School of Rock

I find it appallingly amazing that Reed can conduct an environmental studies program [“Growing the Curriculum,” December 2010] with no apparent input from geology and related earth sciences. Surely geologic conditions and processes are an important factor in the environment. I graduated from Reed with a degree in chemistry, then went on to a career in environmental geology for more than 30 years. While the general education and specific chemistry training received at Reed have been of great benefit to me through the years, I was at a distinct disadvantage in obtaining advanced degrees in the geosciences. I believe you are doing your students in the environmental sciences program a major disservice by not offering at least some exposure to geosciences, particularly in the areas of groundwater studies and geochemistry. Many vital environmental problems facing us today require a careful consideration of geosciences factors to solve them. Water supply, disposal of hazardous and nuclear wastes, and cleanup of contaminated sites are among those critical problems. Surely at least a visiting earth scientist would be of great benefit to the program.

Terry L. Steinborn ’68

Prescott, Arizona

Editor's Note: Terry’s point about the importance of geology and allied disciplines to this subject seems irrefutable; several peer institutions have anchored ES programs in their geology departments. Unfortunately, Reed has no geology department; in the absence of the financial support necessary to create one, the faculty decided to set up Reed’s ES program within its existing departments. If any readers feel compelled to remedy this situation, we encourage them to contact the development office.