News and Outreach Events 2017


Update to the SVP Lawsuit: In December 2017, the White House announced that it would reduce the boundaries of both monuments, thus removing literally hundreds of scientifically important paleo localities from the protection and the funding associated with monument status. The Society, along with partner organizations, has filed lawsuits to reverse this decision because of its impact on science. Read more about this lawsuit.

Grand Staircase, Home to Countless Dinosaur Fossils, Could Be Destroyed by Mining

(Op-Ed) By P. David Polly, President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology | November 30, 2017

Quoting Live Science Magazine, "President Donald Trump is expected to make a big announcement in Utah this Monday (Dec. 4), where he will detail the government’s plan to shrink two of the state's national monuments: Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears, according to news sources." Read more about Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears

EAS Faculty Member Chen Zhu Named AAAS Fellow

From the IU Newsroom: Five faculty members from Indiana University have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a distinction that recognizes outstanding contributions to the progress of science and research. Chen's accomplishments include distinguished research, teaching and service contributions to the fields of geochemistry and chemical hydrology, particularly linking theoretical concepts to field observations. Read more about this award.

EAS Students and Faculty Visit the Lilly Library

Each year, as part of the G590 course, Art of Geological Sciences we bring a group of students to visit the Lilly Library’s amazing collection of rare books from their history of science collection. This year on November 7, the library staff assembled a remarkable collection of maps, books, and gems from the collection for us to look at and discuss. This private tour was an extraordinary opportunity to see one of the world’s great collections of rare books.

Science Fest!

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences participated in Science Fest 2017 on Saturday, October 21st at the Kirkwood Hall Pavillion and in the Student Building. There were several activities:

  1. Drive the Mars rover
  2. Make your own earthquake
  3. See a tornado
  4. Watch a volcanic eruption

Click here to view slides from this year’s festivities.

For more information about the IU Science Fest:

IU Earthquake Drill

Indiana University students and employees on all IU-administered campuses will be practicing the appropriate response during an earthquake as part of the Great Central U .S. Shakeout. IU will participate at 10:26 a.m. EDT on 10/26/2017.

An IU-Notify message will begin the drill around 10:26 a.m., with messages sent to text, email, desktops, social media, webpages and digital signs, but not including voice calls to telephones. The drill is expected to last 10-15 minutes. An “All clear” IU-Notify message will indicate the end of the drill. IU is at the crossroads of two significant seismic zones, making it imperative that everybody participate in the drill. In advance of the drill, please review the procedures at the link below so that you know what to do. Please use the time during the 15-minute drill to practice and discuss what you would need to do during an earthquake.

Here is more information about the drills:

  1. social media, webpages and digital signs, but not including voice calls to telephones.
  2. The drill is expected to last 10-15 minutes. An "All clear" IU-Notify message will indicate the end of the drill.
  3. Directions for how you should Drop, Cover and Hold On can be found on the Protect IU website,
  4. During an earthquake, it is important to stay where you are and to seek cover under something sturdy. If inside, stay inside.
  5. The purpose of a drill is to discover information gaps – what you do not know – so that corrective steps can be taken. You will be able to share feedback about the drill in a survey that will be available in the email delivery of the IU Notify Drill alert. Read more about the IU ShakeOut and IU’s earthquake preparations here: Read more about the Great Central U.S. Shakeout here:
"That Stone-fixed Moment"

Videographers from the College of Arts + Sciences produced a short video about the IU Judson Mead Geologic Field Station for the premiere edition of The College Magazine.

Announcing the EAS Spring Registration Meet and Greet

Are you looking for GEN ED N&M/CASE courses for Spring semester 2018? We can help with that!

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences partnered with the Indiana Geological and Water Survey to bring you a Spring Registration Meet and Greet on Friday, October 13th, on the front lawn of the Geology building (1001 E. 10th St.). Faculty members and graduate students met with prospective stucents, handed out Earth-themed swag, and engaged in a competitive beanbag toss. This event was sponsored by EAS, IGWS, and the American Geosciences Institute. Click here for more information.

Paleontology Graduate Student John Kearney Interview With GPSG Community Development

Rick Brewer, Community Development Coordinator with the Graduate and Professional Student Government organization, recently conducted an interview with grad student John Kearney. You can listen to his interview in the GPSG Radio site, episode #6.

