadership involving the new team of Arthur W. Snoke as Head and Carol D. Frost as Associate Head. In contrast, FY07 was a year of implementation of new systems (e.g., new graduate-student examinations), planning for the future (development of the Departmental Road Map), continual increase in number of students and faculty, and a period of exceptional stewardship from alumni and friends of the Department coupled with an increased interest by oil and gas companies in supporting many aspects of our programs in the geosciences.

A significant event in the Department in FY07 was the successful hiring of Dr. Bryan N. Shuman (formerly an Assistant Professor, Dept. of Geography, University of Minnesota [Twin Cities]) as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Shuman specializes in Quaternary studies, paleoclimatology and paleoecology, global change, and lacustrine sedimentation/stratigraphy. With the addition of Dr. Shuman, the Department of Geology and Geophysics will have three new assistant professors for the fall 2007 semester: Dr. Barbara Carrapa, Dr. Bryan N. Shuman, and Dr. Ye “Linda” Zhang. Furthermore, an exceptional offer is pending for the position of Distinguished Professor of Geophysics in the School of Energy Resources (SER)/Geology and Geophysics, and we should have a decision by July 10, 2007.

Our student enrollment in the undergraduate major continues to grow at a healthy, but manageable, pace. We now have 90 undergraduate students including 2 minority students. We have 52 graduate students with 40 in geology and 12 in geophysics. Of this group, 32 are male, whereas 20 are female. During FY07, we graduated 26 undergraduates (BS – 24 and BA – 2), 1 MS, and 6 PhDs. Two of our undergraduate students, who graduated in May 2007 were elected to the prestigious, honorary scholastic achievement society, Phi Beta Kappa: Angie Shankle and Rhonda Wright.

After 43 years as a faculty member at the University of Wyoming, Professor Scott B. Smithson retired on May 05, 2007. Scott has made many outstanding contributions to the Department including the establishment of seismic-reflection research at UW. Scott developed a graduate-research program in active-source seismology based on student data acquisition, processing, and interpretation. This program was unique in the U.S. and led to high national and international visibility of the geophysics program at UW. Scott has been selected to be a Distinguished Emeritus Professor by the University.

Extra-mural funding in FY07 was strong with total new funding of $2,040,383. Presently we have 83 active grants and contracts that amount to $11,631,168 over the period of their funding interval. Details on research accomplishments are included in Section 4 of this report.

During FY07, the Department received $460,235 in new gifts. This amount includes the Annual Fund, trusts, endowments, and payments made on pledges. The Department received an especially exceptional donation from Mrs. Helen Klaenhammer of Casper, Wyoming. Mrs. Klaenhammer has set up three excellence funds in Geology and Geophysics with a total endowment of $560,000 (includes the matches by the State of Wyoming). The Encana Oil & Gas USA, Inc. has also established a new fund in FY07, and EnCana has pledged $30K/year for the next three years. This fund will be used to support graduate students working on energy-related problems in sedimentary geology, reservoir characterization, and structural geology. Furthermore, the Leon E. Borgman Excellence Fund for Student Enrichment in Geostatistics and Geohydrology has been formally established in the University of Wyoming Foundation. Several other potential Excellence Funds are presently in the developmental stage, and we hope to report the formal establishment of these funds by the time of the next Annual Report.

Various faculty members and students received honors and awards during FY07. Dr. Barbara E. John received the Allan Cox Visiting Fellowship from Stanford University, and Dr. Michael Cheadle received the Blaustein Visiting Fellowship from Stanford University. Dr. John was also awarded a Marie Tharp Visiting Fellowship for 2007–08 at the Earth Institute at Columbia University (New York). Both John and Cheadle will be on full sabbatical leave for AY2007–08. Graduate student Lars Hansen was awarded one of the three Geological Society of America Division of Structural Geology and Tectonics Outstanding Student Research Awards for 2006. Many of our graduate students were awarded scholarships/research grants from professional societies (GSA, RMAG, CSS, WGA, AAPG, etc.) and federal agencies (e.g., NASA Space Grant).

