Ellen K. Herman

Assistant Professor

Department of Geology, Bucknell University


At Bucknell, I teach courses in introductory geology, natural hazards and disasters, and hydrogeology.† In all my classes, I try to get my students actively involved.† We go out in the field to look at geologic features and problems firsthand.† In class, we learn the basics and consider how those basics apply to more complex problems.


Courses for Spring 2013

Geol 108, When Rocks Attack

Geol 108 is an appropriate first geology course for any student, though we reserve the class for first and second year students and my teaching is geared toward them.† The over-arching goal of this course is for you to be able to examine reports and depictions of natural disasters and hazards and determine their validity and/or likelihood.† To achieve this goal, you will have to evaluate the factors that control hazard risk and vulnerability - plate tectonics, climate, hydrology, underlying geology, population density, etc.†

This course is designed to meet the learning goals of the Bucknell curriculum (the CCC) by specifically addressing the following:

 Students will demonstrate knowledge of scientific and/or mathematical content and principles in a disciplinary field.

 Students will develop skills that enhance their ability to think critically about scientific, technological, and/or mathematical issues.

 Students will analyze, evaluate, and synthesize complex interrelationships between humans and the natural world.

 Students will evaluate critically their personal connections to the natural world in one of the following ways: reasoning about ethical issues, directly experiencing the natural world, connecting to their community, or relating individual choices to larger societal goals.

 Students will apply knowledge of the physical, cultural, or social connections between humans and the natural world, according to their interests and disciplinary preferences, in the following ways:

 Tracing the fundamental physical interconnections between humans, other species, and the environment

 Explaining how natural systems function and how human actions affect them

 Distinguishing between human impacts and natural changes

 Understanding the role of technological, economic and scientific knowledge in environmental decision-making and power relations between social actors.


This course also meets the Natural and Fabricated Worlds requirement under the Common Learning Agenda.



Itís not what you think.

Hydrogeology (Geol 324/624) students taste-test bottled water.† They liked one of the expensive brands from far away and found it to have a unique chemistry.

Students from Geol 106, Environmental Geology, channeling oompa loompas while measuring streamflow.

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