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Lea Gilbertson

Lea Gilbertson, Associate Lecturer



  • B.A. Geology, University of Minnesota Morris
  • M.S. Geology, Western Washington University


  • Geol 121 History of the Earth
  • Geol 122 Natural Hazards and Catastrophes
  • Geol 220 Dynamic Earth
  • Geol 240 Geology of Natioal Parks
  • Geol 250 Sustainability Earth and Energy
  • Geol 302 Structural Geology
  • Geol 315 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
  • Sci 210 A and B Integrated Science
Lea Gilbertson

Office: Parkinson Lab 102
Phone: 618-453-3351

In a time when our world faces serious challenges related to dwindling Earth resources and climate change, scientific literacy and the Earth sciences are vitally important to society. Because of this, my role as a geoscience educator is to inspire the next generation of geologists and increase scientific literacy among non-scientists. Thus I highly value Earth science courses of all academic levels.

I teach a wide variety of geology and science courses at SIU, spanning an array of topics, including science courses for elementary education majors, introductory geology courses, courses on energy and sustainability, and upper division courses in igneous and metamorphic petrology and structural geology.

Introductory geology courses are essential to a well-rounded education, are many student’s first meaningful experience with geology, and are the source of many of our nation’s geologists, many of whom became geology majors after taking these courses. It is within such courses that students become aware of the importance of geology and science to their lives and communities. In each of the introductory courses I teach, my goals are to 1) equip students with an understanding of the inter-relationships of natural and physical systems, 2) introduce students to the scientific method and how scientists understand the world, 3) raise awareness of geologic hazards so students can become intelligent and informed homeowners and citizens, 4) enable students to critically evaluate environmental and political issues from an open-minded and informed viewpoint, 5) understand the interconnections between science and seemingly unrelated disciplines such as economics and politics, and 6) awaken students to the beauty and complexity of the world around them and to the pure joy of scientific discovery.

As an educator, I find students of all levels learn most effectively when they can actively engage the material they are learning. Because geology is an extremely visual, hands-on discipline, it cannot simply be described; rather, it must be experienced. The most effective means of accomplishing this is teaching geology in the field. When possible, I incorporate field trips into many of my courses, and when not in the field, I bring the field to the classroom by creating an interactive, active learning environment. Such strategies include physical demonstrations, “mini-lab” exercises, discussions, peer teaching, problem-based learning, interactive computer technologies, samples, power point presentations, videos, virtual Google Earth field trips, and occasionally games (i.e. "Who Wants to be a Mineralogist?"). Local geology and current events, including recent volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, or hurricanes, are frequently used as examples so students can apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. Not only do these strategies help students more fully engage in class, they reach a wider variety of learning styles and foster a sense of community. Through it all, I maintain a respectful, enthusiastic, and fun learning environment always with the goal that students come away with new perspectives on the world in which they live and how science and geology impact their lives.