Colonel John W. Guy (B.S., Geology, 1959) was honored by the College of A&S as a Distinguished Alumnus for 2007.
Section 2. Academic Planning Implementation:
We, as a Department, are past the mid-point in the time interval for our existing five-year plan (2004–2009). During the early years of this five-year plan, we have accomplished the following (any reference to an “Action Items” refers to the UW Academic Plan II):

  • Coordinated GEOL 2000 within the Earth-Systems Science Program (Action Item 30);
  • Jimm Myers and Erin Campbell-Stone have developed effective methodologies to teach large-enrollment undergraduate courses (GEOL 1100). Also, Jimm Meyers in collaboration with Garth Massey (International Studies Director) have emphasized the development of scientific literacies and globalization in various non-major courses (e.g., GEOL 3600 and 3650);

  • Erin Campbell-Stone has introduced digital mapping (GIS-based) into our summer Field Geology course (GEOL 4717) (synergistic with Action Item 31);

  • We have developed an assessment plan (Action Item 52) for our undergraduate and graduate programs (see Section 10);

  • We have re-evaluated our graduate program in detail through the development of a “vision statement” and have significantly revised the “Qualifying Examination” for PhD candidates and instituted a “Qualifying Examination” for all MS graduate students (Action Item 55). This new system began in AY06–07;

  • During AY04–05, we successfully recruited a new faculty member (Dr. Mark Clementz) in paleobiology/paleoecology (synergistic with Action Item 12) and paleontology, and that faculty member is rapidly revitalizing our paleontological graduate program (presently five graduate students [MS and PhD] are in that program);

  • During AY05–06, we successfully recruited two new faculty members in the critical areas of sedimentary geology (Dr. Barbara Carrapa) and geohydrology (Dr. Ye “Linda” Zhang), whereas in AY06–07 we successfully recruited Dr. Bryan N. Shuman (see “Introduction” for additional details about his research interests);
  • Linda Zhang will greatly help us in the broad areas of computational geoscience (Action Item 34) and underground fluid flow, and Barbara Carrapa will both expand our geochronological/thermochronology expertise as well as provide new strength in field studies of sedimentary rocks (relates to Action Item 31);

  • Bryan Shuman will provide new expertise in regard to the Earth-Systems Science program (relates to Action Item 30);

    • We have taken an active role in the development of the new SER; Carol D. Frost served as the Interim Director of the SER. The Department plans to play a large role in the development of the School in the next few years (Action Item 32).

Although the accomplishments listed above are impressive and are completely aligned with both our Departmental Academic Plan and Academic Plan II of the University, there are still many important goals for us to achieve before 2009. The following is a list of objectives/goals that the Department would like to achieve before the end of the existing Academic Plan:

  • Strengthen teaching and research in the field of petroleum geology (Action Item 32);

  • Expand on our present strength in geophysics (relates both to Action Items 32 and 34);

  • Fill the Mears Chair or hire a scientist in the broad field of Earth-surface processes with expertise in geospatial analysis (relates to Action Items 30 and 31 as well as Action Items 5 and 6);

  • Hire a tenure-track faculty member in Environmental Geochemistry (relates to Action Items 5, 6, and 30);

  • Develop a detailed Department Road Map and perhaps establish a Board of Visitors and involve them in our future development; and
  • Forge strategic partnerships/research collaborations within the University (SENR, PiE, Department of Petroleum Engineering, Geomicrobiology Program, WYGIS, and the developing SER). This basic philosophy aligns with Action Items 5, 6, 12, 30, 31, and 32.

Section 3. Teaching Activities:
Several new and revised courses were developed and started during FY07:

  • GEOL 2080/3080 (General Field Geology), taught by Erin Campbell-Stone, is undergoing a major redesign to provide better reinforcement of concepts introduced during field exercises by adding more indoor class time and at the same time minimizing carpool expenses. The revised course will be taught for the first time in Fall 2007.

  • Mark Clementz is revamping the paleontology offerings by revising the introductory paleontology class (GEOL 2050) and developing several new offerings (Paleoecology (GEOL 4200-02) and Paleontology of Cenozoic Placental Mammals (GEOL 4170)). Mark also plays a pivotal role in developing our Department’s involvement in interdisciplinary ecology offerings.

  • In addition to teaching planetary geology in our department, Bob Howell is preparing to take over the instruction in remote sensing in regard to geological applications following the retirement of Ron Marrs, who established our remote-sensing program more than 30 years ago.
  • Erin Campbell-Stone and Jimm Myers continue their research into innovative and effective teaching of undergraduate science courses, which they have presented at several conferences during this past year. At the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Myers and Campbell-Stone hosted a technical session entitled: “Beyond the Content: Teaching Scientific and Citizenship Skills in the Geosciences.” Jimm Myers has developed a new Energy course (GEOL 3650; he and Garth Massey received a curriculum development grant from SER) and continues to teach Earth and Mineral Resources (GEOL 3600).

  • Susan Swapp taught a new course in Crystallography (GEOL 5200-02).

