Building Strong Departments > Workshops > Connecting to the Future of Science > Workshop Summary

Workshop Summary

Connecting Geoscience Departments to the Future of Science
New Structures for Research and Curriculum

Representatives from twenty-six geoscience departments met at Carleton College in April, 2007, to consider how geoscience departments can adapt as the field of geoscience changes. A full description of the workshop can be found on the workshop website. Keynote presentations focused on:

Keynote speakers and participants agreed that our science is heading toward
  • An increased emphasis on addressing societal Grand Challenges
    • Geoscientists will be involved in constraining likely scenarios for the future through an understanding of Earth history, the Earth system and modeling.
  • Understanding system behavior more completely, including
    • Geological-biological systems interactions,
      Earth and space systems interactions, and
      Models as drivers of data collection and research
  • Interdisciplinary interactions and cross-disciplinary synthesis
    • This will involve collaborations on campus and beyond.

Over the course of two days, participants developed a consensus about important elements for undergraduate geoscience programs:
  • Learning how to study the integrated Earth System
    • Using data, models, systems approach
    • Incorporating interdisciplinary teams and collaborations
  • Learning how geoscience contributes to solving grand societal challenges
    • Using problem based approaches in courses and undergraduate research
    • Understanding geoscience as a contributor, in the context of multidisciplinary approaches
  • Preparation for a rapidly changing discipline
    • Building strong foundational skills (there is not a strong consensus on what these are)
    • Developing students' abilities to use skills in a wide variety of problems/activities
    • Facilitating students' learning to learn

Additional implications for departments emerged:

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