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March 20, 2014

CSU eliminates geology major
Geology program ranked third most cost-effective arts and sciences degree at CSU

By Mara Biggs

Cleveland State University has done away with the geology major due to declining enrollment and a lack of faculty with the expertise to teach geology coursework.

However, the environmental science major at Cleveland State is essentially the same as the traditional geology major, according to geology professor Dr. Pete Clapham.

Clapham, who is one of three remaining geology professors at the university, said, “There were some important faculty retirements, and they were not replaced. I think if they had replaced the faculty who were retiring, [the geology program] would not have been declining.”

One of the three geology professors remaining plans to retire at the end of this school year.

Clapham said that students will get the same information and skills as environmental science majors that they would as geology majors – the only difference is the name of the major.

He added, “If you look at jobs in geology in this area, they’re in environmental sciences. If [students] want jobs in the earth sciences, they’re going to be on the environmental side of this.”

Geology courses will still be taught for the geology minor, the Bachelor of Science and the Master of Science in environmental science, and for the PhD in regulatory biology, according to professor and department chair Dr. Crystal Weyman.

Geology courses will also continue to fulfill general education requirements for the College of Education and Human Services.

Clapham said that he conducted a study years ago on the cost-effectiveness of the arts and science programs at Cleveland State, and found that the geology program was the third-most cost-effective. Cleveland State’s religion program, which was also in the top-three most cost-effective programs, was eliminated as well.

Clapham said he thinks the university made judgments about the effectiveness of programs and departments based on their size.

The decision to eliminate the major was supported by the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences and by the College of Sciences and Health Professions, said Weyman.

A forum was held in the fall of 2013 with the support of the dean Meredith Bond’s office to ensure degree completion for current geology majors.

“I think where we’re going in the future is a goal of a well-developed environmental science program,” said Clapham. “I’m optimistic.”