Workshop Program

Note: the 2015 workshop is over. Find out more about the "Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences" workshop series, or read on for more information about the 2015 workshop.

Jump down to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday

All workshop activities take place inUnion South

Sunday, May 31

1:00-6:00 Workshop registration: Varsity III, Union South

1:45-2:45 Concurrent sessions on research, teaching, careers, and career path

The transition from the more regimented classroom learning to the problem solving necessary for original research can be challenging for some graduate students. This session will discuss ways to help create a collaborative work environment that promotes students' research creativity while balancing project commitments and timelines.

The geosciences are the least diverse of all natural sciences in the US. As the US population becomes increasingly diverse it is important to have the geoscience community reflect the community we educate. This session will discuss the challenges and opportunities in engaging minority students.

Taking a group of students into the field is a huge responsibility, whether it's down the road, across the country, or overseas. This session will open your eyes to things that many instructors never think about, offer advice for best practice to reduce risk while being prepared for emergencies, and provide information on what institutions/departments commonly require of faculty members to reduce institutional and personal liability. 

3:00-4:00 Concurrent sessions

This session will explore how to cultivate a network of mentors in your professional life and to identify what's involved in serving as a successful mentor to others. 

  • Engaging students for extra-curricular participation and community-building - Joshua Villalobos, Landmark, Union South

Being able to connect what is learned in class to the real world is a valuable tool in any students education. This session will discuss a variety of way to engage students through service learning programs, outdoor activities, and citizen science projects. 

Most geoscience PhD students will hold at least one post-doctoral position prior to starting a tenure-track position. This session will discuss what to look for in a post-doc position, strategies for finding ideal positions, ways to acquire fellowships and external funding, approaches on how to balance publishing your dissertation, conducting new research in a new setting or location, and interviewing for academic positions, and tips to maximize use of your time on route to an academic career.

4:15-5:15 Families and careers: A panel discussion - Workshop leaders, Varsity III, Union South

This session offers a discussion of issues, opportunities, and choices associated with families and careers, including children, dual-career couples, and more, with many opportunities to ask questions of the session leaders.

Workshop begins

5:30-6:00 Reception and icebreaker activities Varsity III, Union South

6:00-7:00 Dinner Varsity III, Union South

7:00-9:00 Introductions and opening session Varsity III, Union South

Monday, June 1

Theme for the day: Who are you as a teacher?

7:15-7:45 Breakfast, Four Lakes Market, Dejope Hall

8:00-8:20 Overview of day (PowerPoint 1MB Jul1 14) - Barb Tewksbury, Varsity III, Union South

8:20-9:40 Rethinking course design: A practical strategy for designing effective and innovative courses (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 489kB Jun2 15) - Barb Tewksbury, Varsity III, Union South

On the Cutting Edge has an on-line course design tutorial that expands on this approach and takes you through the full process, from considering context to setting goals, to developing a course around those goals, and assessing student progress.

9:40-10:00 Break Varsity III, Union South

10:00-10:50 Teaching breakout sessions

The ability to write and present for general and technical audiences is a critical, and often the most important, skill sought by all employers of college graduates. Many colleges and universities have been pushing to having writing across the discipline be an integral part of the classroom experience in the sciences. How can one effectively and efficiently teach and assess these skills within a disciplinary course and still cover core scientific concepts? We will discuss best practices for teaching and assessment of communication, tips for dealing with writing phobia, and share successful prompts.

Colleges and universities are expanding their online course offerings as student demand for them increases. This session will cover different pedagogical​ technologies and approaches to help you create an effective online course.

Data collection, reduction, analysis, and interpretation are powerful tools that help students practice the process of science. In this session we'll explore resources for finding data and ways that data can be used to actively engage students in your introductory and upper-level courses.

11:00-11:50 Teaching breakout sessions

Many departments require, or provide the option for, an undergraduate research thesis. For many students, this opportunity is a life-changing event. From the professor's side, undergraduate theses require a lot of energy, effort, and organization. This session will discuss various stages and strategies of the undergraduate thesis including: how to recruit students, how to fund students, how to design projects, how to manage undergraduate lab and field work, and how to manage the often time consuming editing process.

