Building Strong Geoscience Departments > Making a Case for Your Department > Strategies for Making Your Case
Generalized map of flow deposits from the May 18, 1980, eruption, around Mount St. Helens. Photograph from the U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library.

Strategies for Making Your Case

The best time to make a case for your department is all the time, so that your administration never questions your value to the institution. Here are some strategies for making your case, early and often.

Jump down to Do a Good Job With Program Reviews * Arm Yourself With Data * Be Ready to Justify Your Existence * Know Your Supporters * References


Develop a Unifying Vision and Goals for Your Department

Do a Good Job With Program Reviews

Arm Yourself With Data

Be Ready to Justify Your Existence


Explain the value of geoscience education whenever the opportunity arises. In addition, demonstrate and publicize your department's value early and often: keep a list of bragging points that administrators will care about. For example:

Know the accomplishments of your faculty and staff

  • What accolades have they won?

Know the accomplishments of your alumni

  • Where are they employed? What accolades have they won?

Compare your program to those at peer institutions, and to other physical sciences on your own campus

Possible points of comparison:

  • Student credit hours produced (in raw numbers and per FTE)
  • Cost per credit hour
  • Revenue generated by teaching (in raw numbers and per FTE)
  • Research revenue generated (in raw numbers and per FTE)

Know how your programs contribute to your campus, your state, and your region

  • Do your faculty research or teach about environmental issues in your area?
  • Are there companies in your area that regularly hire your alumni?
  • Know how many interdisciplinary collaborations your department has with other departments, on and off campus, in terms of both research and teaching.

When it comes to tight budgets, be proactive

  • Look for ways to save money, raise external funds, and be more efficient with the money you do spend. Tell your administration what you're doing, get good results, and show them the results. "Talk about how you could improve with no additional resources. (Deans like the sound of that)" (Feiss, 1996 ).

Know Your Supporters

Your Alumni and Employers of Your Alumni

  • Who knows the value of a degree from your department better than your alumni or their employers? Work with your alumni. Keep track of where they are and what they are doing with their geoscience degrees, whether they are still in geoscience or not. Keep a file of supporting letters from these constituents on hand.
  • For some perspective on the strengths and uses of a degree in geosciences, see our collection of employee and employer interviews.

Valued Colleagues on Campus

  • Every collaborative relationship you build is a relationship that would suffer if your department were eliminated.

Local Citizens

  • When you participate in local or regional community events, you are helping to build a base of support.

National Organizations

References


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