Office of the Provost’s Grant for Classroom Improvement enhances soils lab experience

Soils labs in the School of Natural Resources have been upgraded to prepare students to work in the lab and in the field.

Student in soil lab on computer

With the grant, the soils program purchased a variety of updated lab equipment, more standard lab equipment like pipettes, and even new chairs to increase student comfort during long lab hours. Outside the lab, the grant provided for field equipment purchases as well, including soil color book, knives, and probes for soil health measurements.

The School of Natural Resources soil sciences program was recently awarded a classroom improvement grant from the Office of the Provost. This grant was used to update soil sciences technology, increase available supplies and technology for soil sciences students, and generally improve soils lab conditions.

“Newer research has a big emphasis on soil health, so we’ve started to integrate these new techniques into our curriculum, which includes newer equipment like a spectrophotometer, used to measure different types of carbon or nitrogen in the environment, among other things,” said Morgan Davis, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources. “This allows us to serve both our introduction to soil science course and other courses like soil chemistry and soil physics as well.”

The soils lab courses attract students from across Mizzou’s campus, from CAFNR students in plant sciences and environmental sciences, to journalism students seeking sustainability certificates or ceramics majors looking to learn more about clay.

The soils sciences program consulted recent graduates from both bachelor’s and master’s programs about what equipment improvements would have better prepared them for the workforce.

“With these improvements we have better equipped the students with technology to help them measure and evaluate soil characteristics and gain a better understanding of physical and chemical properties,” said Samuel Lord, instructor in the School of Natural Resources. “When they graduate with their degrees they have a foundation of soil science that is much more enhanced than what they could previously do.”