In large, introductory lecture classes, it can be difficult to engage non-majors. We will discuss ways to grab students' attention and to convey important topics. Geoscience can be explored through the lenses of history, literature, politics, visual and performance art, etc. This discussion will focus on ideas for emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of geoscience within the field itself, across the sciences, and out into the other disciplines on campus. We will also discuss ways to collaborate with other disciplines to create hybrid classes or projects.

  • Effective teaching in the field Barb Tewksbury, Northwoods, Union South

12:00-1:20 Lunch and optional lunch-time discussions Varsity III, Union South

  • Topics chosen by participants

1:30-3:10 Designing effective assignments and activities (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 4.1MB Jun2 15) - Barb Tewksbury, Varsity III, Union South

3:10-3:30 Break Varsity III, Union South

3:30-5:00 Teaching statements concurrent sessions: Articulating your teaching goals and highlighting your accomplishments

  • Introduction to teaching statements (PowerPoint 603kB Jun1 15) - Joshua Villalobos, Varsity III, Union South
  • Review of teaching statements - Barb Tewksbury and other leaders, Landmark, Union South

5:00-5:15 Wrap-up and road check Varsity III, Union South

6:00-7:15 Dinner Varsity III, Union South

7:30-8:30 Optional evening discussions, locations TBA

As a starting faculty member, learning how to manage your time effectively is key to balancing increasing demands on your time. Too often, tasks with diffuse and long-term deadlines (such as writing, research or career planning), fall down to the bottom of the priority list and your time is consumed by those with explicit, short-term deadlines (e.g., tomorrow's lecture). This session will discuss strategies for effective time management, for learning when and how to say no, keeping your students and yourself on schedule, and protecting your own time by building accountability mechanisms.

Securing funding for projects, whether for big bucks or small, for research or teaching projects, is an important part of being a faculty member. This session will provide advice on writing compelling proposals, thinking broadly and creatively about funding sources, getting involved in grant proposal review, and dealing with the inevitable rejections.

  • Short reviews (10 minutes) of curriculum vitae and/or cover letter for job applications, for participants who have brought these documents with them - Workshop leaders

Tuesday, June 2

7:15-7:45 Breakfast Four Lakes Market, Dejope Hall

Theme for the morning: Who are you as a researcher?

8:00-8:15 Overview of day and report on daily road check - Barb Tewksbury, Varsity III, Union South

8:15-9:00 Moving your research forward to new settings: Breakout sessions (will be repeated at 9:05)

  • Two-year colleges - Joshua Villalobos, Landmark, Union South
  • Primarily undergraduate institutions - Barb Tewksbury and Jen Wenner, Northwoods, Union South
  • Graduate institutions - Ankur Desai, Matt Kirby, Erika Marín-Spiotta, and Margaret Fraiser, Varsity III, Union South

9:05-9:50 Moving your research forward to new settings: Breakout sessions (repeated from 8:15)

  • Two-year colleges - Joshua Villalobos, Landmark, Union South

  • Primarily undergraduate institutions - Barb Tewksbury and Jen Wenner Northwoods, Union South
  • Graduate institutions - Ankur Desai, Matt Kirby, Erika Marín-Spiotta, and Margaret Fraiser, Varsity III, Union South

9:50-10:10 Break Varsity III, Union South

10:10-10:55 Action planning: Research (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 62kB Jun2 15) - Barb Tewksbury, Varsity III, Union South

Participants develop their individual action plans for what to do to set themselves up for moving their research to a new setting.

