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Pomona Professor Receives National Award for Excellence in Earth Science Teaching

Linda Reinen, an associate professor of geology at Pomona College, has been selected as the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Biggs Award for Excellence in Geoscience Education, by the Geological Society of America, one of the largest geoscience professional societies in the world, with more than 16,000 members, in 85 countries.

The Biggs Award is presented annually to a single faculty member teaching undergraduate geosciences, who is less than ten years into their teaching career. The honor will be awarded on Sunday, November 2, at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Seattle.

At Pomona College, Professor Reinen teaches Introduction to Geology: Geohazards, Hydrogeology, Structural Geology, and Research Methods, which provides each student with the unusual opportunity to conduct original research prior to starting their senior thesis research. Last April, five students from the course presented their work at the 99th Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) Cordilleran Section, held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

During the past several years, Professor Reinen has been invited to lead or co-lead workshops on integrating research into the undergraduate curriculum as an effective way of teaching at the Council on Undergraduate Research national meeting, meetings of the American Geophysical Union and GSA, a Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) summer institute, and as part of the program On the Cutting Edge: Workshops of Geoscience Faculty, supported by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and the Digital Library for Earth Science Education with funding from the National Science Foundation's division of undergraduate education.

Professor Reinen’s own research focuses on the mechanics of fault systems, particularly how slip is accommodated on faults, either through the generation of earthquakes or by stable fault creep. The three main components of this research are: (1) numerical models of earthquake cycles, (2) laboratory experiments to determine physical processes during earthquake generation, and (3) field studies of naturally deformed fault rocks. Much of her work focuses on faults containing serpentinite, a rock common to portions of the San Andreas Fault and creeping segments of other fault systems.

Professor Reinen earned her Ph.D. from Brown University and both her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Massachusetts. Her most recent articles have appeared in Proceedings of the International Symposium on Slip and Flow Processes in and below the Seismogenic Region, Nov 5-8, 2001, Sendai, Japan; Geology; and Geophysical Research Letters.

The 2003 Biggs Award marks the second time in recent years that a Pomona College professor has received the Biggs Award. In 2001, Eric Grosfils, chair of the Pomona Geology Department received the honor. Richard Hazlett, an associate professor of geology and the Stephen M. Pauley M.D. '62 Professor of Environmental Studies, has twice received the Pomona College Wig Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is bestowed following a vote of the junior and senior classes.

Read Reinen's Faculty Profile...