Tuesday, 11 January 2005: 11:15 AM
Online Weather Studies in a 2-year program in Applied Meteorology at West Virginia State University
West Virginia State University (WVSU) is a 4-year Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in Institute, West Virginia. Its collocation with West Virginia State Community & Technical College (WVSCTC) allows the two higher learning centers the combined strength of both 4-year and 2-year academic programs. In the hopes of building a strong 4-year program in Meteorology in the near future, WVSCTC has implemented a 2-year Associate Degree program in Applied Meteorology. The foundation for this degree program is a Weather & Climate 3 hour lab-lecture course, which utilizes the AMS Online Weather Studies course book and lab study manual. The Applied Meteorology program introduces interested students to the field of meteorology through courses in elementary meteorology, weather systems, severe storms, and climatology. Student internships are available each semester, giving students the opportunity to spend time and conduct research with the local National Weather Service office. As the first and only meteorology program in the state of West Virginia, locally important weather phenomena, such as flash floods, are discussed in great detail. Graduates from the 2-year program will be prepared for careers in broadcast meteorology, or to continue their education in science and meteorology at a 4-year program. The goals of this introductory program are to raise awareness about an exciting scientific area and attract enough high quality students to support a bachelor degree program in meteorology at WVSU in the near future. The core course, Weather and Climate, fulfills the general education requirement for natural science at the university. As a result, it is a very popular choice for many students, particularly for those pursuing a career in education. It is a 3 hour lecture and combined laboratory course, taught 2 days a week for a total of 4 hours per week. It has been taught with a classical meteorology textbook as well as the innovative AMS Online Weather Studies system. The current setup of the course involves a weekly quiz covering one chapter of the book and study guide and one on-line laboratory exercise. The study guide portion of the lab is completed by the students prior to class, while the on-line portion is completed in small groups during class. The On-line Weather Studies curriculum has been well received by students, and their negative attitudes toward the difficulty of the coursework have diminished. Overall, the course and the new program are considered to be a success. The course is extremely popular by a wide variety of students. The maximum enrollment for the Weather and Climate course is 20 students, and the available sections fill quickly during registration. The new meteorology program began in August 2003, and currently has 12 students enrolled. The program personnel are optimistic that more quality students will be attracted to a small innovative program that has a close connection with the local National Weather Service Forecast Office.