Cutting Edge > About this Project

About this Project

Go to /NAGTWorkshops/index.html
The On the Cutting Edge Professional Development Program for Geoscience Faculty brings together workshops, websites, and research activities to support highest quality undergraduate geoscience education. Established in 2002 with NSF funding, more than 3000 faculty, post-docs and graduate students from over 900 institutions have participated in 109 face-to-face and virtual workshops and community-based research projects producing a website that has more than 9,000 pages of content and is visited by more than 1,000,000 users annually. The project has changed geoscience education in the United States legitimizing discussions of teaching, improving teaching practices, and establishing a culture of information and resource sharing that underpins continuous improvement in undergraduate geoscience instruction. This transformation was made possible by an investment of more than $8.5 million by the National Science Foundation over a thirteen year period. Learn More About Project Impact »


An integral part of the fabric of geoscience education and a major source of teaching resources, the program is now a cooperative venture of geoscience professional societies jointly managed by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers and the leaders of the NSF Grant (which will terminate in 2016). On the Cutting Edge programming has been expanded beyond beyond its original focus on courses, pedagogy and career management to include activities that strengthen departments. These activities build on workshop programs and websites that originated as part of the NSF-funded Building Strong Geoscience Departments which involved more than 185 departments. The InTeGrate STEP Center for the Geosciences is also a major contributor to programming. Learn More About Cutting Edge
Workshop Design Philosophy »


The On the Cutting Edge Management Committee includes representatives from the three primary contributing professional societies (AGU, GSA and NAGT), the NAGT treasurer, and the original Cutting Edge and Strong Departments grants. Appointed by the NAGT Executive Committee, this committee is responsible for the overall management of the program and its financial affairs. Professional societies who become substantial financial supporters of the program will have representation on this committee.

The NAGT Professional Development Program Committee is responsible for the management of the professional development activities and the website content, including peer review of teaching activities. This committee is currently composed of four NAGT members appointed by the Executive Committee and four PIs from the On the Cutting Edge NSF-funded project. The committee determines workshop offerings, appoints workshop conveners, and creates committees to manage other activities. They are responsible for the ensuring that the workshop offerings in aggregate address the needs and priorities of undergraduate geoscience education and for the quality of the individual activities. The committee was established in an MOU between NAGT and the NSF-funded On the Cutting Edge project leadership.

The leadership of the NSF-funded On the Cutting Edge project manages the parts of the On the Cutting Edge program that are currently financed by the NSF grant including the Early Career Faculty Workshop and the Preparing for an Academic Career Workshop, the completion of the review of teaching activities collected by the NSF-funded project, and the overall management of the website. This group is advised by an advisory board.

The program is funded by support from sponsoring professional societies, remaining NSF funds, registration fees, and contributions from individuals to the NAGT Professional Development Fund. Learn More About Sponsorship and Contributions »

Program Sponsors

NSF Logo Transparent NAGT Logo GSA Logo AGU

Additional information

Contact Information


      Next Page »