NAGT > Professional Development > Traveling Workshops Program > Building Stronger Geoscience Departments > Workshop Facilitators

2014-15 Building Strong Geoscience Departments Workshop Facilitators

David Blockstein, National Council for Science and the Environment
Tim Bralower, The Pennsylvania State University
Diane Doser, University of Texas-El Paso
James Ebert, SUNY Oneonta
Geoff Feiss, College of William and Mary
David Gosselin, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Lisa Lamb, University of St. Thomas
David Matty, Weber State University
Rod Parnell, Northern Arizona University
Ginny Peterson, Grand Valley State University
Dallas Rhodes, Georgia Southern University
Randy Richardson, University of Arizona
Walt Robinson, North Caroline State University
Mary Savina, Carleton College
Constance Soja, Colgate University
Gary Weissmann, University of New Mexico
Mike Williams, University of Massachusetts

David Blockstein

Senior Scientists, National Council for Science and the Environment

David E. Blockstein, Ph.D. is Senior Scientist with the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). Dr. Blockstein joined the organization in 1990 and served as its first Executive Director until 1993. Dr. Blockstein also serves as Executive Secretary of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD). CEDD, formed in 2001, is the professional organization for the nation's deans of colleges of environment and natural resources and directors of institutes for environmental studies. He is also the Executive Secretary of the Council of Energy Research ad Education Leaders (CEREL). Dr. Blockstein has worked on a wide range of science and policy issues including increasing the representation of minorities in science, climate change education, mechanisms to improve the linkage between science and decision making on environmental issues and electronic processes to communicate scientific information on the environment.

Tim Bralower

Chair, Department of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Tim Bralower received a BA from Oxford University in Earth Science in 1980. He then came over to the US and went to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD. He received his PhD in Earth Science from SIO in 1986. He went straight to Florida International University as an Assistant Professor in 1987 and then went on to UNC-Chapel Hill in 1990 also as an Assistant Professor. He received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 1993 and became Department Chair and Full Professor at the same time in 1998. He came to Penn State in 2002 as Head and Professor. His area of expertise includes marine micropaleontology, paleobiology and marine geology. His research concerns the impact of abrupt climate change on life as well as mass extinction events and their recovery.

His interests lie in undergraduate and graduate education. He is committed to career development for students. He is fascinated by how departments work and interested in helping programs develop research strengths and work with their administrations to make them a reality, as well as ways for programs to strengthen their positions on campus.

Diane Doser

Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas-El Paso

Dr. Diane Doser is a professor within the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where she has taught for over 20 years. She has taught courses at all levels (high school to doctoral level) in geology, geophysics, geological engineering, and environmental science. She served as the first director of the BS in Environmental Science program (2000-2003), director of the MS program in Interdisciplinary Science (2001-2003) and chair of the Department of Geological Sciences from 2004-2008. She was a Kauffman faculty fellow from2008-2009, helping to promote entrepreneurship activities on the UTEP campus, and has recently been selected as a faculty fellow for UTEP's Center for Effective Teaching and Learning. She received UTEP's Distinguished Achievement Award in Research in 1999.

James Ebert

Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, State University of New York College at Oneonta

Professor Ebert is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, chair of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and former Interim Dean of Science and Social Science at the State University of New York College at Oneonta where he has taught since 1985. First, as a senior member of the department and then as chair, he helped guide his department through a wave of retirements and other turnover events that have resulted in an 80% change in the faculty. Professor Ebert's research interests include carbonate sedimentology, stratigraphy, Devonian time scale calibration and geoscience education, particularly the role of dual credit courses in recruiting geoscience majors. He directs the Oneonta Earth Science Outreach Program (ESOP), which enables 28 high schools in several states to offer dual credit geoscience courses. In addition, he created and hosts the ESPRIT listserv that connects over 1800 Earth Science teachers from 26 states and 3 countries in an online professional development community to provide information on careers in the geosciences and the crisis in the geoscience workforce.