In addition, our department offered two short courses to UW students and the general public:

  • Adjunct Professor Peter Hennings of ConocoPhillips taught seismic and structural analysis (GEOL 4200-02) to 19 students in February 2007.

  • Professor Emeritus Tim Drever taught Groundwater Geochemistry (GEOL 4200-04) to 14 students and an equal number of professionals from the Laramie community in March 2007.

Faculty recognized for their teaching and curriculum development included:

  • Mark Clementz and Ken Dueker were selected by geology and geophysics students as their outstanding teachers for 2006–2007.

  • Carol Frost was recognized by the A&S student body as a “Top Ten Teacher.”

  • Jimm Myers was nominated for Extraordinary Merit in Teaching by the Department.

Finally, excellent and innovative teaching plays an important role in decisions regarding annual faculty salary raises.

Section 4. Research and/or Creative Activities:

Every faculty member in the Department of Geology and Geophysics is actively involved in externally funded research (more than 83 grants were active in FY07, totaling more than $11,630,000 in FY07 based on data from the Research Office and Sponsored Programs). Moreover, our faculty members collaborate effectively across sub-disciplinary and interdisciplinary boundaries to write proposals and publications. In this Annual Report we highlight several examples of how our faculty have worked to develop collaborative research initiatives that help meet UW’s Academic Planning goals: energy-related research, applications of geochronology, studies of oceanic crust, and research into continental structure and evolution.

The research mission of the School of Energy Resources (SER) involves geology and geophysics at a fundamental level. Accordingly, faculty in the Department have become heavily involved in SER initiatives.

  • Two faculty members (Steve Holbrook, Carol Frost [chair]) served on the faculty steering committee that was formed immediately upon establishment of SER, and Carol Frost served as the Interim Director of the SER for 2006–2007.

  • Carrick Eggleston led the formation of a SER Research Center in Renewable Energy, formulated their initial research plans, and administers a 2-year SER research grant to demonstrate the abilities of this cross-disciplinary, cross-college research group. His work in photoactive and photocatalytic thin films, supported by two large DOE grants, is fundamental to the solar and fuel cell group within the Renewable Energy Center. He published a paper on the interaction of iron-reducing bacteria with oxide mineral surfaces in J. of Colloid and Interface Science in 2006.

  • Susan Swapp provides materials characterization, and is an essential member of this research center and co-PI on the SER research grant. She contributed valuable spatial mineral chemistry data to a paper that she co-authored with Carol Frost and Ron Frost on banded iron formation ores published in 2007 in Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology.

  • Paul Heller successfully obtained SER matching funds for his new ACS-PRF grant to study fluvial architecture, an area essential to successful hydrocarbon recovery from riverine sandstones.
  • Carol Frost holds 2 DOE grants to fingerprint CBNG co-produced water and its effects on surface waters and uptake into the biosphere.

  • Erin Campbell-Stone and Barbara John are studying fault behavior, in particular whether faults serve as seals or conduits for hydrocarbons, with support from NASA and SER.

  • Steve Holbrook’s research on methane hydrates (Marine Geology, 2006) is of long-term interest to the energy sector.

A number of faculty have developed and applied various geochronological methods in their research:

  • Barbara John recognized the presence of zircon in young ocean-floor rocks. She and Mike Cheadle and their students have published numerous papers on U-Pb SHRIMP and (U-Th)/He dating of young zircon and the trace-element characteristics of oceanic zircon (most recently Grimes et al., Geology, in press).

  • Kevin Chamberlain continues his work using U-Pb TIMS geochronology, and has adopted the chemical abrasion pre-treatment method that improves precision.

  • Susan Swapp, Ron Frost, and Carol Frost have incorporated U-Pb SHRIMP and LA-ICP-MS dating of zircon, monazite, and titanite into their research on the origin of the Archean crust exposed in the core of the Teton Range.

  • Barbara Carrapa brings expertise in fission-track and 40/Ar/39Ar detrital mineral geochronometry when she joins the faculty in June 2007.

A research interest in the origin and development of oceanic crust is a unifying theme for several faculty in our Department:

  • Barbara John and Mike Cheadle continue their work at slow-spreading oceanic ridges, supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
  • Steve Holbrook is lead PI for an NSF-funded study of the subduction zone and volcanic arc of Costa Rica, where ocean floor is subducted and recycled into the mantle. He has published a number of papers in 2006 on the Grand Banks passive margin (Geophysical Journal International; J. of Geophysical Research). He also continues his pioneering work in “seismic oceanography” in which he has shown that quantitative information about the ocean may be obtained from seismic-reflection data.

