Academic program

Much has been written about the future directions of earth and geosciences in the 21st century (NSF, 2000; NRC, 2001; USGS, 2007). All of these reports stress the importance of increasing our efforts to meet society’s growing needs through continued study of the earth, atmosphere, oceans and biota from interdisciplinary and disciplinary perspectives. Scientific issues relating to energy, mineral, and water resource security, ecosystem and environmental stewardship, hazards risk assessment, adaptation and mitigation, and climate variability and change, for example, are all best studied from an earth and geoscience perspective.

It is within this broader context that we have defined our mission for an undergraduate education in Geology at Bates College:

Our mission is to instill in students a life-long love of learning about the earth and their surroundings. We seek to prepare students for professional careers in the geosciences or related fields as well as to be well-rounded and engaged citizens. We aim to contribute to the scientific literacy of students taking introductory and general education courses in geology. We strive to continue to build a department within the college, the Lewiston/Auburn community, and within the geologic community as a whole that is respected, admired, and valued.

Our goals are to teach students the founding principles of geology, including an in-depth knowledge of earth materials, geologic time, surface processes, field relationships, plate tectonics, cycles and cycling, and the earth as a system. We stress the importance of communication, independent research, collaboration and teamwork, learning how to think across different spatial and temporal scales, recognizing the connections between geology and other sciences, and using science to make informed decisions about various geological and environmental issues.

We achieve our goals by using a variety of approaches in our classes, including lectures, discussions, problem sets, and hands on field- and laboratory- based experiences. We utilize a balance of classical geological field and laboratory techniques (e.g., field mapping, stratigraphic logging and petrographic microscopy) and newer technologies (e.g., GIS, SEM-EDS, ICP-OES, IRMS) in our teaching and research to keep our students current in the field while retaining earlier and more transparent technologies so that students understand the most fundamental principles of geoscience and its instrumentation.

National Research Council (2001) “Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science.” http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=030907133X

National Science Foundation (2000) “Geosciences Beyond 2000, Understanding and Predicting Earth’s Environment and Habitability.” http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2000/nsf0028/nsf0028.htm

U.S. Geological Survey (2007) “Facing tomorrow’s challenges—U.S. Geological Survey science in the decade 2007–2017” U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1309. http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2007/1309/


This department/program is not reflected in this catalog.