Archive for October 31st, 2010

George Davis (Wooster ’64) receives a prestigious award from the Geological Society of America

October 31st, 2010

DENVER, COLORADO — George H. Davis, structural geologist extraordinaire and a 1964 geology graduate from Wooster, will receive the Structural Geology and Tectonics Career Contribution Award from the Geological Society of America at this annual meeting. This honor is given “to an individual who throughout his/her career has made numerous distinguished contributions that have clearly advanced the science of structural geology or tectonics.” George has certainly done that. He is now Regents Professor (Emeritus) and Provost Emeritus at the University of Arizona. Here is the award citation and George’s response as a pdf from GSA.

George Davis ('64) in his element. (From his website.)

Thoroughly bored at GSA: A Wooster Geologist Faculty Talk

October 31st, 2010

DENVER, COLORADO — How I very much enjoy those few minutes AFTER giving a presentation, especially a Geological Society of America talk. That sense of renewed life, the rush of completing a task which was months in preparation, and the step back into the inviting shadows of the lecture room. I’ll just repeat my first and last slides below, and then link to the abstract. You will, I hope, see the joke in my blog post title!

Tree Rings and the Huna Tlingit People: A Wooster Student Geologist Talk

October 31st, 2010

Sarah Appleton ('12) presenting her research at the 2010 GSA meeting.

DENVER, COLORADO — The Wooster Geologists are very proud today of our own Sarah Appleton, who just gave a professional talk at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting this morning.  Her topic was sorting out a historical mystery about Eighteenth-Century migrations of the Tlingit in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Sarah did a superb job.  This is the first time in my memory that one of our junior geology majors gave a national talk.  Well done, Sarah.  (And now I have to prepare for my own talk!)

Teaching Paleontology in the 21st Century

October 31st, 2010

My friend Leif Tapanila from Idaho State University giving his presentation in the Teaching Paleontology session this morning. If you look closely you'll see he's wearing a monkey hat for eccentric reasons of his own.

DENVER, COLORADO — The teaching of paleontology has changed dramatically over the course of my teaching career, and this excellent topical session at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting was designed for direct conversations about paleontological pedagogy. It was convened by four paleontologists (Peg Yacobucci, Rowan Lockwood, Warren Allmon and Bruce Macfadden) and had an array of successful teachers explaining what they do, what they want to do, and where they see opportunities.  Wooster geology alumna Tricia Kelley was a participant talking about how to present evolution to students who may not be open to the idea.

The primary lesson I learned, along with a dozen examples of better ways to teach, was that we must emphasize to our students and the public that paleontology is a science at the intersection of geology and biology and so it has much to offer to debates about evolution, climate change and public policy.  Too often we get caught up in the details of taxonomy (brachiopods are usually given as the example!) and forget to make the connections from ancient fossils to concerns we have in the world today.