  • Mike Cheadle obtained a 3-year NSF grant to study the Dufek mafic intrusion in Antarctica, where he studies crystallization and recharge processes associated with mantle-derived magma.

  • Art Snoke and Carol Frost have been funded by NSF to study the accretion of oceanic crust onto continental margins in the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon. This research continues Art Snoke’s extensive work on accreted terranes in the Klamath Mountains of northwestern California and southwestern Oregon (Snoke and Barnes (eds.), 2006, GSA Special Paper 410).

The structure and evolution of the continental crust continues to be an important research theme in our Department.

  • Ken Dueker obtained a Continental Dynamics grant from NSF to instrument the Colorado Rockies in order to study the time-space patterns of Cenozoic uplift and magmatism in the central Rocky Mountains. Paul Heller continues to publish on the causes of post-Laramide relief in the Rocky Mountains (McMillan et al. 2006, GSA Bulletin). Ken Dueker also continues his work on magma accretion and the formation of batholiths in British Columbia.

  • Ron Frost, Susan Swapp, and Carol Frost continue their study of North America’s oldest known continent-continent collision zone, a 2.67 billion-year old feature exposed in the Teton Range. This study builds on previous UW research on the Wyoming province. Eight papers reporting this work were published in Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences in Oct. 2006.
  • Carol Frost collaborates with co-PIs at Texas Tech on sedimentary and mid-crustal level magmatic processes during continent-continent collision in north-central Norway.

  • Art Snoke and graduate students study arc accretion to continental blocks in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado.

Other important and vibrant areas of research include:

  • Paleoecology, led by Mark Clementz, who has NSF-funded projects in marine mammal foraging behavior, and who is developing UW’s capability in Ca isotopes with Carol Frost. This area will benefit from the addition of Bryan Shuman to the faculty in fall 2007.

  • Glaciology, with Neil Humphrey’s NSF-funded project on the Greenland ice sheet.

  • Ore deposits, particularly Ron Frost’s work on the role of melting in the formation of sulfide ore deposits (Tomkins et al., 2006, Canadian Mineralogist).

Faculty recognized for their research this year include:

  • Carrick Eggleston was awarded a College of Arts & Sciences Extraordinary Merit in Research Award during the fall 2006 semester.

Eight graduate students from the Department of Geology and Geophysics participated in the annual UW Graduate Student Symposium.

Section 5. Service, Extension, and Outreach Activities:

In terms of service to the geological profession, our Faculty hold offices in professional societies, serve on editorial boards for scientific journals, serve on advisory/oversight committees for federally sponsored programs, and serve on various professional committees (see Table 1). This reflects the professional stature of our faculty members within the geosciences community. We believe that this service is important for enhancing the professional visibility of the Faculty of the Department of Geology and Geophysics, which is important for future faculty and graduate-student recruitment, as well as significant in the overall reputation of the Department and University. Faculty members of the Department also serve on various University and College Committees (listed below), and also serve on many departmental committees (not listed below).

Table 1: Service activities, Department of Geology and Geophysics

Officers in professional societies and membership on committees

Treasurer, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) includes membership on/chair of all AAPG financially oriented committees (Martinsen)

Co-chair with Tapani Ramo and Roberto Dall’Agnoll, United Nations IGCP Project, “A-type granites and related rocks through time” (C. Frost)

Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) – US Science Support Panel (John)

IODP Expedition 304/305 Review Committee, Co-Chief Scientist (John)

National Academy of Sciences, DIVERSITAS committee member (John)

Geochemical Society Nomination Committee (C. Frost)

Mineralogical Society of America Nomination Committee for Fellows (C. Frost)

Committee to design an “MCS Greatest Hits” brochure, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (Holbrook)

RMAG representative to the AAPG House of Delegates, member of the AAPG Division of Professional Affairs and Environmental Geology, member of the AAPG Student Job Fair and Geotours Committees, and chief organizer of the annual AAPG Rocky Mountain Rendezvous of Geoscience Students and Employers (Martinsen)

Member of the SEPM nominating committee (Martinsen)

Secretary-Treasurer, State of Wyoming Board of Geologists (C. Frost)

Journal editorships/editorial boards

Editors, Rocky Mountain Geology (Snoke, [Lillegraven and Boyd, Professor Emeriti])

Associate Editor, Geological Society of America Bulletin (Heller, Holbrook, and Humphrey)

Associate Editor, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (Eggleston)

Associate Editor, Journal of Petrology (R. Frost)

Associate Editor, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin (Martinsen)

Editorial Board, Geosphere (C. Frost)

Editorial Board, J. Metamorphic Petrology (R. Frost)

