Initial Publication Date: December 19, 2019

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Volume 8, Issue 4 | Fall 2019



In this Issue:

From the President

by Jacquelyn Hams, Los Angeles Valley College, Los Angeles, CA

Welcome to the New Year and a new decade! As 2020 approaches, it is a good time to look back at the last decade and the changes that have taken place in education, the 2YC division, and our primary roles as teachers. As I reflect on the last decade, I realize that technology has become an integral part of geoscience education and I have managed to maintain a dedicated classroom with 37 desktop computers for student use. The success of maintaining a dedicated computer lab is due in part to the wealth of activities available to our community via SERC and all the affiliated programs and projects, and the interactive ancillary materials provided by the textbook publishers.

Our role as teachers may become more challenging at the 2YC level during this decade as the demographics change across the country. The 2YC learners in large urban environments include many first-generation students who are parents, working full or part-time jobs, and caring for family members in addition to attending school. As teachers, we need to assess our teaching styles given this new paradigm.

The 2YC division will celebrate a 10-year birthday during this decade (2021) and is expanding the services offered to our members. The current officers are Jackie Hams, President; Sean Tvelia, Vice President; Gretchen Miller, Secretary/Treasurer; Suki Smaglik, Newsletter Editor; Bridget James, Webmaster; and Peter Berquist, Archivist. We are pleased to announce that applications are open for Geo2YC Faculty Development Grants on the NAGT website at the following link. . Mini grants are available up to $500 to support an activity or travel grants of $100 to help an individual attend a professional development activity. The application deadline is March 2.

Let's see what exciting changes the new year and the new decade brings. Remember that change is inevitable, and growth cannot occur without change. My New Year's resolution is to embrace this next year and decade with open arms and an open mind.

Fall Membership Meeting at GSA

Our annual membership meeting was held during GSA in Phoenix. The main points of discussion and action for this year's meeting were: creation of a Professional Development Fund, approval of a budget for the upcoming year, and Bylaws revisions. See Jackie's column above for the first two. The Executive Committee worked on revising the Bylaws this year and presented the revisions to the membership. Changes were made to match the actual functions of the Division. They were approved and have been posted to the website: .

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award

2019 OAFA Annual Award - Vote Now

by the OAFA Committee: Pete Berquist, Kaatje Kraft, KT Moran, Mariah Tilman

The Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award (OAFA) Committee is pleased to share with you the three outstanding adjunct who have won our "quarterly" awards. Now is YOUR time to decide who will be awarded our annual award of $750 from Pearson Publishing to put toward their own professional development. To see their statements about how they would spend their money and to vote, go online here: [linlk] (note that you must be logged into your serc account in order to vote).

If you want to learn more about the individual great work they're doing, each of their profiles (and previous years winners) are posted here: The deadline to vote is 12/20, so finish your classes, submit those grades and celebrate some outstanding adjunct faculty by voting for our annual awardee!

OAFA Fall 2019 Honoree
Bridget James of D'Anza College, Cupertino, CA

by Mariah Tilman, Chemketa Community College, Salem, OR


The OAFA Committee is excited to recognize Bridget James of De Anza College as our Fall 2019 Honoree. Bridget teaches a variety of Meteorology, Oceanography, and Geology courses at multiple colleges in the San Francisco/San Jose area. Despite that busy schedule that any "part-time" instructor understands, she has also maintained an active leadership role in the geoscience community. She is one of the Northern California Change agents for the national SAGE 2YC Project and has been co-leader of an Earth Science Educators Rendezvous workshop on online instruction, plus she just found out she is the newly elected Webmaster for the NAGT 2YC division (whew!). According to Christopher DiLeonardo, who nominated her for the award, she also contributes on a local level as "a leader in developing networks amongst 2YC geoscience departments and with 4-year universities in the San Francisco Bay Region".

Bridget was the first in her family to complete a college degree, she completed her B.S. at the University of California Santa Cruz Campus, and earned her M.S. in geology at San Jose University while working with the Bay Area Earth Science Institute, supporting K-12 earth science education.

