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A Message from the Chair

2019 was an exciting year for SEES. Several recently hired faculty members established their labs, including Assistant Professors Jacquelyn Bracco (Alysse and Helmut Heydegger Chair in environmental geochemistry), Karl Lang (tectonics and geomorphology), and Dax Soule (marine geophysics) as well as Associate Professor Dianne Greenfield (biological oceanography), who holds a joint appointment with the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center.

This was my first year serving as chairperson of SEES, which has been a challenging, but very rewarding experience. We are attempting to enhance our impact on the Queens College community by providing undergraduate degrees and minors in geology, environmental science… (CONTINUE READING)

Our Mission

The mission of the Queens College School of Earth and Environmental Sciences is to provide CUNY students with an understanding of how Earth processes affect their lives and how their actions affect the environment in which we live.

For our majors, we aim to prepare them to be competitive for technical and policy-related entry-level environmental and geoscience professions and/or and research and professional graduate programs. For our minors and the larger campus community, we aim to provide them with a clear lens on how the Earth System enriches and constrains our lives so that they may act as professionals and citizens with an understanding how we can effectively deal with current and future environmental challenges.

The major tracks in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences prepare students for:

  • Graduate and professional work in geology and related environmental sciences.
  • Other environmentally related industrial areas.
  • Teaching secondary school earth science, geology, or general science.

Courses also provide a background in environmental sciences and studies for students of other natural and social sciences, and broaden the general background of students in all disciplines. 

Department History

The Department of Geology was created in 1962 and continued, with a variety of names until 1996. During this period the emphasis was in geology and environmental geology as indicated by both the research interests of the faculty and the curriculum. In 1996, the department reconstituted itself as the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences in an effort to create a truly interdisciplinary entity that would make the environment a centerpiece of intellectual activity on campus (Self-study, 1999).

New majors in Environmental Sciences with concentrations in Geology or Biology or Chemistry were created. An Environmental Studies major with emphasis on the social sciences and humanities as well as the basics of environmental sciences was added. New master programs in Geotechnology moved course offerings in new directions. These varied offerings needed a broader faculty base that could comfortably be included within the classic geology discipline. Thus was born the “School” rather than a department to enable us to make hires of the interdisciplinary faculty necessary to continue our growth. Today, marine biologists, ecologists, and soil scientists share with geologists, geochemists, and geophysicists the excitement of the study of our Earth.

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