Science Advisor for the journal Acta Geologica (Spain) (Heller)

Guest Editor, Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences – special issue of the Archean Wyoming province (C. Frost)

Guest Editor, Lithos – special issue on A-type granites and related rocks through time (C. Frost)

Co-editor of GSA Special Paper 410 (Snoke)

Co-editor of GSA Special Paper on crustal cross sections [in preparation] (Snoke)

Review and advisory panels

Member, NASA Planetary Sciences Subcommittee (Snoke)

EarthScope Steering Committee for the Northern Rocky Mountains (C. Frost)

IODP Science Steering and Evaluation Panel (John)

Ridge 2000 Steering Committee–sponsored by the NSF (Cheadle)

Member of MARGINS Steering Committee (Holbrook)

Chair of the R/V Marcus Langseth Science Oversight Committee (Holbrook)

Marine Geology and Geophysics Data Management Oversight Committee (Holbrook)

Member of the IceCube (NSF Antarctic Neutrino Detector) Drilling and Steering Committee (Humphrey)

Petroleum Research Fund Advisory Board (Drever, Professor Emeritus)

NASA Mars Fundamental Research Program Panel (Drever, Professor Emeritus)

Scientific Advisory Committee, Rocky Mtn Hazardous Substance Research Center (Drever, Professor Emeritus)

University, College

Interim Director of the School of Energy Resources (C. Frost)

UW Faculty Senate (Cheadle, Humphrey)

A&S T&P Committee (John)

A&S Central Committee (Heller)

A&S Board of Visitors – faculty delegate (Snoke)

A&S Shops Advisory Committee (Snoke)

Steering Committee on the School of Energy Resources (Holbrook, C. Frost [chair])

UW/NPS Cooperative Program Review Committee (Marrs)

UW–NASA Space Grant Program, Board of Directors (Marrs)

SENR Faculty Advisory Committee (Humphrey)

Earth System Science Program Committee (C. Frost, Eggleston)

Water Resources Program Committee (C. Frost)

Science and Math Teaching Center Advisory Council (Eggleston)

Member, Search Committee, Instructional Technologies Manager (Myers)

Search Committee for faculty member in Mechanical Engineering (Swapp)

UW Geological Museum Advisory Committee (Snoke, Clementz)

UW Stable Isotope Facility Advising Committee (Clementz)

Departmental Representative for Study Abroad for Geology–International Programs (Cheadle)

Adjunct Women’s Studies Committee (John)

State Employee’s Group Insurance Advisory Committee (Swapp)

The UW Department of Geology and Geophysics hosted the 5th Annual Rocky Mountain Rendezvous of Geosciences Students and Employers on October 7–9, 2006. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and Rocky Mountain Section of the AAPG were the original and currently remain the official sponsors of this event and provide significant publicity for it. A link provides direct access from AAPG website to the Rendezvous website. The Society for Exploration Geophysics and Geological Society of America also promote the event to their student members. Randi Martinsen and the Department staff spend countless hours organizing this major “job fair” event.

  • The Department’s Rocky Mountain Rendezvous event was featured on UW’s news page: and in the Department’s PROfile newsletter:

This event clearly benefits all students, not just students in the UW Department of Geology & Geophysics. More than 120 students from across the country participated in the 2006 Rendezvous. Greater than twenty companies participated in the 2006 Rendezvous including: Hess, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, EnCana Oil & Gas, Anadarko, BP America, Cabot Oil & Gas, El Paso Production, Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas, Pason Systems, PetroCanada Resources, Pioneer Natural Resources, Schlumberger, XTO Energy, Nerd Gas, CBM Associates, Tri-Hydro Corporations, USA Datalog Technology, Plains, Welldog, and Goolsby, Finley & Associates. The high price of oil and gas, along with the aging of the petroleum industry’s geoscientific workforce has created a high demand for student hires. Although the majority of companies that participate are from the petroleum sector, the 2006 event included several environmental and mining companies. The Rendezvous is completely self-supported with contributions from the participating companies (>$24,000 for the 2006 event). Opportunities to interact outside of formal interviews help recruiters gain important insights into students. Students meet with recruiters, present posters to show their individual strengths, and may choose to attend one or more of several events including a field trip, short course, or interview and resume skills workshop. Several social events including a poster reception, dinner banquet, and a luncheon awards ceremony allow for lots of additional informal interactions between company recruiters and students. A “roundtable discussion” on the petroleum industry and energy-related careers was attended by Geology & Geophysics students and faculty as well as many representatives of the participating companies. The Rocky Mountain Rendezvous is one of four regional job fairs sponsored by the AAPG, with other locations in Houston (Texas), Norman (Oklahoma), and a rotating location associated with the Eastern Section meeting of the AAPG.

