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Academic preparation of engineering geologists; a problem in statics


, : Academic preparation of engineering geologists; a problem in statics. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 32(7): 517-518

The academic preparation of engineering geologists has, for all practical purposes, remained static over the past 15 years. With the increase in the number of states that require licensure of geologists and the generally dismal performance of "first-time" test takers on the ASBOG National Geologist Licensing Examination (70% fail), it is somewhat perplexing that academic programs in geology have remained static. I believe that the decline in the traditional petroleum/mining employment base has generated a defeatist attitude in many academic institutions. A significant contribution to the decline in geology programs and their lack of response to the needs in environmental and engineering geology has been a generally benign reaction in the professional societies in environmental and engineering geology. The significant success of the Environmental Geoscience Division of AAPG (membership >2000) demonstrated the need for professional opportunities in the field. However, AAPG-DEG's, GSA-EGD's, and AEG's general lack of presence in the academic arena has not provided encouragement to redirect geology programs to become more general and responsive to the licensure requirements. As I stated nearly 20-years ago, "The engineering geologist is the generalist of the profession who is first a sound traditional geologist with a strong geoscientific basis in hydrogeology, geochemistry, geomorphology, geophysics and mechanics". Engineering Geology is Advanced Physical Geology! Our failure to sell this idea to the academic community during it's period of growth has left the profession with nearly the same number of institutions that offer academic programs in engineering geology as existed 10-years ago. Significant changes to the availability of academic programs in engineering geology will require a more proactive response by the professional societies and the professionals themselves.

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