About this Project

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Undergraduate Education under grants #0127310, #0127141, #0127257, #0127018, #0618482, #0618725, #0618533, #1022680, #1022776, #1022844, and #1022910.

Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

The NAGT On the Cutting Edge project is a comprehensive, discipline-wide professional development program for current and future geoscience faculty that offers an integrated workshop series, a website with topical collections of teaching resources, and a leadership development program. It aims to develop a geoscience professoriate committed to high-quality instruction based on currency in scientific knowledge, good pedagogic practice, and research on learning with the ultimate goal of improving student learning. The major goals of On the Cutting Edge 3 are to

The program works via a learning structure built from an integrated workshop series and a website of teaching resources. Cutting Edge developed models for both face-to-face and virtual workshops ranging from one to six days in length and offered 56 workshops between 2002 and 2009. 1751 faculty, post-docs, and graduate students participated in one or more workshops. More than 20% of the participants came to two or more workshops for a total of 2246 workshop participant-seats. Approximately 25% of the geoscience faculty in the U.S. and more than half the departments in the United States have participated. The reach of the workshops was in proportion to the different types of departments, with the exception of two-year colleges which were underrepresented. Cutting Edge workshop participants included a higher percentage of women and members of underrepresented groups than in the overall population of U.S. geoscience faculty. End-of-workshop evaluations indicate a high level of participant satisfaction with a median of 9.1 on a 10-point scale.

TheCutting Edge online collection of teaching activities and other resources supported those who attended the workshops, provided a venue for sharing teaching resources, and extended the reach of Cutting Edge to those who had not attended a workshop. The web collection included over 4000 pages, 33 topical collections, and more than 1200 community-contributed teaching activities at the completion of this project. In 2008, more than half a million users visited the website and approximately 12,000 visited 10 or more pages in a single session. Approximately 25% of users are geoscience faculty with the remaining 75% comprised of faculty from other disciplines, K-12 teachers from geoscience and other disciplines, undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and others. Approximately 30% of U.S. geoscience faculty use the website to find teaching ideas and materials, to compare their own teaching to that of others, to learn about teaching methods or geoscience topics, and to obtain information about career planning. Users report that the website increases their confidence in trying new teaching methods. We estimate that only 35% of geoscience faculty using the website have attended a workshop. The website received a 2009 Geoscience Information Society award for best educational website and is also a recipient of the AAAS Science Prize for Online Research in Education (SPORE).


Reports and Publications about the Project

Planning Team

Additional information

Contact Information

For further information about the program contact:
Heather Macdonald, rhmacd@wm.edu, College of William and Mary

For further information specifically about this website:
Cathryn Manduca, cmanduca@carleton.edu, Carleton College

For further information about an individual workshop:
Go to the Workshop Schedule page, which contains links all the websites for current and past workshops. Workshop and contact information is available at each workshop site.


Terms of Use for information on this website.
SERC Privacy Policy