Once again the NASA-funded “Women in Science” program (for high-school girls) was supported by the Department through sessions hosted by Erin Campbell-Stone. Erin attended Symposia on Diversity in the Sciences sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute and others. Erin also udged the Science Fair at Spring Creek Elementary School during FY07.

Faculty and graduate students of the Department of Geology and Geophysics were involved in the Wyoming State Science Fair through judging and the presentation of awards.

Colonel John W. Guy (B.S., Geology, 1959) was honored by the College of A&S as a Distinguished Alumnus for 2007. Colonel Guy made exemplary accomplishements during his long military service, and he has also served as president of the University of Wyoming Alumni Association.

We donated to several organizations on campus and in the community/State, some examples are: Celebrate Africa, Chinese New Year Celebration, Wyoming State Science Fair, and the Department contributed to travel expenses for a visiting anthropologist, who gave an interesting lecture on living near glaciers and the role of glaciers in folklore.

Section 6. Student Recruitment and Retention Activities and Enrollment Trends:

The Department continues to participate in the Campus Resource Fair and Discovery Days with faculty participation as well as the participation of our Academic Coordinator, Sondra Cawley. We also host various student visits during the year for groups from high schools and community colleges (including a large group from Casper College). The visits include tours of our laboratories and demonstrations of our analytical equipment.

The Department puts a tremendous amount of effort and resources into graduate student recruitment. In 2007 we brought in 19 students to campus for a several day visit of the Department, University, and Laramie. These potential graduate students came from across the country. This activity plus follow-up by potential research supervisors yielded an incoming class of 11 (MS – 6, PhD – 5; male – 8, female – 3) new graduate students (for AY2007–08). The average GRE score (quantitative and verbal combined) was 1260 and the average undergraduate GPA was 3.44. There is one minority student in this new class of graduate students and one foreign student. Our total completed applications were 79 (male – 52, female – 27). Of these applicants, 54 applicants were seeking admission to the MS program, whereas 25 were seeking admission to the PhD program.

Our continued recruiting success is largely due to four key factors. First, the Department devotes significant resources to recruiting, flying in potential students for on-campus visits, with costs this year of approximately $15,000, largely out of our discretionary account and Spears Scholarship funds. Second, the faculty spends lots of time—both in the office and socially—with the visiting students. Third, the Department staff spends countless hours organizing the recruiting efforts. Fourth, and most importantly, our current graduate students go above and beyond the call of duty in hosting the visiting students and demonstrating why the Department of Geology and Geophysics is such a great place to do graduate work.

The Virtual Tour website continues to be a successful tool in graduate-student recruitment. The site can be viewed at: .

The Virtual Tour provides potential graduate-school applicants or other interested individuals two types of information: (1) video clip interviews with faculty, students, and staff; and (2) a virtual tour of facilities. The Virtual Tour site was featured on UW’s news page: .

Retention of incoming students continues to be addressed through our new Intellectual Community Course, GEOL 1001, taught by Erin Campbell-Stone: we had 22 students enrolled in this course in Fall 2006. This course encourages student-faculty interaction through faculty interviews early in the student’s experience at the UW. Students in GEOL 1001 are also led to explore areas of interest that they have in geology, and are exposed to practical applications for those areas and possible post-college careers.

In general, we have not recognized a problem with retaining students and have worked hard to make sure that this is not a problem. Students who visit the Department comment particularly on our professional, yet friendly, atmosphere.

We hold a “new student” meeting during the first week of classes to introduce the Department Head and support staff and help the students become familiar with the facilities available to them within the Department. We work hard within the Department to maintain an “open door” policy. We have established policies for the entire staff to make themselves available to students to address their concerns throughout their academic career at the University of Wyoming and in the Department of Geology & Geophysics. The staff interacts with various offices and programs across campus on the behalf of our students. We also have an annual meeting (fall semester) with interested undergraduate students in our program to discuss the value of continuing their geoscience education in graduate school; and how to apply to graduate school, including for scholarships and graduate assistantships. We encourage our undergraduate majors to explore other graduate school options beyond the University of Wyoming, because exposure to new faculty, students, and ideas is critical in the overall development of a life-long geoscientist.

Annually, the Faculty of the Department of Geology and Geophysics chooses “Outstanding Graduate and Undergraduate Student(s),” and these awards are presented at the spring picnic in late April. This year, Lars Hansen (MS graduate student) and Huaiyu Yuan (PhD graduate student) were chosen as our Outstanding Graduate Students, and Vicki Meyers and Rhonda Wright were chosen as our Outstanding Undergraduate Students. The names of the recipients are engraved on a plaque displayed in the John and Barbara Vietti Student Lounge (2nd Floor Earth Science Building).

