The geoscience workforce is changing rapidly as businesses and governments cope with finite global resources in the face of expanding population. At the same time, traditional employers of geoscientists project a need for new geoscientists that will outstrip the current supply due to the impending retirement of a majority of workers hired prior to 1988. Notably, as our population has become more ethnically diverse, geoscience is the least diverse of all STEM fields exacerbating the challenges of developing the needed workforce.
In contrast to our solid understanding of the impending needs of the traditional geoscience workforce and the skills and knowledge that lead to successful employment (such as sustainability and "green jobs") in these areas, academic programs have relatively little information about the new areas for employment and may not be able to articulate the learning outcomes for their programs in terms that are aligned with known employer needs. This workshop will begin to bridge that gap.
This workshop supports the InTeGrate project in its goal of increasing the number of graduates in the geosciences and associated fields who are able to work with other scientists, social scientists, business people, and policy makers to develop viable solutions to current and future environmental and resource challenges. Beginning in 2014, funds will be available to support implementation programs that model new ways to achieve this goal.
The goals of this workshop are to:
- Develop an understanding of the current and future workforce situation (major employers and job types, employment trends) for graduates with strong geoscience knowledge in traditional disciplinary fields as well as those educated in cross-disciplinary programs (e.g. environmental sciences and studies, sustainability studies, sustainable business, resource management, environmental law, environmental health).
- Identify employers' needs for workers with various degrees at the associate's and bachelor's levels, skill types and competencies.
- Articulate the skills and knowledge developed by participants' academic programs and the ways in which these programs prepare students for the 21st Century workforce.
- Create online resources supporting programs in documenting learning outcomes of current programs involving geoscience learning, the skills developed by these programs, and their relationship to employer needs.
- Explore strategies for strengthening workforce preparation for students in diverse programs developing geoscience expertise of all types.
All workshop participants are expected to participate in the workshop in several ways, including:
- Submit a one-page description of your program and its learning outcomes, along with a link to the program website. In particular, describe how you have developed curricula to prepare students for jobs outside of traditional geoscience hiring areas. These materials will be published on the project website.
- Write a 1-2 page essay describing your current understanding of how your program prepares students for the workforce, including a discussion of the areas in which your alumni are employed and the knowledge and skills that have been most important in supporting success.
- Participate fully in the entire workshop and attend all sessions.
Application Process and Selection Criteria
We seek applications from representatives of undergraduate programs of all types in which developing geoscience understanding is valued as an important aspect of preparing students for successful careers.
In selecting participants from the applicant pool, we seek a diverse set of participants, program designs, and institution types (community colleges, colleges, and universities). Preference is given to applicants who are in a position of leadership within their program and to those who have information about the success of their students in the workforce. Preference is also given to US participants.
The application deadline is Friday, February 22, 2013. Accepted applicants will be notified by mid-March. Prior to the workshop, accepted applicants will be asked to fill out a registration form to confirm their attendance and to communicate their travel arrangements.
There is no fee to attend this workshop, and the project grant (NSF DUE - 112533) covers double-occupancy participant lodging, meals and supplies during the workshop. Participants or their institutions are expected to cover the cost of travel to and from the workshop. Participants are eligible to apply for workshop stipends to help defray travel expenses in cases of financial need.
The workshop will be held on the campus of Pennsylvania State University.
For More Information
Contact Tim Bralower (email@example.com), David Blockstein (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Cathy Manduca (email@example.com).