Geoff Feiss

Provost (retired, 2009) and Professor of Geology, Emeritus, College of William and Mary

An economic geologist and geochemist, Geoff has held a wide variety of administrative posts including department chair and budget/planning dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and dean of the faculty and chief academic officer, provost, at the College of William and Mary. His administrative roles have given him extensive experience in planning and academic program development, including participation in several institutional reaccreditation exercises and numerous external reviews of earth science programs at other universities. He has been active on the national scene in geoscience education through NAGT and several K-16 NSF-funded projects and has served in leadership roles for the Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences (CCAS), the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), and GSA. He received his bachelor's from Princeton and his Ph.D. from Harvard.

David Gosselin

Professor of Earth Science in the School of Natural Resources (SNR) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Gosselin completed a Ph.D at the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, S.D where he had the opportunity to investigate Archean rocks and work on planetary materials. Dr. Gosselin's current research focuses on Earth and environmental education, workforce and leadership issues, sustainability education, ground water quality and quantity issues and the application of geochemistry to understanding water systems. In his capacity as the Director of the Environmental Studies program, Dr. Gosselin currently serves on the executive committee of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, a program of the National Council for Science and the Environment.

Melissa Lamb

Professor of Geology, University of St. Thomas

Dr. Lamb has been a professor of geology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN since 2000. She studies Basin and Range extension in southern Nevada using many tools of basin analysis. This allows for the creation of many different types of mini-projects to engage undergraduates in research, for which she received her university's Undergraduate Research and Collaborative Scholarship Faculty Award. She wears many hats in her department and teaches or have taught structure, tectonics, petrology, earth materials, earth history, introductory physical geology, environmental geology, geology of the national parks, introductory field camp, advanced field camp and the capstone. She also leads her department's Career Exploration Seminar Series.

David Matty

Professor and Dean of the College of Science, Weber State University

Dr. Matty serves as the Dean of the College of Science at Weber State University—an open enrollment, multi-mission (community college/baccalaureate/masters) institution. As Dean since 2011, Dr. Matty has been involved with the planning and design of a new science building, and with facilitating a variety of activities that include faculty professional development, reimagining undergraduate education, increasing diversity, and enhancing external grant activity. Previously, Dr. Matty was the Program Director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education, and served as chair of Central Michigan University's Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department for nine years. Dr. Matty's research areas involve igneous/metamorphic petrology and geochemistry.

Rod Parnell

Professor of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University

Dr. Parnell is currently coordinator of academic sustainability programs (coordinating the environmental and sustainability academic programs and courses across campus), past chair of the Environmental Caucus, and Professor of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability at Northern Arizona University. His current research focuses on the application of biogeochemistry and geomorphology to the sustainable management of river systems in the Western US, and on the transformation of environmental curricula to incorporate more sustainability. As the founding director of the Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, Dr. Parnell has worked to integrate federally funded environmental research across the Colorado Plateau. His perspectives on environmental and sustainability education come primarily from activities as a faculty member at a mid-sized comprehensive state university with a strong commitment to the Colorado Plateau region and the education of 1st generation and Native American students from across North America.

Ginny Peterson

Associate Professor and Head Department of Geology, Grand Valley State University

Dr. Peterson is currently the head of the Geology Department at Grand Valley State University and was previously a faculty member at Western Carolina University. Both are primarily undergraduate regional comprehensive institutions. At both institutions she engaged in substantive curricular revision, informed by valuable external consultation, including a visiting workshop a couple of years ago. Dr. Peterson's current research in the southern Appalachians is focused on the origin and emplacement of mafic and ultramafic rocks and the nature, conditions, and timing of movement within high strain zones. She is passionate about effectively engaging undergraduates in significant research and implementing and promoting effective pedagogy through course and curriculum design.

Dallas Rhodes

Research Associate, Department of Geosciences, Humboldt State University

After 12 years as chair of the Department of Geology and Geography at Georgia Southern University, Dallas Rhodes retired from the position in June 2010. During his tenure the number of geology and geography majors increased from fewer than 30 to more than 120. Active recruiting of new majors and a strong GIS program were among the key initiatives that helped the program grow. Dallas continues his association with Georgia Southern as an Emeritus Professor of Geology. Dallas has served as an external reviewer for several departments and he has been a member of the leadership team for workshops for new department chairs sponsored by the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences. His scientific interests are in tectonic geomorphology and climate change in the western US with a focus on central California. In May 2014, Dallas was appointed as a Research Associate in the Department of Geosciences at Humboldt State University.

