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University of Oklahoma Diversity in Geosciences Project Reaches Out through Presidential Dream Course

For immediate release:

Contact:  Jana Smith, Director
Strategic Communications for R&D
University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma Diversity in Geosciences Project undergraduate course, Native Science and Earth Systems of North America, has been designated as a Spring 2011 Presidential Dream Course. This team-taught course utilizes a combination of geography, geology and meteorology studies with Native American ethnoscience to teach the geosciences.

Leading scientists in the field of Native Science will participate in the course lecture and public speaker series.  Guest speakers will include Gregory Cajete, University of New Mexico; Willard Sakiestewa Gilbert, Northern Arizona University; Steven Semken, Arizona State University; and James Rattling Leaf, a cross-cultural consultant.    Information about the speakers and the public speaker series is available at

The Diversity in Geosciences Project was created in 2005 to increase diversity among geosciences majors at OU. In doing so, the project fostered an interdisciplinary partnership among OU faculty from the ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, the School of Meteorology, the School of Art and Art History and the Native American Studies Program.

“Teaching the geosciences through an integrated curriculum is a successful means for increasing learning retention for all students,” says R. Douglas Elmore, associate provost and director, ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics.

Since its inception, the Diversity in Geosciences Project has reached nearly 6,840 students and 256 teachers statewide through instructional outreach to seventh through 12th grade students, collaboration with the American Indian Math & Science Society and internship opportunities for American Indian geosciences majors. 

The Diversity in Geosciences Project is funded with a National Science Foundation Geosciences Grant.  For more information about the project, course or speaker series, please contact Heather Ahtone at (405) 325-8560 or visit


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