About GEOL 1055 A

Exploration of geological processes and concepts. May be repeated for credit with different content. Topics vary by offering; periodic offering at intervals that may exceed four years.


Open to Degree and PACE students

Section Description

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Science: Welcome to introduction to interdisciplinary science! We live in an era characterized by complex global challenges, that threaten the sustainability of the interconnected Earth system, thus the need for interdisciplinary approaches to scientific inquiry has never been more critical. To transcend disciplinary boundaries and address current environmental challenges, we require an understanding of the many facets in which sciences operate. This includes an understanding of natural science principles, but also requires a critical interrogation of origins and issues related to the prevailing, often exclusive, culture in natural sciences. It requires curiosity for disciplinary approaches and knowledge, but also humility and a true interest in understanding team functioning and effective communication to bridge disciplinary boundaries. Over the course of this semester, we will delve into the theory, practice, and real-world examples of advantages and challenges of interdisciplinary approaches. We will draw from examples in the geosciences and critical zone science, investigating the complex interactions between the Earth's surface and subsurface environments related to sustainability. You will learn about examples from medicine and engineering to evaluate where interdisciplinary approaches have led to transformative solutions, but also investigate situations where lack of humility, understanding and collaboration caused catastrophic outcomes. By spanning so many disciplines and approaches across scales, everybody will likely be outside of their comfort zone for some of the time. It is actually very important for scientists to develop healthy strategies to work within this discomfort and take responsibility for developing individual and team skills. In other words, this course is not meant for you to just hear about science, teamwork and communication, but to also experience and reflect on team dynamics and practice communication using a variety of techniques.

Section Expectation

Completing this course fulfills the following general education requirements: N1: Natural Science (without lab): 1. Demonstrate familiarity with scientific thought, observation, analysis, experimentation, and formal hypothesis testing in relation to the general field or topic of the course. 2. As appropriate to the level and field of the course, make informed judgments about scientific information and arguments related to the natural world. 3. As appropriate to the level and field of the course, use appropriate theories and models to predict change in natural systems over time. QD: Quantitative and Data Literacy requirement: 1. Present data in a variety of ways, including analytical, graphical, and tabular. 2. Interpret data, solve problems, and draw conclusions from data presented in a variety of ways, including analytical, graphical, and tabular, and communicate the thought processes involved. 3. Evaluate data-rich information and determine whether the resulting conclusions make logical sense or support a given argument within the context provided. SU: Sustainability requirement: 1. Have an informed conversation about the multiple dimensions and complexity of sustainability. 2. Evaluate sustainability using an evidence-based disciplinary approach and integrate economic, ecological, and social perspectives. 3. Think critically about sustainability across a diversity of cultural values and across multiple scales of relevance from local to global. 4. Recognize and assess how sustainability impacts their lives and how their actions impact sustainability. We will work with these main course goals across main themes: 1. Nature and origin of natural sciences (N1): Demonstrate an understanding of origin and the nature of science, including challenges with hegemonic ways of knowing. Develop foundational skills in scientific inquiry, including deductive and inductive reasoning. 2. Quantitative approaches in natural sciences (N1, QD): Demonstrate the ability to evaluate a variety representation of data for deductive and inductive reasoning and problem solving. Demonstrate the ability to draw conclusions from your own data plots generated in excel. 3. Interdisciplinarity (N1, QD): Define and explain the concept of interdisciplinary sciences. Recognize the historical context and significance of science and interdisciplinary research. Demonstrate an understanding of real-world examples of interdisciplinary research in addressing current challenges using examples from geosciences, critical zone science and engineering. 4. Sustainability (SU): Demonstrate the ability to have an informed conversation about the multiple dimensions of sustainability and evaluate sustainability related to interdisciplinary sciences in the context of economic, ecological, and social aspects. Think critically about sustainability across values and scales including your own impact. 5. Communication and team dynamics: Critically reflect on the necessity of, and challenges with, effective collaboration with individuals from diverse academic backgrounds. Understand the importance of clear roles and communication within teams and demonstrate ability to communicate interdisciplinary scientific concepts to non-specialist audiences.


Assessment: - Pre-meeting quizzes - At-home quizzes - Sustainability reflection - Interactive discussion - Communication

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

Last Day to Add
Last Day to Drop
Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw


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GEOL 1055 A is closed to new enrollment.

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