Geosciences Certificate Program
What is Geosciences?
Geoscience is the study of the Earth – its oceans, atmosphere, rivers and lakes, ice sheets and glaciers, soils, its complex surface, rocky interior, and metallic core. This includes many aspects of how living things, including humans, interact with the Earth. Geoscience has many tools and practices of its own but is intimately linked with the biological, chemical, and physical sciences.
Geoscience investigates the past, measures the present, and models the future behavior of our planet. But it also involves the study of other planets, asteroids, and solar systems, both to better understand the Earth and to expand our knowledge of the universe.
What is the Urban-WATER program?
Urban-WATER program is an initiative to enhance diversity in the geosciences using Dillard University, a historically black university and college, as a key pipeline for African American student recruitment and retention. Students in the biological sciences, computer sciences, urban studies and economics will build a new community at Dillard to develop competencies in different approaches and perspectives to a key environmental issue in New Orleans, urban water, including the science of runoff, use, management, and protection situated within equally complex political and economic stakeholder interests.
What is the Certificate in Geosciences?
The Department of Biology offers a certificate in as well as a suite of STEM-centered programs for students who want to develop skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, technical communication, and data analysis techniques by studying Earth’s processes and properties. Graduates of each program can take new knowledge bases and skill sets to professional careers in natural resources or environmental sciences, advanced studies in graduate school, or any future where scientific thinking is used.
In this certification program, you will learn how to design an investigation, collect and analyze your own data, form interpretations and share your results with peers, faculty and members of the geosciences community. Trained environmental professionals are needed to solve problems concerning drinking water supplies, wastewater treatment, water resources availability, subsurface contaminant transport, water quality and quality assessment, the effects of climate and land-use change on water and wetland resources and many other environmental issues. This certificate program provides the specialized knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills necessary to succeed as a trained environmental professional.
Our students not only will learn current concepts and practices in Earth Science, they will have opportunities to generate new knowledge by working alongside accomplished faculty researchers. Students will also practice water, soil, gas and sediment sampling, field geochemistry, scientific writing, proper data collection, field documentation, scientific presentation and analysis. Research experiences, internships, and experiential learning are integral components of the learning experiences that will be offered.
Through opportunities to engage in hands-on, field-based research related to the niche area of water in geosciences, students from ethnically and linguistically diverse backgrounds will be able to develop skills related to problems specific to their community and likely generate longstanding scientific interests. The expected outcomes for this project include research on the benefits of a certificate program, the opportunities and challenges involved with transdisciplinary study, and the potential of place-based education programs to recruit and retain underrepresented students in the geosciences. This program will generate positive impact on participants’ academic achievement and an epistemological shift in their beliefs about the geosciences, potentially broadening their career aspirations.
A key part of this certificate program will be faculty mentors who will work with undergraduates on research activities involving hands-on and inquiry-based approaches. Geo-Capstone Project Symposia will be organized during the spring semester to allow students to practice how to present scientific results. Over the course of three years, an estimated 100 undergraduate students will experience the curriculum developed for this project.
Partners involved in this project include the School of STEM, the Department of Urban Studies, and the College of Business at Dillard University.