In his nomination, DiLeonardo writes, "I can without exception think of no one more deserving of this award. Bridget has demonstrated her skills as a classroom and online educator in numerous subjects across the introductory earth sciences curriculum. ... Bridget has been a tireless supporter of her full-time faculty colleagues, helping with the development of several online classes. And finally, as a role model to her students, especially those considering careers in the earth sciences she has been nothing short of spectacular. Bridget James is very deserving of this award and recognition by her faculty colleagues in NAGT."

Bridget, we are inspired by your energy and grateful for your service to the Geo2YC Division and your students! We are pleased to support Bridget with a one-year complimentary membership to the NAGT Geo2YC Division, and she will be entered into the pool of honorees under consideration for the Annual Outstanding Faculty Award, which is sponsored by a professional development stipend of up to $750 from Pearson Publishing.

To our readership—tell us about yourself or your adjunct colleagues! What wonderful ideas and strategies are you bringing to your corners of the geoscience world? Please complete an Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award nomination today:


2018 Annual Awardee Report - Mariah Tilman

by Mariah Tilman, Chemketa Community College, Salem, OR

I just want to give a huge thank you to Pearson and all of you in the NAGT Geo2YC community who supported me in earning this adjunct award. When money is tight, funding for supplies always suffers, but you gave my students inside the opportunity to work with new high quality rock and samples that we could not otherwise afford. Before our samples were limited and falling apart from years of use, with the grant provided by Pearson, I was able to buy higher quality, and more complete sets of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks for the students to use for their identifications labs.

Unfortunately, due to constraints of the College Inside Program (providing higher education opportunities for incarcerated adults), I can't share a photo of the students working with the new samples, but they did want me to forward a big thank you to all of you on their behalf. By shopping at a smaller shop, picking and choosing the best samples and sizes for each rock type, as well as putting the kits together myself, I was able to use that money to make 6 complete rock kits for each facility with some spares leftover so these kits will be usable for years to come. I was also able to pick up some larger samples of unique, yet important geologic specimens like Banded Iron Formation from the Precambrian which will be used in all my classes, inside and out. Thank you again for all of your support and don't forget to vote on the next round of awardees, all of who are exceptional instructors who work hard everyday to support and inspire their students.

Member's Gallery

The Books Every Geologist Should Read

by Callan Bently, Northern Virginia Community College

I read a lot of books, and it occurred to me that a compilation of what I consider to be "greatest hits" might be a useful contribution for this newsletter, especially with winter holidays being imminent. Within each book description is a link to my full review of the book. Here are six titles that I recommend to everyone.

The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert

A geologically-rooted perspective on the current biodiversity crisis by the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe. Excellent and fully deserving of the Pulitzer Prize. It really makes the case that 'the past is prologue' Full review

The Ends of the World, by Peter Brannen

A survey of the Earth's many mass extinctions, past, present, and future. Hilarious and well sourced. Mass extinctions in the Precambrian? Earth's final mass extinction in the distant future? All here, as well as thoughtful, imperative treatment of "The Big Five." Full review

Reading the Rocks, by Marcia Bjornerud

A celebration of geological insights, finding the profound in the tiniest of details. Totally and completely fantastic: it will energize you and give you new material for your teaching. Full review . I'd note that her new book Timefulness is also very good, and she's this year's recipient of the Jim Shea Award from NAGT.

Trace, by Lauret Savoy

A meditation on people and place, where geological history meets human history, full of meditations on pathos and tragedy, perspective and insight. How do geology and slavery relate? Read this thoughtful work by a Mount Holyoke professor to find out. Full review

The Floating Egg, by Roger Osborne

This is a quirky collection of varied pieces, some only a few sentences long, others full essays, and still others short stories that fictionalize real life events. The range of styles is extensive, but what unites them all is geology in coastal Yorkshire, England. It's a fascinating tour even if you never go to Yorkshire. Full review

The Rocks Don't Lie, by David Montgomery

A MacArthur fellow, University of Washington geomorphologist David Montgomery examines the many flawed manifestations of young Earth creationism, and how geology shows them to be false. A fascinating blend of history, theological criticism, and geology. Very useful for anyone who teaches geology, like most readers of this newsletter. More details in this review of an essay derived from the book.

