Original Research in Field Education
The Keck Geology Consortium is an 18-college collaboration focused on enriching undergraduate education through development of high-quality geoscience research experiences for undergraduate students and faculty participants. The consortium projects are year-long research experiences that extend from summer project design and fieldwork, through collection of laboratory data and analysis during the academic year, to the culminating presentation of research results at the annual spring symposium. The Keck experience incorporates all the characteristics of high-quality undergraduate research. Students are involved in original research, are stakeholders and retain intellectual ownership of their research, experience the excitement of working in group and independent contexts, discuss and publish their findings, and engage in the scientific process from conception to completion. Since 1987, 1094 students (1175 slots, 81 repeats) and over 121 faculty (410 slots, multiple repeats) have participated in 137 projects, providing a substantial data set for studying the impact of undergraduate research and field experiences on geoscience students. Over 56% of the students have been women, and since 1996, 34% of the project faculty have been women. There are now 45 Keck alumni in academic teaching and research positions, a matriculation rate three times the average of U.S. geoscience undergraduates. Twenty-two of these new faculty are women, indicating remarkable success in attracting women to and retaining women in academic geoscience careers.