Head of Geosciences looks forward to 2018

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The Head of the School of Geosciences, Professor Phil McManus, is excited about the educational improvements to commence in 2018. “The new curriculum is a big opportunity for academic disciplines such as geography, geology, geophysics, environmental studies, marine science and our teaching in sustainability,” said Professor McManus. “We welcome more students to learn about these important subjects in new and creative ways”.

GEOS1001 Earth, Environment and Society

GEOS1001 is the main gateway for students wanting to learn more about geography, geology, geophysics, environmental studies, marine science and sustainability. It is a fantastic and very popular unit of study, with enrolments increasing as more and more students realise the planetary challenges we face and the need for innovative and lasting solutions. The lecture program is modularized and built around the big questions of the future of life on planet Earth. Material presented through the semester has the goal of providing an over-arching perspective on the future of the planet, whether that relates to its geological evolution, its changing environment, or the fate of its people.
Questions? Please email: geos1001@sydney.edu.au

2018 sees the introduction of our new Open Learning Environment units on Geographic Information Systems. These units will be available in a zero credit point and a two credit point version each, to enhance undergraduate students’ spatial literacy and cross-disciplinary problem solving capabilities, providing graduates with a real world skills advantage when they graduate.

Professor McManus strongly supported recent comments by Dr. Eleanor Bruce about the importance and scope of these new units of study. “Geographic Information Systems – GIS – has a critical role in addressing major challenges facing humanity,” explained Dr Eleanor Bruce, from the School of Geosciences. “GIS is having an impact on our environmental future, with applications including monitoring biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, land degradation, and natural hazards planning. This emergent technological platform is impacting our future social lives, contributing to the planning of ‘smart’ and ‘digital’ cities. GIS is also enabling assessment of our water, food and energy security, and the role of local environments for population health, for example in the debate on healthy neighbourhoods and epidemiology, location-based analytics and in corporate responsibility,” said Dr Bruce. These OLEs will equip students from across the University with a broad, interdisciplinary skill set in GIS principles, geographic theory and data problem solving strategies.

These initiatives will enable the School of Geosciences to maintain its position as a recognised leader nationally and internationally in research and education. Geography was ranked 17th in the world in 2017. Research in Geology and Geophysics was evaluated as well above world standard in the most recent ERA exercise. “The arrival of new academic staff to join our illustrious team, the creation of new academic units and the restructuring of the curriculum across the entire university enables us to better educate more undergraduate and postgraduate students, and to further improve the student experience” explained Professor McManus. “This will enable our graduates to succeed post-studies in a competitive employment market.” The University of Sydney is the top university in Australia for employment.

“Our innovations in the School of Geosciences are designed to improve education and enhance career prospects for our graduates,” said Professor McManus. With so many opportunities available in 2018 it’s easy to be excited about welcoming new students.”