Initial Publication Date: October 6, 2014

About On the Cutting Edge

The NSF-Funded Program

The On the Cutting Edge Professional Development Program for Geoscience Faculty brought together workshops, websites, and research activities to support high-quality undergraduate geoscience education. The program was established in 2002 with funding from the National Science Foundation and more than 3000 faculty, post-docs and graduate students from over 900 institutions participated in more than 100 face-to-face and virtual workshops and community-based research projects producing a website with more than 9,000 pages of content and is visited by more than 800,000 users annually. The project changed geoscience education in the United States legitimizing discussions of teaching, improving teaching practices, and establishing a culture of information and resource sharing that underpins continuous improvement in undergraduate geoscience instruction.

Transition to NAGT Management

An integral part of the fabric of geoscience education and a major source of teaching resources, the On the Cutting Edge programming expanded beyond its original focus on courses, pedagogy and career management through a cooperative venture of geoscience professional societies managed by NAGT. These activities included building on workshop programs and websites that originated as part of the NSF-funded Building Strong Geoscience Departments. The InTeGrate STEP Center for the Geosciences was also been a major contributor to programming.

In 2019 the transition away from core NSF funding was completed. NAGT and SERC now jointly lead the On the Cutting Edge Program and collaborate on the management and continued development and funding of the now branded NAGT's On the Cutting Edge Program. NAGT has expertise in geoscience education research, student learning, and faculty professional development and an established leadership structure with capacity to identify and lead programming in response to community needs. SERC possesses technology infrastructure and has expertise in strategies for implementation of professional development programming, development of websites through community contributions, and project management.

Explore current events, activities and resources in NAGT's On the Cutting Edge Professional Development Program »

Original Planning Team

  • Heather Macdonald,, College of William and Mary - Lead PI
  • Rachel Beane,, Bowdoin College
  • Cathryn Manduca,, Carleton College
  • David McConnell,, North Carolina State University
  • David Mogk,, Montana State University, Bozeman
  • Barbara Tewksbury,, Hamilton College
  • Katryn Wiese,, City College of San Francisco
  • Michael Wysession,, Washington University

Supporting Resources

This work was 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.

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