Initial Publication Date: April 13, 2015

Threats and Opportunities at Research-Intensive Universities

  • What are the biggest opportunities for geoscience departments at research institutions?
  • What are the biggest threats?
  • How are geoscience departments responding to these threats and opportunities?
  • Can departments stay strong without conscious planning, relying instead primarily upon day-to-day decisions?

  • During the 2003-2004 academic year, to begin to answer these questions, Randall M. Richardson and Susan L. Beck, in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona, conducted a survey of 63 geoscience departments, primarily at research-intensive institutions in the American Association of Universities. Their survey asked Department Heads to comment on the challenges, threats and opportunities they felt they faced in the next 3-5 years, and on the role that planning played, or could play, in addressing departmental needs. The survey was completed at over an 80% rate.

    Download a summary of the results (Acrobat (PDF) 128kB Jan27 05) or follow the links below.

    Department Demographics

    How many faculty and students of different types does the department have?

    Recruitment and Retention

    Are departments concerned about attracting and keeping good faculty and students?

    Future Planning

    What issues are facing departments and how effective are attempts to plan for them?

    Education Issues

    What expectations for undergraduate education are present in the department?


    What common threads can be drawn together from the results?