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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2003
CONTACT: Faith Jackson
Office of University Relations
(908) 737-3410

New Degree Program at Kean University

UNION, N.J. — As Kean University commenced its spring 2003 semester on Monday, January 13, some students entered a new B.S. in Earth Science degree program. The program allows students to select from two options, geology or meteorology, and provides rigorous training in real-world problem-solving, data analysis and field techniques, which will help them gain a competitive edge when preparing for graduate school or a professional career.

"The fields of geology and meteorology have changed rapidly over the past few years." said Dr. Charles Murphy, geology and meteorology chair, who worked with colleagues in his department to create the new offering. "In addition to a solid foundation in the earth sciences, today’s students need technical skills, such as mathematical expertise and working with data using computers and other specialized equipment."

To support of the new B.S. program, Kean obtained more than $100,000 in funding from the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund program (ELF) and, over the past two years, purchased state-of-the-art geology and meterology instruments. In addition, the roof of Kean’s Science Building is home to a global positioning system (GPS), which is part of the SuomiNet project, a national network of government labs and universities that use GPS technology to measure water vapor in the atmosphere and make the data available to the world via the Internet. "Students will be much better prepared for jobs, because in this program, they work with the latest technology first-hand," said Murphy.

The B.S. in Earth Science’s geology option includes classes in mineralogy, paleontology, structural geology, stratigraphy, geomorphology and geographic information systems. The meteorology option consists of courses in atmosphere dynamics, thermodynamics, climatology, instrumentation, synoptic meteorology and remote sensing. In addition, undergraduate research is a significant portion of the B.S. program. "We always offer a senior research seminar in the sciences, but for this degree, we added three more research courses," said Murphy. "This way, students can work one-on-one with faculty members on individual projects — as early as their sophomore year."

Murphy emphasized that the overall goal of this new program is to train graduates that have skills that can be applied to positively affect the world’s future. "We are facing increasing demand for energy and water resources, there are problems with climate change and environmental pollution, so there will be a great need for scientists who can address those issues," he said.