The Planet Remade, by Oliver Morton

A fascinating look at all conceivable aspects of geoengineering the Earth in light of climate destabilization. Required reading! Morton has thought through the strategies and logistics and consequences of solar radiation management (sulfide aerosols in the stratosphere) and carbon capture and sequestration, and the geopolitical implications of nations cooperating or not cooperating as geoengineering decisions get made. There is a great chapter on the nitrogen cycle which should be information in the heads of every American citizen as they contemplate the human perturbations upending the carbon cycle. Full review

Happy reading!

What recommendations do you have? Send a review for inclusion in the newsletter.

Field Trip Fridays

by Hal Wershow, Central Oregon Community College, Bend, OR

Recently arrived at Central Oregon Community College, I'm running a "field trip friday" course every Fall and Spring term. The course focuses on exploring the remarkably weird volcanic environment of Central Oregon, which contradicts almost everything that you might learn in a typical geology textbook. The course meets from 9am to 4pm every Friday and fills to capacity every term. Enrollment is capped at 22 students so everyone (including the instructor and a 2nd driver) can fit in two 12-p vans. Logistics are greatly aided by the presence of a paid field assistant, usually a former student, who drives a van and wrangles wayward students in the field. Big thanks to COCC for supporting field education!

On this field trip, students observed sediment outcrops to determine whether the sediment were deposited fluvially or via a lahar.

Students recline on pyroclastic beds dipping away (to the left) from the tuff ring's crater, while sketching the relationship with pyroclastic beds dipping towards (to the right) the crater. Note the dramatic change in angle just to the right of the students.

This outcrop has confounded students, and local geologists, for years. The bottom layer is the Bend Pumice, an ash-fall deposit ~400,000 years old. Unconformably overlying the pumice are poorly consolidated, poorly sorted sediments, possibly from a lahar, although well-rounded. The large block on top is a landslide block of the Tumalo Tuff, a welded ash-flow deposit that is chemically identical to the Bend Pumice and typically conformably overlies the ash-fall. Therefore, most geologists interpret the Tuff as immediately following the Pumice in the same eruption. However, the field evidence in Shevlin Park suggests significant time between the Tuff and the Pumice, which ultimately leaves everyone very confused...

Community Announcements

What's Pat Pringle been up to since retirement? Pat, Prof. Emeritus, Centralia College, gave presentations on "buried and subfossil forests" for history night at McMenamins Kalama Lodge in June and Anderson Hotel in Bothell in July. He gave presentations on Mount Rainier at the Olympia Senior Center in July and at the Olympic Club History Night in September and on volcanic hazards at a meeting of the Nisqually Chapter of AEG on November 5. Pat also led a three-day field trip to Mount Rainier for the Quimper Geological Society in September and co-authored a paper (open-access) in Tree-Ring Research on the TREX: Tree-ring Expeditions curriculum project he had worked on via an National Science Foundation TUES grant (see Foundations, v. x n. x for details): Davi Nicole; Pringle, Patrick; Lockwood, Jeff; Fiondella, Francesco.; Oelkers, Rose, 2019, Tree-Ring Expeditions (TREX): Five online labs that guide undergrads to think like scientists: Tree-Ring Research, v. 75, no. 2, p. 160–166. DOI:

The Tobacco Root Geological Society (TRGS) will be hosting it's 2020 annual field conference in beautiful Hamilton, Montana on the flanks of the Bitterroot metamorphic complex. The dates are July 23rd through the 26th. Many excellent field trips will be offered. For more info contact Jeff Lonn at, or visit the TBGS website at: . Come explore the beautiful Bitterroot Valley next summer! (submitted by Andy Buddington, Spokane Community College).

The Pacific Northwest Section 2020 Annual Conference will be hosted by Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon. The dates are June 16-19th. For more information, contact conference organizer Philip Schmitz,, or check out the Fall 2019 Pac NW newsletter. Some awesome field trips are planned! (submitted by Andy Buddington, Spokane Community College).

Future Newsletter Deadlines

Please send articles, images and items of interest anytime you'd like to: Here are the deadlines that will be used to create our newsletters.

  • February 29, 2020 (Spring issue)
  • May 24, 2020 (Summer issue)
  • August 21, 2020 (Fall Issue)
  • November 20, 2020 (Winter Issue)