October 17-18 Chevron Oil will be recruiting in the Department (PDF)

Early Science Careers Info Session

  • Time: 5:30 –7:30 pm, Tuesday, October 17th 2017
  • Rm. GY 210 -Open to all students!
  • Food / Refreshments provided

Job interviews: Wednesday, October 18th 2017 (Rm GY 221)

To apply for an interview: Candidates must be enrolled in a M.S. or Ph.D. program

To be considered for internship and for full time positions at Chevron, you must complete a profile AND application on one of our websites through the links below. If you have already created a candidate profile, please update your information to include your most recent education & GPA. Be sure your most recent transcript is uploaded under the "Additional Documents" field in the profile. To verify your application has been submitted, click on the Job Management tab.

Application for an Internship:

Application for Full Time Employment

September 19, 2017 Earthquake felt in Bloomington

A small earthquake (M3.8) struck the Illinois-Indiana border region this morning—close to the epicenter of the 2008 Mt. Carmel, Illinois earthquake. It was felt in Bloomington! Here is a copy of the seismogram recorded at our local seismic station BLO. Apparently it was felt in Bloomington.

Also see the Indiana Geological and Water Survey pages on the earthquake: to the helicorder display, and earthquakes page with links to USGS resources.


  • Region: Illinois-Indiana border region
  • Geographic coordinates: 38.412N, 87.923W
  • Magnitude: 3.8
  • Depth: 15 km
  • Universal Time (UTC): 19 Sep 2017 11:47:29
  • Time near the Epicenter: 19 Sep 2017 06:47:29
  • Local standard time in your area: 19 Sep 2017 11:47:29

Location with respect to nearby cities:

  • 3.1 km (1.9 mi) E of New Hope (historical), Illinois
  • 45.3 km (28.1 mi) SW of Vincennes, Indiana
  • 58.2 km (36.1 mi) NNW of Evansville, Indiana
  • 70.2 km (43.5 mi) NNW of Henderson, Kentucky
  • 214.4 km (132.9 mi) SE of Springfield, Illinois


  • event ID: nm 60207021
  • version: 1
  • M-type: md
  • number of phases: 15
  • rms misfit: 0.09 seconds
  • horizontal location error: 0.3 km
  • vertical location error : 0.7 km
  • maximum azimuthal gap: 58 degrees
  • distance to nearest station: 31.3 km

This is a computer-generated message and has not yet been reviewed by a seismologist. For subsequent updates, maps, and technical information, see: or
Center for Earthquake Research and Information U.S. Geological Survey University of Memphis

Recruiters are visiting the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences this month

ExxonMobil Geoscience recruiter Robert Wenger Jr. are conducting interviews on September 25-27th in the Department.

Applicants are required to fill out an online application and post a copy of their resume on one week prior to interviewing with our campus recruiter. Copies of transcripts should also be posted or brought to the interview. At this stage of the process, "unofficial" school versions of transcripts will be accepted as attachments to the online submittal. Download the Working at ExxonMobil app to learn more about ExxonMobil and career opportunities----available at iTunes or Google Play app stores

The recruiter will conduct a pre-interview presentation on September 25th. The time and location of the orientation will be designated by the Department. Read the complete posting here

Science Fest is next month!
EAS Faculty Brian Yanites Awarded NSF Grant in Tectonics, Geomorphology, and Land Use Dynamics
Brian Yanites

From the IU Newsroom: Indiana University Bloomington geoscience researcher Brian Yanites has been awarded a three-year, $317,663 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how tectonic and climate processes interact to shape the landscape of southern Taiwan.

Indiana University Bloomington geoscience researcher Brian Yanites has been awarded a three-year, $317,663 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how tectonic and climate processes interact to shape the landscape of southern Taiwan.

This project, a collaborative effort between U.S. and Taiwanese researchers, is aimed at understanding how such processes interact over a range of timescales using southern Taiwan as a natural laboratory. Specifically, this project will advance knowledge by elucidating the erosion processes responsible for shaping the landscape and how tectonics and climate influence these processes.

