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Beginning this fall, students at Old Dominion University will be able to receive a new bachelor of science degree in the university's nationally ranked oceanography program.

Old Dominion's Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (OEAS) will offer a bachelor of science degree in ocean and earth science. A multidisciplinary approach to earth science, the program modifies and replaces the existing geology degree.

The department also offers master's and doctoral programs in ocean and earth science.

"Both society's needs and the nature of our scientific discipline are changing, and we want our students to be prepared to take advantage of the resulting opportunities," said James G. Sanders, chair of the OEAS department. "Many of the major problems facing humanity require solutions based on information collected by scientists in many different disciplines within the ocean and earth sciences. Most scientific work today is performed by multidisciplinary teams."

Students currently enrolled in the geology program can graduate by taking existing curriculum tracks or they can change their requirements to graduate with the new degree, Sanders said.

The department is home to nationally ranked academic programs. It also boasts The Samuel L. and Fay M. Slover Endowed Chairs. A 1967 bequest from Mrs. Slover established an endowment, which supports three chairs in oceanography. Col. Slover was the owner of The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star newspapers.

Currently 23 full-time faculty members teach and conduct research in the OEAS department. In addition, a number of faculty members from other departments at Old Dominion pursue research interests in the field of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences.

First established in 1969 as the Institute of Oceanography, the department has evolved over the past decade as an authority in ocean margin and coastal system processes and coupled quantitative models. It moved into the state-of-the-art Oceanography and Physics Building on the Old Dominion campus in 1997 and, the following year, the Department of Oceanography merged with the geology program to become the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

In addition to the campus laboratories for biological, chemical and geological studies, the department uses the physical oceanography labs at the university's Center for Coastal and Physical Oceanography, located near the main campus.

The OEAS department also has access to the Barrier Island Program Field Station in Oyster, Va., for use by faculty and students pursuing research projects on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

This article was posted on: June 4, 2001

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