Randy Richardson

Professor, Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona

Randy Richardson's research interests have included the dynamics of plate tectonics, from the driving mechanism to mountain building and strain accumulation and release on plate boundaries. He has also held a series of administrative positions, from associate dean to vice president to interim department head, where he has developed interests in science education (especially quantitative literacy), faculty development, and helping geoscience departments be successful in uncertain times on issues ranging from program reviews to recruiting and retaining students.

Walt Robinson

Professor and Head, Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University

Walt Robinson's research interests have included the dynamics of the atmosphere and climate, Dr. Robinson has developed and taught courses in Earth-system science and modeling, as well as weather, climate, and fluid dynamics. As the head of a large and intellectually diverse geosciences department, he thinks a lot about the tension between the focused interests of students in geology, meteorology, and marine science and the importance of a broad understanding of Earth systems. He is also very interested in how we can do better helping our students develop the math and computing skills nearly all of them will need.

Mary Savina

Professor, Department of Geology, & Faculty Assessment Coordinator, Carleton College

Mary Savina is Charles L. Denison Professor of Geology at Carleton College. For three years, she also served as Coordinator of the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching and she is currently Faculty Assessment Coordinator. She has given numerous workshop and conference presentations about geoscience department curricula and assessment; has worked with middle school, high school and college geoscience and environmental studies faculty; and serves on the steering committee for the Building Strong Geoscience Departments initiative. She has also served on external review teams for nine geoscience and environmental studies programs and learning and teaching centers.

Constance Soja

Professor of Geology, Colgate University

Dr. Soja earned her PhD at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Her passion is paleontology, specifically ancient reefs and their paleobiogeographic implications in terrane analysis. Her work with undergraduate students on the geology of southeastern Alaska (Alexander terrane) and Mongolia's Gobi Desert led to related field research in the Ural Mountains, western Siberia, and north Queensland. Dr. Soja directs Colgate's First-Year Seminar, Core Distinction, and High Distinction programs and has held annual workshops on pedagogy. In addition, she offers paleontology workshops (on fossils, dinosaurs, biomimicry applications) to teachers and also designed "Junior Paleontologist" activities for local elementary students. She is the recipient of Colgate's Professor of the Year award and was honored in 2013 with a Denison University Alumni Citation.

Gary Weissmann

Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico

As the Albert and Mary Jane Black Family Professor of Hydrology at UNM, Professor Weissmann teaches and conducts research in the fields of applied sedimentology and hydrology. His research interests have included understanding how fluvial sediments fill sedimentary basins, ultimately becoming the beautiful sedimentary successions of places like the Badlands, Ghost Ranch of New Mexico, and the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert of Arizona. The aesthetics of modern rivers (especially as seen from space) and fluvial rocks capture his imagination and curiosity, and he strives to share his wonder of this beauty with his students. Professor Weissmann also serves on the UNM Diversity Council, and is extremely interested in issues surrounding diversity in science and academia.

Mike Williams

Professor, Department Geosciences, University of Massachusetts

Professor Williams is a professor of structural geology, petrology, and tectonics at the University of Massachusetts. He earned his BA from Amherst College, his M.S. from Univ. of Arizona, and his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. His particular interests are in constraining P-T-t-D histories and in dating geologic events. Professor Williams was the department head of the Department of Geosciences at UMass for six years. He has been involved with a number of curriculum evaluations and curriculum reforms at UMass and has served on a number of outside review committees for colleges and universities. He is interested in teaching in the field at all levels and in finding ways to bring the field into the classroom, teaching about deep time and in using deep time as a teaching tool. Recently at UMass, his department has been working and struggling to simplify the curriculum while incorporating new aspects of the geosciences and still maintaining a strong focus on core subjects.


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