The collaboration with Taiwanese and U.S. scientists will build international research capacity while understanding the topographic signature of hazardous tectonic, climate, and erosion processes, such as earthquakes, typhoons, and landslides. The project benefits society or advances desired societal outcomes in many ways. Graduate student training, U.S.-Taiwan graduate student workshop activities, and early career scientist support will develop a competitive STEM workforce. Additionally, the project will facilitate the interaction among Taiwanese scientists and graduate students with U.S. graduate students through a summer graduate student workshop tectonic geomorphology co-taught by the research team and forge new research collaborations between U.S. scientists and Taiwanese scientists. Abstract

IRIS USArray Advanced Short Course, 2017

August 7-11 we will be hosting about 30 seismology PhD students from all over the US and a couple of foreign countries. The event is sponsored by IRIS and is called the USArray Data Processing Short Course.

The primary goal of this short course is to provide training in the foundations of seismic data processing for the next generation of geoscientists. Our aim is to inspire the participants to become leaders in developing more effective ways to handle data from large seismic datasets. This year’s course will focus on power methods for fetching, processing, analyzing, and visualizing data locally, specifically with the Oklahoma Wavefields data. To learn more about the Oklahoma Wavefields experiment, including how to access the dataset, head on over to Attendees are expected to already have some experience with seismological data and scientific computing.

Participants will be selected into each short course by the program’s steering committee based on the information provided in their applications. Travel, lodging, and most meal costs for selected applicants will be covered by financial support from NSF through the "Seismological Facilities for the Advancement of Geoscience and EarthScope" award to IRIS. Please note: Selection and financial support will be focused on applicants who have not attended previous USArray short courses and are based at institutions within the U.S. International participants may also apply, but are responsible for their expenses and logistics if coming from outside the U.S. For more information and the course agenda, please visit this site:

Midcontinent EarthScope Workshop for Middle and High-school Earth Science and Physics Teachers
Earth Scope meeting

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences hosted 20 middle- and high-school earth science teachers for "Midcontinent EarthScope Workshop" connected with its NSF-funded research project on Structure and Dynamics of the North American Craton. The three-day workshop included lectures, demonstrations, exercises, discussions, and two field trips to learn about structures associated with earthquakes in the Midcontinent.

The workshop included:

  1. presentations and activities on plate tectonics, earthquakes and seismogram interpretation
  2. opportunities to learn about results from EarthScope geophysical experiments
  3. Hands-on and classroom‐adaptable activities
  4. Field trip to sites of local geological interest
  5. Stipend, lodging, and meals (and snacks) provided
  6. 16 hours of continuing education credit + option for IU graduate credit
David Polly
EAS Professor David Polly is Associate Director of a successful IU Grand Challenge initiative.

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences will play a central role in the multi-milliondollar IU Grand Challenges initiative called Prepared for Environmental Change directed by Ellen Ketterson of the Biology Department.

The initiative aims to improve forecasts of climatic, hydrographic, and biotic change (including disease vectors); assess public perception of risk and improve methods for communicating the implications of environmental change; reconfigure strategies for conserving natural resources and designing resilient human communities; and develop strategies for governments and businesses to invest productively in the face of large-scale environmental change. Sixteen new faculty positions will be created to support this work, including two in EAS in the area of climate modeling.

Several EAS faculty are involved, including David Polly, who is the Associate Director of the initiative, Chanh Kieu, Paul Staten, Doug Edmonds, Arndt Schimmelmann, Peter Sauer, Edward Hermann, Brian Yanites, Claudia Johnson, and Chen Zhu. The initiative will bring several postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to the department, upgrade our stable isotope facilities, and add LiDAR technology.

See more about the Prepared for Environmental Change initiative funded by the IU Grand Challenges program.

EAS Professor Paul Staten taught at Wonderlab Summer Science Institute

Wonderlab Bloomington hosted a Summer Science Institute for grades 8-12 science teachers. The institute ran from Tuesday, June 13 - Thursday, June 15. This Institute was presented in partnership with Indiana University and area STEM professionals.

Content of the institute included science process standards, in-depth science content presented by IU faculty from Biology, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Learning Sciences Departments. Featuring classroom-ready hands-on activity ideas and materials, they studied activity modules on design and prototyping, climate science, and evolutionary biology. There was a stipend and professional certification for qualified teachers, along with resource materials. For more information contact Karen Jepson-Innes at Also, here’s a link to the flyer with pertinent information.

