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Los Angeles: Departments


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Geography
Geology
Germanic Languages
Gerontology

Geography
Geography courses were included in the curriculum of the Los Angeles State Normal School when that institution opened in the autumn of 1882. Formal establishment of a Department of Geography followed in 1895, with James F. Chamberlain its first chairman. Until Chamberlain's retirement in 1920, the department's curriculum was oriented primariy toward the training of teachers. After the normal school became a University campus, reorientation of the department took place as the new chairman, George M. McBride, in 1922 began the development of a four-year curriculum leading to the A.B. degree. By the late 1920s, six full-time faculty members offered instruction in some 20 courses, providing general programs in liberal education, teacher training, and preparation for graduate work. Student enrollment totaled about 600 students per semester and about a dozen students per year completed A.B. degrees in the department.

Graduate offerings were initiated in 1934-35 with the authorization of the M.A. degree and an enlargement of the faculty and curriculum began. World War II interrupted both the regular program and departmental expansion. McBride reached retirement age while on a State Department mission in South America. With Clifford M. Zierer as chairman from 1943 through 1949, the expansion program was reinitiated and the Ph.D. degree program was authorized in 1948. By 1952, the faculty had increased to 12 members, enrollment totalled about 2,000 students per semester, some 45 courses were offered at all levels, about 25 A.B. degrees were granted each year, several M.A. degrees were awarded annually, and the first Ph.D. degree had been granted. Gradually increasing emphasis upon graduate offerings took place during the late 1950s, accompanied by further additions to the faculty.

In April, 1964, the department moved into its first specially designed permanent quarters in the Social Science Building, with 17 full-time faculty, about 70 undergraduate majors, and about 75 graduate students. The quarters contain a rounded complement of teaching rooms, cartographic and special laboratories, and other facilities designed to augment future teaching and research programs. In June, 1965, Zierer retired after 40 years on the department's faculty. Having come to the department in 1925, Zierer was a principal architect in developing its broad program.

Through June, 1965, a total of 667 A.B. degrees had been granted since the first awarded in 1926, 131 M.A. degrees since the first one in 1936, and 37 Ph.D. degrees since the initial award in 1952. source

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Geology
Physical geography and physiography were taught in the Los Angeles State Normal School before its incorporation into the University in 1919. The instructors in this subject were Melville Dozier (as early as 1884-85), James F. chamberlain (1891-92), and others.

A three-unit course in geology was offered in the first year of the southern branch by Clarence H. Robison (1919-20) in the Department of Geography and Geology. The following year, geology was set up as a department by itself, with Frederick P. Vickery offering general geology, mineralogy, and crystallography. He was joined in 1921-22 by Alfred R. Whitman. In 1923-24, William J. Miller was brought in as chairman of the department and the first two-year curriculum for the major was set up. By 1925, upper division courses were authorized and the third and fourth years of the program were offered. To supplement the staff, Colin H. Crickmay came in 1926-27. The following year, Vickery resigned. In the spring of 1927, the first geology major received his A.B. degree. In 1927-28, Edgar K. Soper was appointed to the faculty, to be followed in 1928-29 by Joseph Murdoch.

In the spring of 1929, when the University was transferred to the Westwood campus, the department was installed in the top floor of the chemistry building. By the spring of 1930, Crickmay had resigned and his place had been filled by Ulysses S. Grant; the staff of five continued without change until 1937, when Robert W. Webb was added to the department. A gradual increase in the offerings of the department took place during this period, with the establishment of graduate courses leading to the M.A. degree, the granting of which was authorized for geology in 1933. Two years later (1935), the first two master's degrees were awarded.

The year 1938-39 saw the addition of three new members, James Gilluly, William C. Putnam, and Cordell Durrell. With their advent, upper division courses were offered in optical mineralogy and petrology (mineral gram analysis). Micro-paleontology was listed but not offered until 1940-41.

In the spring of 1940, Whitman died and in the following fall Milton N. Bramlette was added to the staff to strengthen the department in stratigraphy and micro-paleontology. Granting of the Ph.D. degree was authorized for geology in 1941-42 and the curriculum was expanded to cover preparation for the degree. The first Ph.D. in the department was granted in 1946.

In the year 1942-43, courses were introduced in airplane photo and map interpretation and topographic sketch mapping. The first summer field course in geology was also offered at this time.

In 1946, Soper resigned to devote his entire time to petroleum geology. Miller retired in 1948, Murdoch in 1957, although he was recalled to active service for two more years. Grant became emeritus in 1959 and Putnam died in the spring of 1963. By the mid-1960s, the staff numbered 23, including joint appointees with geophysics and offered 35 undergraduate courses and 241 graduate courses and seminars. source

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Germanic Languages
The department came into being in 1922 with the appointment of William Diamond as instructor in German. In that initial year, Diamond offered lower division courses, including one in scientific German and one in German literature, "primarily intended for students working in English and the Romantic languages." The department swiftly outgrew this subsidiary role. By 1925, with four staff members and a nucleus of upper division courses in both language and literature, it was able to offer a major in German. During the first decade, increasing enrollment brought about the addition of at least one new member of the staff each year as well as the offering of more specialized courses in literature.

The next important step was the appointment in 1935 of Gustave O. Arlt as the first full professor. Under Arlt's chairmanship, graduate instruction leading to the M.A. degree was organized. Graduate work in older Germanic dialects was instituted by Alfred K. Dolch; in Scandinavian language and literature by Erik Wahlgren; in German folklore by Wayland D. Hand; and in German literature by Arlt, Frank H. Reinsch and William J. Mulloy. In recognition of the wider scope of its activity, the name of the department, which hitherto had been Department of German, was changed in 1939 to Department of Germanic Languages.

A program leading to the Ph.D. degree was approved in 1941. Conditions prevailing during World War II, however, delayed the conferral of the first doctorate until 1946. Between then and the mid-1960s, the University conferred the Ph.D. degree on 21 candidates from the department.

Under the successive chairmanships of Reinsch, Hand, Carl W. Hagge, Victor Oswald, Jr., R. R. Heitner and Eli Sobel, the department enjoyed steady growth and increasing recognition. What began as a single instructor in 1922 became, by the mid-1960s, a staff of 23 active full-time members and 31 teaching assistants. Total student enrollment passed the 2,300 mark by the mid-1960s. Instruction in Dutch and Afrikaans under William F. Roertgen was begun in 1961. The expansion of Scandinavian staff and enrollment led, in 1963, to the establishment of a separate Scandinavian division within the department.

In furtherance of research, the department maintained over the years a strong interest in the resources of the University Library in its field--an interest manifested especially by the acquisition en bloc of a number of collections assembled by European scholars, most notably the Friedrich Kluge collection in German lexicography and dialectology, the Axel Kock collection in Scandinavian philology, and the Konrad Burdach collection (shared with Berkeley) in Renaissance and Reformation literature. In 1962 and again in 1963, a member of the staff received the Distinguished Teaching Award of the UCLA Alumni Association. source

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Gerontology
There is no history currently available for this department.

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