Photo courtesy of owu.edu.
Geology had been taught at Ohio Wesleyan University for almost two centuries but, starting in the 2023-2024 academic year, it will no longer be offered.
According to “History of the Geology and Geography Department, Ohio Wesleyan University” by G.H. Crowl, the Department of Geology and Geography was formed in 1951, but courses in geology had been offered since the university was established.
Dr. John Krygier, a professor of Environment and Sustainability,, has been at OWU since 1999. He spent 24 years teaching in the Department Geology and Geography.
“The geology major was largely aimed at a professional career in mining or petroleum extraction,” says Krygier.
Few students were interested in these careers.
Krygier explains, “The geology major graduated one or two students a year” and the geography department, although more diverse than geology, had “maybe five to ten a year.”
These are small numbers compared to similar majors in the natural sciences which have 100 students in their departments.
“They [natural sciences] also attracted students to OWU, which geology and geography never did,” says Krygier
The department was also less popular among faculty. There were only four professors in the department in its final years. In contrast, the Environment and Sustainability Department has more than 30 faculty members.
In spring 2023, the board of trustees selected a committee of faculty and administration to study every program and its data. Due to the lack of interest, the committee cut the Department of Geology and Geography.
Geography courses can still be found at Ohio Wesleyan, however geology courses cannot.
Although Krygier claims, “aspects of both geology and geography are embedded in the current program” for interested students.