Spring semester Environmental and Energy Diplomacy seminar ends with a diplomatic conference call.
diplomacy lab
In this image, Erin Benson is presenting part of our report to
US Ambassador Ted Osius via Skype to the Ambassador’s residence in Hanoi.

May 2, 2017: G690/490 Environmental and Energy Diplomacy seminar’s final exam was a video conference briefing with the US Ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius. Five EAS students took part: Alex McLean, Amelia Nelson and Grace Carlson (undergrad majors) and Erin Benson and Chris Helou (grad students).

From Michael Hamburger: "I thought you might enjoy this photograph from last night’s "final exam" for my "Environmental & Energy Diplomacy" class. Our counterparts at the Embassy were so pleased with our work that they invited us to do a briefing for the Ambassador, Ted Osius. The briefing took place late last night (it was a "morning coffee" meeting with the Ambassador, Hanoi time) and was a big success. We had an hour of the Ambassador’s time, and had a very lively exchange. I’m really proud of our students (a great mix of grads and undergrads—from Geology, SPEA, Biology, and SGIS), who really rose to the challenge. Our counterpart from the Embassy commented that this was the best class experience she’s had in 15 years in the foreign service. And the Ambassador indicated that he is seriously interested in following up on our work, and incorporating some of our policy proposals into some new Embassy-supported programs.

A great experience for our students, and a neat feather in the cap for our Diplomacy Lab program. Big thanks to John Rupp (IGS and SPEA) for contributing his time and expertise to make the class a great success."

Research sheds new light on forces that threaten sensitive coastlines

From the IU Newsroom: "The Mississippi Delta is undergoing collapse as land disappears from the coast and marshes," said study co-author Douglas Edmonds, assistant professor and the Malcolm and Sylvia Boyce Chair in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at IU Bloomington. "Yet we know surprisingly little about what processes are driving land loss." Alejandra Ortiz, a former Post-Doctoral Fellow in Edmonds’ lab was lead author on the study. Dr. Ortiz is now on faculty at North Carolina State University. Link to the IU Newsroom article.

David Bish
EAS Professor David Bish awarded a Fulbright US Scholar Grant (Fellowship)

During the spring of 2018, Dave will spend six months in Napoli, Italy, studying cultural artifacts from Pompeii. Scientists working there recently discovered a ceramic workshop in ancient Pompeii where all stages of ceramic production are represented, from unfired raw materials, to fired ceramics, to overfired materials. Dave will use mineralogical analyses such as X-ray diffraction, trace element analysis, and thermal analysis to interpret the sources of the raw materials and the firing conditions (temperatures and times). The research will be done at the University of Federico II in Napoli and the University of Sannio in Benevento, Italy. Read about the Fulbright Scholar Program

Michael Hamburger
Professor Michael Hamburger gave a keynote address at first Diplomacy Lab Symposium

The Diplomacy Lab is a program that Michael helped initiate last year; several students from the Environmental and Energy Diplomacy class presented their work.

From the School of Global and International Studies: The Indiana University Diplomacy Lab program hosted its first Diplomacy Lab Symposium on April 12 in the Indiana Memorial Union Solarium.

Developed in departments ranging from Jewish Studies to Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, student projects spotlighted at the event bore out this multi-pronged approach to foreign policy. Representing eight courses in five different schools across the university, the projects "span continents and disciplines," explained Olga Kalentzidou, director of academic initiatives and experiential learning at SGIS, and the institutional coordinator for Diplomacy Lab.

Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Hamburger proposed bringing Diplomacy Lab to IU in the spring of 2016 during his year as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the Department of State. Hamburger’s own experience within the agency’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs speaks to the importance of casting a broad net when it comes to eliciting solutions for diverse problems.

The event brought together faculty and students on the IU Bloomington campus who are involved in experiential learning and research projects involving U.S. foreign policy with presentations by student participants and an introductory keynote by Lee Feinstein, dean of the School of Global and International Studies. Read more about the Diplomacy Lab Symposium

EAS banner
We are now the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

We will have a name change celebration on IU Day, April 19th at 2:00 in front of the Geology building (1001 E. 10th Street). Please stop by for refreshments and some IU Day and Earth-themed swag. You can also learn about our NEW curriculum pathways for undergraduate students and meet some of the faculty and staff!

