Curricula & Programs
These webpages were written by Carol Ormand, based on ideas compiled from the 2007 workshops on the Role of Departments in Preparing Future Geoscience Professionals and on Connecting Geoscience Departments to the Future of Science.
The curriculum is the centerpiece of a geoscience program. As you build or revise your curriculum, which elements are essential? Which are optional? How does your curriculum support your departmental priorities and goals? While the resources and references on this page probably won't answer these questions for you, they illustrate the answers other departments have reached, and describe some of the process of getting there.
A great deal of education happens outside of formal coursework, through mentoring, advising, internships, student research experiences, and many other activities. The resources and references on this page can help you (and your students) make the most of these opportunities.
In recent decades, research on the process of learning, and particularly on the process of learning science, has blossomed. We can use the results of this research to improve both the quality and the quantity of learning that occurs in our classrooms, producing better-educated geoscientists and citizens.
References and Additional Readings
- AGU/AGI (2014), Webinar: Outcomes of the Summit on the Future of Undegraduate Geoscience Education
This webinar summarizes the findings of participants at the 2014 NSF-Sponsored Summit on the Future of Geoscience Undergraduate Education. The summit engaged a broad spectrum of the geoscience community in a comprehensive review of geoscience curriculum, pedagogy, and use of technology with the goal of creating a community vision for undergraduate geoscience education in the future.
- Assessing How Students Learn from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List
This article emphasizes the importance of assessing how your students are learning. What strategies are your successful (and unsuccessful) students using?
- Bralower, T., P.G. Feiss and C.A. Manduca (2008), Preparing a New Generation of Citizens and Scientists to face Earth's Future, Liberal Education, 94 (2), p. 20-23.
With growing awareness of significant environmental problems facing the earth in the coming decades, and the realization that issues such as global warming require action on the part of individuals as well as governments, the authors assert that earth system science must establish its place in college curricula to ensure that a new generation of citizens and scientists is prepared to meet future challenges.
- Drummond and Markin, 2008. An Analysis of the Bachelor of Science in Geology Degree as Offered in the United States, Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 56, n. 2, p. 113-119.
This analysis of degree programs in the U.S. provides departments undergoing program review a basis for comparison with other institutions and national norms.
- Kastens et al., 2009. How Geoscientists Think and Learn, Eos, Transactions, v. 90, n. 31, p. 265-266.
This short article summarizes four ways in which expertise in geoscience requires specific thinking patterns or skills: understanding geologic time scales, the Earth as a complex system, learning in the field, and spatial thinking.
- Manduca, C., H. Macdonald, and G. Feiss (2008), Education: Preparing Students for Geosciences of the Future, Geotimes 53 (4), 59.
Society faces an ever-expanding number of difficult challenges - and geoscience students can prepare to help meet them.
- Manduca and Mogk, eds., 2006. Earth and Mind: How Geologists Think and Learn about the Earth .
This book explores what is required in developing expertise as a geoscientist and the implications for student learning.