During AY06–07 we awarded over 100 scholarship awards to undergraduates and graduate students for tuition, fees, stipends, field trips, and research expenses. Our department policy is to send our students to professional meetings/conferences to present their research at least twice during their academic careers. We also award student scholarships for field trips and the costs of research projects. Our students are able to take advantage of many opportunities because of private donations and industrial support. The students also vote for their outstanding faculty and staff each year. Students from our B.S./B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degree programs are elected by their fellow students to serve as representatives to our Faculty meetings. These student representatives are excluded from T&P discussions.

We have two student clubs, the AAPG Student Chapter (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) and the Geology Club. Randi Martinsen and Mark Clementz serve as faculty advisor, respectively. Both clubs consist of undergraduate and graduate students. The two clubs were both very active this past year. In addition to monthly meetings, the clubs jointly helped put on the Fall and Spring picnics for the Department as well as the Halloween and Christmas parties. The Geology Club organized and led (with some faculty assistance) a Spring Break Field Trip to the southern Nevada–Death Valley area. This trip was partially subsidized by the Department. The Geology Club also sponsored roadside clean-ups and the AAPG student Chapter once again held its annual “Bowling for Oil.” The clubs sponsor several fund-raising activities and organize a lunchtime brown-bag seminar series each semester. The Blood Drive was held again this year and was very successful. Members of he Geology Club (undergraduate and graduate students) went to several elementary school in Albany County District #1 to teach 2 through 6 graders about rocks and minerals.

Incoming students are initially advised during the summer by our Academic Coordinator, Sondra Cawley. She assigns a faculty advisor on the basis of the student’s interests and the advising load of individual faculty members. The student is informed of his/her advisor’s name either during the summer or at the beginning of the fall semester. The faculty member serves as the student’s advisor throughout the student’s career; Sondra is also always available as an important source of information. Nearly all of our faculty served as undergraduate advisors during AY06–07, with a typical load of about eight students for each advisor. In terms of training, Sondra Cawley instructs each new advisor and provides reference materials. We encourage new advisors to attend the training sessions provided by the College of A&S. In terms of intervention for “at risk” students, we maintain an informal system. Instructors generally initiate contact with the students personally; the Academic Coordinator notifies advisors, who then generally follow up with individual contacts.

Another aspect of our student retention is the computer technology support within the department. The IT team provides support for Mac, Windows, and Unix/Linux operating systems and helps students with a variety of problems. We maintain an up-to-date student computer lab with a wide range of software and peripherals. The graduate-student computer lab experienced its usual 50% upgrade over the summer of 2005, but the lack of funding prevented us from upgrading the lab during FY07. Fremont, a new file server, has been put into production. Each user has ten gigabyte file space.
Section 7. Development Activities and Public Relations:
Development efforts for the Department continued to be highly successful, and Department Head Art Snoke working with Dale Walker (College of A&S Development Officer) have pursued numerous development opportunities during FY07.

Total gifts to the Department continue to be strong; we received $460,235 in FY07 (data from the UW Foundation Office). We truly appreciate the generosity of our alumni and friends who give at every level; their financial support strengthens our teaching, research, and entire program. Donations from petroleum companies continue to be exceptionally helpful in providing flexibility in our program. However, it is clear that we need to work diligently and consistently with interested energy-related companies, because we are not seeing the level of support that our Department should be receiving given the number of alumni in the oil and gas industry, our national/international visibility, and the field-based focus of a significant component of our curriculum and research activities. The development of the School of Energy Resources and revitalization of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Wyoming will provide synergistic support in regard to our development activities.

Nevertheless, we need to strengthen our energy research and instruction within the Department, especially in regard to sedimentary geology, structural geology, hydrogeology, and geophysics. We anticipate that the new faculty members hired this year, and some of our plans for future hires should serve to enhance our overall activities in energy-related research.

To balance this emphasis on energy-related research, the Department also needs to strengthen its overall environmental geoscience program. Many of the critical energy-related issues that face the State of Wyoming must be addressed with sound research and thoughtful consideration of environmental impacts.

The departmental website is managed by the Website Committee (Ken Dueker [Chair], Mike Cheadle, Brendon Orr (Department Editor), and Tim Brewer (IT manager). This committee is responsible for the overall day-to-day maintenance of the website; each member has full access to the website and respond to any requests to update information or data. We followed the “Integrated Marketing” policies instigated by the UW Publications Office in 2005. Our unique design was built with an emphasis on academic achievement.