Special Seminar

On Wednesday, March 29 at 12:00 noon, Dr. Brian Tucker, President, Geohazards International, Menlo Park, CA will give a talk entitled, A Quarter Century Reducing Earthquake and Tsunami Risk in the World’s Most Vulnerable Communities: What Have We Learned?

Since its founding in 1991, the California-based nonprofit GeoHazards International has reduced earthquake risk in vulnerable, developing countries, such as Haiti, Ecuador, Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and India, where earthquakes are several 100 times more lethal than those in the US and Japan. The presentation will review GHI’s experience working to reduce loss of lives and livelihoods in the developing world due to earthquakes and related natural disasters. Dr. Brian Tucker is the Founder (1991) and President of GeoHazards International (GHI). Prior to his work with GHI, he directed California’s State Geological Hazards program and served as Acting State Geologist of the California Geological Survey (1982-1991). He serves on the Board of Directors of the Seismological Society of America and is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. In 2001 he was awarded the Gorakha Dakshin Bahu Award for service to the people of Nepal by the King of Nepal. He was named a MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2002. He received the George E. Brown Award for International Science and Technology Cooperation, from the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation, in 2007. In 2017 he received Pomona College’s Blaisdell Distinguished Alumni Award

We have changed our name!!

On March 8, the Department of Geological Sciences offically became the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The website url is

Crossroads Geology Conference March 31 and April 1

The Rho chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon and the Indiana University Department of Geological Sciences invite you to join us for the 17th annual Crossroads Geology Conference which will be held in the Geology building on the IUB campus March 31st and April 1st.

The keynote address will be Friday, March 31, with Dr. Darren Ficklin, Indiana University Department of Geography. Title: The Past, Present, and Future of Western United States Hydroclimate.

The awards ceremony will be on Saturday, April 1st, along with a campus geology tour, and a career panel discussion with in dustry leaders. Prizes will be given for best oral and poster presentation.

Abstracts are due March 21. Submission information is on the SGE website:

David Polly
Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems

Quoting the IU Newsroom: Scientists and policymakers should draw on experience from the distant past to develop a new paradigm for protecting ecosystems at a time of accelerating global change, an Indiana University paleontologist and co-authors write in a paper published today.

The article in the journal Science calls for merging conservation biology with evidence from paleobiology -- the study of the fossil record of the history of life -- and the Earth sciences. P. David Polly, professor of geological sciences in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, is one of the authors.

The authors say factors such as climate change, resource overconsumption and pollution are reaching a point where it is no longer realistic to focus only on protecting ecosystems from change. Instead, they argue, we need an approach that conserves the ability of ecosystems to adapt to changing conditions.

"It’s a way of working with ecosystems that we know we’re going to lose," Polly said. "Instead of trying to maintain them in past optimal states, we would try to maintain productivity in the face of change." IU Newsroom article | Science publication


IUGFS Short Course, "Using TLS and Structure from Motion (SfM) Photogrammetry in Undergraduate Field Education " in EOS

With funding from a supplement to the GAGE Facility (EAR-1261833) and the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education collaborative project to UNAVCO, Indiana University, and Idaho State University (EHR-1612248), this short course focused on terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) and structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry. The publication in EOS explains both the goals of the course and presents some compelling 3-D imagery in an animation. Explore this story.


John Hayes
In Memory: Dr. John Michael Hayes

Dr. John Michael Hayes
Born: September 6, 1940
Died: February 3, 2017

John Michael Hayes passed away at his home in Berkeley, California, on February 3, 2017, of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Hayes was a geochemist, receiving a B.S. from Iowa State University in 1962 and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966. He was a professor at Indiana University for 26 years, then in 1996 became director of the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and also served as a professor at Harvard University. He has lived in Berkeley since 2007.

Born in Seattle, Washington, John Hayes grew up in Montana and Iowa, attending 13 schools before graduating from high school in Perry, Iowa, as his family moved regularly for his father’s job with the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. In 1962, he married Janice Maria (Boeke) Hayes of Hubbard, Iowa, whom he met at Iowa State University. They celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary before her death in 2013. He is survived by his children James T. Hayes of Honolulu, Hawaii, Anne Hayes Hartman of Oakland, California, and Rachel M. Hayes of Nashville, Tennessee, and by his grandchildren Diego Enriquez, Johanna Hartman, Sarah Hartman, and Rylan Hayes. His children and grandchildren were all with him on the day he died.

