Autumn is a time of many changes, and this column fits neatly into the spirit of the season. Afsha Kaba, the previous University of Calgary geoscience contributor, was among 82 geology and geophysics graduates last spring.
Therefore, it’s time for someone else to take over the reins. I would like to introduce myself as the new PEGG geoscience contributor. My name is Marc Boulet, and I am a third-year, after-degree student enrolled in the geophysics program.
I am very honoured to have the opportunity to write for The PEGG. I look forward every month to providing readers an insight into the University of Calgary geoscience scene.
At the university, autumn is also an exciting time as the campus is transformed by the annual influx of undergrad students fresh (or tired!) from a summer of work and leisure. I spoke with Dr. Ron Spencer, our department undergraduate adviser, to get a sense of what changes the department has undertaken this year.
We discussed various aspects of the geoscience program (many of which will be covered in future columns), but perhaps the most striking information concerns student enrolment.
For 2005-06, there are 4,500 geology and geophysics course enrollees, up from an average of about 3,000 prior to 2002-03, meaning there’s a 50 per cent increase in course spaces available. The current number of geoscience majors totals 330 students, with 1,800 enrollees in geology courses taught for majors and 450 in geophysics courses for majors. The remainder of these spaces are for non-geoscience majors, which “fulfill a valuable need in educating the public in geoscience,” according to Dr. Spencer.
The University of Calgary Geology and Geophysics Department is the largest of its kind in Canada, comprising 15 to 20 per cent of all geoscience students, according to a study done in 2004 by Dr. Robert W. Dalrymple of Queen’s University. Over the last five and a half years, 238 geology, 113 geophysics, and 54 applied and environmental geology majors have graduated from the three programs administered by the department.
This year, 333 applicants vied for 88 positions in the program. This target is scheduled to increase to 128 over the next three to five years.
The Rundle Group of Geology and the Geophysics Undergrad Students’ Society —the undergraduate student clubs at the U of C — both have undertaken ambitious agendas this fall. Sports events are in full swing, featuring hockey and volleyball teams, squash ladders and climbing groups. A successful get-together for students and faculty was held in September, and the annual Rock for the Gallagher fundraiser is scheduled for the end of the month.
Perhaps the most important event this year is the 42nd annual Western Inter-University Geological Conference, to be held in Calgary from Jan. 5 to 7. This conference, organized entirely by U of C students, will be attended by students and industry from across Western Canada.
We certainly welcome your support in this endeavour — if you’d like more information, please visit the WIUGC website at the address appearing with this story.
Stay tuned for more WIUGC updates as well as other university news next month.
BY MARC BOULET
University of Calgary
Student Contributor (Geosciences)