11:00-12:10 Research statements: Concurrent sessions

  • Review of research statements - Workshop leaders, Northwoods, Union South
  • Professional opportunities at two-year colleges - Joshua Villalobos, Landmark, Union South

12:15-1:20 Lunch and optional lunch-time discussions Varsity III, Union South

  • Topics chosen by participants

Theme for the afternoon: Choosing where you want to go and getting there

1:30-2:50 Mapping your career: Choices, balance, and action planning (Acrobat (PDF) 388kB Jun1 15) - Matt Kirby and other workshop leaders, Varsity III, Union South

2:50-3:10 Break Varsity III, Union South

3:10-3:55 Making a strong first impression: The elevator talk (PowerPoint 499kB Jun1 15) - Ankur Desai, Varsity III, Union South

4:00-5:00 The academic job search (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 406kB Jun2 15): Applications, interviews, teaching demonstrations, job talks, and negotiating - Jen Wenner and workshop leaders, Varsity III, Union South

5:00-5:30 Closing remarks andend-of-workshop evaluation Varsity III, Union South

6:00 Dinner Varsity III, Union South

7:30-8:30 Optional evening discussion, location TBA

  • Finances and a career in academia - Workshop leaders

This informal discussion will offer advice on handling the financial challenges of starting out in a career in academia, along with a variety of perspectives on financial management skills, salary trajectories, what financial stability looks like in an academic career, and planning for your children's college education as well as for your own retirement (which undoubtedly seems like a very long way off!!).

Wednesday, June 3

7:15-8:15 Breakfast Four Lakes Market, Dejope Hall

Optional workshop sessions

8:30-9:30 Concurrent Optional Sessions I

Community colleges currently enroll over 40% of all US undergraduate students and are increasing becoming key components in higher education collaborations, research, and pedagogy development. This session will discuss; the past, current, and future roles of community college faculty, how search for positions, and how to interview for them.

Flash forward - you have been offered a job - congratulations! But now the challenges really begin. One of these challenges is setting up your lab. It sounds easy...and fun! Alas, setting up your lab requires critical planning to insure your success, safety, and eventual tenure. This session will discuss strategies for setting up your first lab as well as how to get your lab up-and-running.

Planning your career doesn't stop once you land a new job. This session will discuss strategies for asking yourself questions to help you map the next one, three and six years of your career: including, how can you ensure you are launching into a successful and satisfying job; what new directions should your work take; what collaborations and proposals should you pursue; how do you seek out opportunities for you to become a better researcher, teacher, mentor; how do you manage demands on your time to meet requirements for tenure at your institution?

9:45-10:45 Concurrent Optional Sessions II

You were a graduate student not that long ago and suddenly you find yourself teaching them. How do you assert authority? How does one decide on the appropriate level for such a course? How do you handle students going off to conferences, field experiments, and parental leave? Graduate courses have unique properties and challenges compared to undergraduate courses, especially for junior faculty, who may be the same age and only have a slightly stronger grasp of the material as the students in the class. This session will discuss types of graduate courses, how to design and assess these, and ideas for maintaining classroom authority and engagement.

As a grad student or post-doc, you have had experience collaborating with your advisor and other students and researchers. As a faculty member, you will be in a different position - you will be initiating and managing collaborations with both colleagues and students. This session will explore how to make that transition, what to watch out for, and how to make a variety of types of collaborations work for both you and your collaborators.

Becoming a faculty member means joining an academic department (or program) as well as a particular institution. Service to those two groups is a part of faculty workload that you'll encounter. We'll discuss the ways for you to do this work effectively while keeping a balance to your workload.

11:00-12:00 Concurrent Optional Sessions III

  • Assessment - how do you know that your students are "getting it"? - Jen Wenner and Joshua Villalobos, Landmark, Union South

Assessment involves observing and measuring student learning. This session will provide the opportunity to think about how to effectively assess whether students are achieving learning goals associated with an assignment, project, or course.

Academic interviews can feel like a marathon. Learn what to expect in an on-site interview, how to prepare for this endurance test, and what to ask the different people you meet, from the graduate students to the dean. We'll also discuss ways to prepare for a screening interview on the phone or via web conference call.

Being a professor is a balancing act between teaching, service, and research. How you manage your time will dictate, to a large extent, your ability to achieve your research goals. Acquiring this balance is easier said than done. In this session, we will explore some time management techniques aimed at achieving research success.

If you participated in one of the optional Wednesday sessions, we'd appreciate getting your feedback. Please fill out theWednesday session evaluation formto provide us with your thoughts. Thanks!