New Course Just the Beginning for A&M International's College of Science and Technology

This semester, students at Texas A&M International University will learn about their surroundings with the introduction of Environmental Geology, a course offered by the College of Science and Technology.

This is the first time such a course will be available for non-earth and planetary science majors. The course will be tailored to concerns in the Laredo-South Texas area and will be taught by new faculty member Dr. Marvin E. Bennett, III, assistant professor of geology.

Dr. Kenneth J. Tobin, director of the Center for Earth and Environmental Studies and associate professor at A&M International, said this course is a step towards the future.

"Recently, we hired Dr. Marvin Bennett to teach this class and to help teach other geology classes that will lead to the development of an earth science minor and ultimately a major at A&M International with the support of campus leaders such as Dr. Juan Hinojosa, dean of the College of Science and Technology," said Dr. Tobin.

Tobin explained that he and Dr. Bennett have worked to ensure the course will include connections to local concerns and increase student interest.

"The course has three areas; geological hazards, resources utilization and human interactions with the environment. We've been working to put a local spin on the topics in this class. For example, geological hazards such as occasional floods and more chronic droughts plague this area. Resource utilization will focus on the availability of water in this region. We will explore the City of Laredo's possibilities to develop a secondary water supply or a primary water source for the colonias. The human interaction module will focus on issues such as global warming and ozone depletion with the intent of broadening the horizons of our students and sensitizing them to more international issues that face all of us in the 21st century," explained Tobin.

This course is part of the College of Science and Technology's plans to expand.

"We plan on offering Physical Geology in the Fall Semester and Environmental Geology in the Spring Semester on a yearly basis from now on. Additionally, we have plans to develop curricula for an Earth Materials class and Geohydrology, which will be especially important to this region," said Tobin.

In addition to the courses, the physical amenities of COST will increase with $22 million in Tuition Revenue Bonds, which will support the projected cost of Phase IV construction. The cornerstone of Phase IV development will be an impressive Science Building with a planetarium.

Tobin is pleased to see the increase in available courses and facilities.

"A&M International is dedicated to our students. We strive to offer courses that will be of interest and relevance to them and to offer the very best in education, right here at home," said Tobin.

For more information about the new Environmental Geology course or the Center for Earth and Environmental Studies, please contact Dr. Kenneth Tobin at 326.2496, visit offices in C Building, room 210 or email

University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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