ABSTRACT: Reality -- An Overlooked Component of Today's Restructured Geology Programs
WILLIAMS, JOHN W., Department of Geology, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
Investigations are done by people, with individual values and philosophies, using equipment and techniques. During the 1980s, college geology programs changed dramatically when enrollments declined and demand shifted from petroleum to environmental geology. New curricula developed. Today's working environment for which students are being educated is different from that of earlier
generations. Much of the money for environmental geological studies is from public sources, and these studies are subject to extensive public review. Billions of dollars and the health and safety of America are involved.
Geologists encounter choices. "Do I take this lucrative job although I am really not qualified to handle the problem? Shall I low-bid this job to get it, let the regulatory agency require additional work, and thus shift the responsibility for the high cost of the job from myself to the reviewing agency? For whom am I the advocate?- Most universities do not provide educational experiences to familiarize the student with these and other job-related challenges. Adequate academic preparation should include study of work-related reality in seminars with case histories or hypothetical situations. It is impossible to consider all of the personal and moral challenges that the engineering geologist will face, but today's student must develop skill in addressing such issues prior to encounterin them as a practicing geologist.