Initial Publication Date: April 13, 2015

Go Beyond the Curriculum

Learning doesn't just take place in the classroom. Informal, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities can contribute substantially to program-level learning outcomes. These programmatic elements can be very important to student success. For example, program aspects that stimulate a sense of community outside the classroom are often a critical factor in minority students persisting in science major. If one of your program goals is to increase the diversity of your graduates, then these co-curricular concerns will be important to include on your matrix.

Some other areas that might be emphasized in your department to support programmatic learning goals include:

  • Develop and support Internship Programs
  • Encourage or require Student Research Experiences
  • Enable students to participate in Field Experiences early and often
  • Provide opportunities for students to engage international studies
  • Develop "communities of scholars"; support a student Earth Science Association in your department; work with Residence Life on your campus to establish a dorm wing dedicated to Earth (or natural/physical) science majors; support a robust departmental field trip program
  • Departmental Speakers Series; expose students to the breadth of exciting new scholarship being done by local faculty and students and by national experts; (use this as a method to reinforce and validate the activities and skills emphasized in your courses)
  • Start a journal club, with informal reading from the current popular press
  • Engage in a department-wide Service Learning project

References and Additional Readings


On mentoring

On undergraduate research