As a scientist, Hayes’ work on organic isotopes and reconstruction of ancient conditions provided evidence of the development of the carbon cycle over geologic time, the timing of evolutionary events such as the development of photosynthesis, and the development of the global environment. He performed field work around the globe, including on the R/V Atlantis and in the submersible Alvin, and in Western Australia, South Africa, and the Canadian Arctic. He was a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, and the European Association of Organic Geochemists. He authored two textbooks, four book chapters, and nearly 200 papers, and mentored students and assisted colleagues in countless ways. Hayes was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 2016. Hayes served as a Captain in the United States Army from 1967-1968, detailed to the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

John and Janice Hayes were enthusiastic travelers throughout their lives, always willing to detour for, or plan a trip around, good restaurants and fine wine. He was an experienced photographer, a flutist and lover of classical music, and a baker who made six loaves of bread nearly every weekend his children were growing up. In Berkeley, he was a member of the Epworth United Methodist Church and the Berkeley Camera Club. He had an unpretentious approach to life in and out of the laboratory; “look for the good in people” was his bedrock philosophy. As he rejoins the carbon cycle, he would like to remind us all to take action to combat global climate change.

Bloomington Herald Times: IU geology department plans new name, new offerings

By Michael Reschke | 812-331-4370 |

The Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University is in the process of changing its name to the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. If approved, the name change will coincide with a curriculum change in time for the fall 2017 semester. The changes are an attempt to better reflect the breadth of courses offered in the department, as well as the career opportunities available after graduation.

"The trend on campus is well known," said Kaj Johnson, the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. "At professional schools like Kelley and SPEA, enrollment is going up, and at the College, enrollment is going down."

For nearly a decade, units within IU, such as the Kelley School of Business and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, have seen their share of undergraduate student credit hours increase, while units such as the College of Arts and Sciences have seen their share decrease. The university looks at shares of undergraduate student credit hours to help determine budgets for each unit. IU-Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel has called the shift an echo of the Great Recession. Since the economic downturn, students have gravitated to majors that offer a more defined career path.

Johnson said the proposed departmental changes are a response to that, as well as to another trend. "There has been a decade-long trend toward broadening the scope of how people view traditional geology," he said. Geology has typically been associated with things such as mining, petroleum, rocks and minerals. Johnson said that’s part of what the department does, but it also includes things such as climate change, water resources and all of the Earth’s systems. Faculty members have been talking about a name change for some time, but the recent hiring of two new atmospheric scientists helped push things forward. The department voted to change its name at the beginning of the academic year. Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has approved the name change, Johnson said. It must now be approved by the Office of the Provost. If that happens, it will go before the IU Board of Trustees.

The curriculum change is under review by a committee for undergraduate education, but, if approved, it would create three new introductory courses. One would focus on Earth materials, which is similar to the mineral and petrology courses already being offered. Another would cover Earth’s processes, such as plate tectonics. The third would examine the history of Earth’s climate. Then, at the junior and senior level, students would have more options for pursuing specific areas of interest, a departure from the more rigid curriculum in place now. The goal is for the new introductory courses to give students a better idea of the type of science being done in the department and a better sense of career options. For example, students focused on atmospheric science could pursue a career in meteorology at a number of state agencies, or even television news stations. IU is not alone in this trend. Johnson estimated about half of the geology departments at universities in the U.S. have now incorporated the words Earth or earth science into their official names. He acknowledged there are some hard-liners in the field resistant to these changes, but said there is no internal battle at IU. "It’s a recognition of trends and where funding is now," he said. "It’s generally accepted that’s the way things are going."

Department To Change Its Name and Update Curriculum

Quoting the Indiana Daily Student: "In an effort to increase enrollment, the Department of Geological Sciences will alter its curriculum and change its name to the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences."

"The curriculum revision will increase the breadth of courses the department offers and develop a program that better reflects all Earth studies. The department is planning to change its name to emphasize its objective of teaching students all Earth sciences. This change will be representative of the curriculum revisions and the department’s overall objective."

Preparations are now underway for these changes, which hopefully will be approved and in effect sometime during the 2017-18 academic year. Read more

News and events from 2016 can be viewed here.