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National Perspectives on the Geosciences

Christopher Keane, American Geological Institute

These pages are derived from presentations delivered at the February, 2005 Workshop at the College of William and Mary and at the 2005 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. You can also download (Microsoft Word 26kB Nov10 05) the original presentation from AGU.

How Do We Evaluate How the Geosciences Are Doing?

There are multiple components that define the geoscience discipline, and it is the aggregation of the performance of those components that define the discipline's health.

The primary sectors of the discipline are:

The measures of health can be made through taking the "temperature" of these various parts of the discipline

One key issue is that most of these metrics are human-centric—that the geoscience workforce is productive, engaged, and well-balanced. Attaining this is dependent on success of college and university departments.

How are the geosciences doing?

To answer this question, it's necessary to first answer some other questions: How do we define doing "well?" Is our perspective domestic or global?

All in all, the geosciences are probably doing better than many expect. Many departments are undergoing changes right now and not all change is successful. The biggest issue is one of "market rationalization."

Self-Selecting Department Categories

If academic departments are the lynchpin, are there natural groupings within that community?

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