  • We produced two issues of our Departmental newsletter, PROfile. A total of ~4000 newsletters were distributed to alumni and friends of the Department. The newsletter included an “Alumni News Form” that invited updates from alumni. We received 15 updates from the Spring 2006 news form.

  • The Department published approximately 39 news releases on its website:

  • Rocky Mountain Geology published two journals (Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 during FY07), which included six geologically oriented, scientific articles. Although our “printed” circulation has gone down over the past several years (this phenomenon is universal among all scientific journals with the widespread development of electronic publication), our participation in GeosienceWorld [] has been enormously successful in regard to international visibility and financial return. The RMG Endowment Fund in the UW Foundation provides a long-term base for the support of this only peered-reviewed, scientific journal published by the University of Wyoming.

  • Alumna Kelli Trujillo was featured in a UW news story about her “dino discovery” just south of Laramie. Story:


Section 8. Classified and Professional Staffing:
FY07 was an excellent year for the departmental staff. Everyone has been performing their job duties in a professional manner, and we hope to keep all the staff working in our Department for years into the future. During our annual raise discussions, it was noted that all staff members in the Department deserved a well-earned raise. Two of our staff were awarded a significant “market” increase—Department IT Manager Tim Brewer and Department Editor Brendon Orr. Our Collections Manager, Dr. Michael Cassiliano, had a review of his PDQ/job description in light of working under the supervision of our departmental paleontologist, Assistant Professor Mark Clementz. It was determined that Mike should teach several undergraduate paleontological courses on a rotating basis that complement the courses taught by Dr. Clementz. Several of our support staff are due for PDQ reviews, and these reviews will be conducted during the summer of 2007. We compliment the staff for their dedication and flexibility as they frequently encounter significant changes in the UW systems involving student enrollment, accounting practices, scholarship distribution, etc.
Section 9. Diversity:

During our international faculty search for the SER Distinguished Professor in Geophysics, we had eight applicants. They were all male; two from India, one from Ghana, one from Venezuela, and four Caucasian. We interviewed on campus two finalists: one Caucasian and one Indian. The position has presently been offered to Dr. Mrinal Sen of the Institute of Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin and we expect a decision by July 10, 2007.

Section 10. Assessment of Student Learning:
A. We have developed goals, objectives and learning outcomes for all of our degree courses (BS, BA, PhD & MS). They are visible from the Geology & Geophysics web site and we have separate pages for each of these. Only one (the BS degree) is listed on the Assessment of Student Learning website. These documents are unchanged from last year, however, the pages for the MS and PhD degrees have only just been added to our website. We note that we have chosen to list additional information on these pages about how the various “learning outcomes will be developed.” Our aim is to make these pages informative to students. We understand that how an outcome “is developed” is not synonymous with how they “are assessed.”





BS: As per the Assessment of Student Learning website.

B. We now have a fully established assessment program for our undergraduate courses. We collected course embedded assessment data for the second year in seven of our core undergraduate courses and we collected data from graduating student questionnaires for the third year. This year we analyzed the data from last year’s embedded assessment and from 2 years of questionnaires. Most of our assessment was very favorable, however the students identified a weakness in our ability to develop satisfactory technical and computer competence skills (GG-OT3), and a concern regarding advising, especially in respect of non- academic career advising. Our curriculum committee has instigated a thorough curriculum review, partly using the data we have obtained and we are discussing creating a new ‘Geological Computing Course’ to improve the students technical and computing skills. We are starting to bring graduate assessment ‘on-line’. We have created a graduating student questionnaire for graduate students which we will distribute from this summer onwards; we have put goals, objectives and learning outcomes on line and we intend to start embedding assessment in core graduate courses in next academic year. In 2007-08, we hope to have our full assessment procedure in place and active.
C. We send out the twice-yearly departmental magazine ‘Profile’ ( to all alumni. We use this magazine to both keep our alumni informed about our developments and to request updates about their achievements and changes in status. Any information we receive is collated into a database. In 2006–07 we sent out our five-page alumni questionnaire and introductory cover letter, together with an SAE to all 49 undergraduate students who graduated in 2001 and 2002. We asked for information about (i) current status; (ii) evaluation of their college academic training for their career and (iii) for final observations, comments, and recommendations. We have received 5 responses so far and have collated those responses. We intend to send out an evolving questionnaire each year to alumni who graduated five years previously. We further intend to construct an appropriate alumni questionnaire for graduate students and send to them in the coming year.

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