Conclusions: Common Themes
This survey confirms that not all geoscience departments are identical in their needs and issues. However, even with the wide range of departments involved, there were a large number of issues common among many departments. For example:
- Many departments see opportunities in large, community-wide initiatives such as Earthscope, and in interdisciplinary science, in the next 3-5 years.
- Most departments felt that the biggest threat in the next 3-5 years was declining resources, and the associated problems (faculty retention, lab support, etc.).
- For departments facing faculty retention issues, many recognized the benefit of pre-emptive measures. Responding to outside offers, many found benefit of strong, prompt counter offers, and the growing need to address spousal/partner job issues.
- In terms of recruiting faculty, the strategy most commonly cited was substantial start-up packages.
- For both graduate and undergraduate students, recruitment was much more of an issue than retention. Recruitment strategies were quite variable, but involved lots of personal contact.
- The vast majority of departments felt it was important to integrate, or balance, research and education. The most commonly cited example was undergraduate research opportunities.
- Planning was seen as overwhelming valuable, but written comments carry an undertone of frustration with planning in a rapidly varying environment. Planning was found most useful for faculty hiring plans and curriculum reform/revision.