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Earth Science Program - A Rock Solid Education


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Program Description

The Earth Science (ES) program at Western Oregon University (WOU) is part of the Earth and Physical Sciences Department in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM). The program offers BS/BA degrees in Earth Science, with minors in geology, Earth system science, Earth resources, and Earth history/paleobiology. Earth Science is supported by three tenure/tenure-track faculty members and four fixed-term, adjunct faculty. Focus areas include Earth system science education, volcanology-igneous petrology, stratigraphy-sedimentology-paleobiology, and geomorphology-environmental geology. Supporting curricula includes meteorology, oceanography, geochemistry, and physics/astronomy.


WOU is distinctive in that it offers the only multidisciplinary Earth Science degree in the Oregon University System. A key strength of the program is the close alliance with faculty in chemistry, physics, biology, and education. NSM is organized in such a way that budgets, labs, and classroom resources are shared across a range of science disciplines. Faculty from different disciplines work closely together on a daily basis and cultivate a multidisciplinary, collegial atmosphere that is truly unique compared to other institutions. The cross-disciplinary alliance in NSM provides a superb opportunity for faculty and students with diverse interests to interact in a rich and stimulating academic environment. Earth Science plays an important role by providing a nexus for studies in the biological and physical sciences. Additional programmatic strengths include: (1) small faculty:student ratios with personalized instruction and a focus on undergraduate training; (2) a curriculum in which Earth Science courses and labs are taught by PhD-trained faculty; (3) degrees leading to student career tracks in science education, natural resource management, and environmental restoration; and (4) a faculty dedicated to scholarly activity that is relevant to training undergraduate students for careers in the 21st century marketplace. The Earth Science program at WOU directly supports the advancement of geoscience education, conservation planning, environmental management, and natural hazards mitigation in the State of Oregon.


Mission Statement

The Earth Science program provides a liberal arts core education in geoscience with an emphasis on the scientific method, problem solving, and interdisciplinary science education. A key objective of the program is to prepare undergraduates for careers as professional geoscientists and educators. The program also promotes the development of an informed citizenry for wise decision-making on issues related to natural resources, environmental quality, and sustainability in Oregon and beyond.


Student Learning Objectives

(1) Acquire a comprehensive understanding of the interrelated physical, chemical, and biological processes operating in the Earth system.

(2) Develop proficiency in using technology-enriched analytical techniques to solve geologic problems.

(3) Experience inquiry-based science in the context of outdoor adventure.

(4) Cultivate an integrated scientific community of students and faculty at WOU.

(5) Work hard, play hard, and have fun!

Student Resources

Geology / Earth Science Faculty Web Links:

Jeffrey Myers, PhD, Associate Professor, Paleobotany-Sedimentology-Stratigraphy
Stephen Taylor, PhD, Associate Professor, Geomorphology-GIS-Environmental
Jeffrey Templeton, PhD, Associate Professor, Volcanology-Petrology-Geochemistry
Adjunct Faculty Web Links:
Donald Ellingson, M.S., Instructor, Earth System Science-Meteorology-Astronomy
Karen Brown, M.S., Instructor, Earth System Science
Phillip Wade, M.S., Instructor, Earth System Science-Science Education
Advising and Career Information
Earth Science via WOU Online Catalog
  • WOU Online Catalog Home

  • BS/BA Earth Science Major Requirements
    Idealized Four-Year Course Sequence in Earth Science at WOU
    Earth Science Career Tracks and Recommended Course Preparation at WOU
    Earth Science Graduation Plan / Checklist
    Environmental Studies Minor Plan / Checklist

    Course Add/Drop Forms
    Course Substitution Forms
    Course By-Arrangement Form (rev. Jan. 07)
    Student Travel Request Forms
    LACC Advising Guide
    LACC Course Checklist
    Advisor Declaration Form
    Temporary Course Approval Form
    Prerequisite/Instructor Approval Form

    WOU MAT Recommendation Form (*.ppt)
    WOU MAT Recommendation Form (*.pdf)

    Overview of Earth Science Careers (AGI Materials)
    Geoscience Workforce Development Website (American Geological Institute)
    2000 Earth Science Employment Survey (AGI)
    Earth Science Employment Statistics and Salaries
  • 2007 Earth Science Starting Salaries
    Frequently Asked Questions About Careers in Earth Science

    Summary of Earth Science Employment Opportunities at WOU (2002-2006)
    Archive of Earth Science Employment Announcements at WOU (2002-2006)
    New Earth Science Employment Listings at WOU (2006-2007)

    Career Pathway Map to Becoming a Professional Geologist in Oregon
    Professional Geologist Licensing Guidelines for the State of Oregon
    Professional Geologist Examination Handbook (Assoc. of State Boards of Geologists)

    U.S. Geological Survey Strategic Plan / National Priorities (2007)

  • Program Review and Accreditation
    Final Draft of Earth Science Program Review (01/07/07)

    Draft of Earth Science Assessment Plan (11/15/06)

    Earth Science Strategic Plan Worksheet (2004)

    Student Assessment Methodology
    Student Demographics
    Expanded List of Learning Outcomes
    Future Vision for Earth Science at WOU
    WOU Institutional Assessment and Learning Outcomes

    Earth Science Course Enrollment Data (Fall 1999 - Fall 2006)
    Census of Earth and Physical Science Dept. Majors-Minors-Graduates (2002-2005)
    Preliminary Post- Baccalaureate Assessment of Earth Science Majors (1999-2006)
    Alignment Matrix of ES Courses with Mission Statement and Learning Objectives

    Compendium of Earth Science Course Syllabi

    Earth Science Faculty Curriculum Vitae
    Earth Science Faculty Activity Reports
    Earth Science Faculty Publications and Abstracts

    Contact Information:

    Earth and Physical Sciences Dept. Chair:
    Dr. Jeffrey Templeton
    Office Location:
    Natural Science Building, NS 211
    Phone: (503) 838-8858 (voice) (503) 838-8072 (fax)

    Earth Science Faculty Email:

  • Dr. Jeff Templeton:
  • Dr. Steve Taylor:
  • Dr. Jeff Myers:
  • Contact

    Department of Earth and Physical Sciences (503) 838-8858 | or e-mail: