Workshop Overview

This workshop will be an exciting collaborative effort that will bring together faculty who teach courses in hydrogeology, soils, low-T geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and upper level environmental geoscience to address questions of how to teach these disciplines most effectively at the undergraduate level.

Workshop goals and format

  • Critical topics for discussion, brainstorming, and strategy development:
    • What innovative strategies can we use to integrate hydrogeology, soils, low-T geochemistry, and biogeochemistry into the courses that we teach for majors? What case studies could be used effectively to give students experience at the intersections among these disciplines? What are some strategies for addressing aspects of all of these disciplines if a department has only one required course, e.g., only hydrogeology or only geochemistry?
    • The Critical Zone is a key unifying concept for understanding near surface/surface processes. How can we help students develop a more integrated approach to understanding processes and addressing research questions in the Critical Zone?
    • What is the appropriate balance of basic and applied aspects? What strategies can we use to help students become better at applied decision-making? What role can GIS play?
    • Environmental geoscience is a common thread that runs through the disciplines of hydrogeology, soils, low-T geochemistry, and biogeochemistry. What are the key geoscience principles that should underpin a major in environmental science or an environmental track of a geoscience major? What are effective ways for threading these key geoscience principles throughout the courses for such majors?
    • What strategies work well to teach students to be adaptable and flexible thinkers and problem-solvers?
  • Presentations of effective and innovative ways to teach hydrogeology, soils, low-T geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and environmental geology: The workshop will showcase outstanding strategies that participants use for teaching these disciplines above the introductory level, and all participants will submit assignments and activities for actively engaging students in the classroom or for providing effective and innovative lab or field experiences. Oral and poster presentations by workshop participants will be based on submitted activities and assignments.
  • Review of the Cutting Edgeonline resource collection: All participants will review at least two activities submitted by fellow participants to this workshop.
  • Email list: an email list for workshop participants will promote discussion before and after the workshop.


The first workshop event will take place at 5 pm on Wednesday, June 5, and the last at dinner on Sunday, June 9. An optional field trip will take place on Wednesday, June 5 before the workshops began.


Workshop participants must:

  • Participate in all workshop sessions, as well as pre- and post-workshop activities.
  • Submit at least two activities or assignments for actively engaging students in the classroom or for providing effective and innovative lab or field experiences.
  • Give an oral presentation (if invited) or present a poster based on one of your submissions.
  • Review at least two activities submitted by other participants in the workshop.

Costs and logistics

Our National Science Foundation grant provides funding for some of the operational costs of this workshop. To be supported by these funds, a participant must be either a US citizen, a permanent resident, or in the employ of a US institution. If you don't meet these requirements and are interested in participating in this workshop at your own expense, please contact the workshop conveners.

Workshop registration fee: The registration fee is $195 ($150 for NAGT members) and will include most meals but not lodging. The optional field trip on June 5 will cost $50, which will cover transportation and meals.

Location and facilities: The workshop will be held at University of New Mexico, which is located in Albuquerque.

Travel, lodging. Participants or their home institutions must cover lodging plus travel to and from the workshop. We will offer a low-cost option to stay in the dorms at UNM. Alternatively, participants may make their own lodging arrangements at a local hotel, although we will not provide transportation to the University from local hotels. The Nob Hill area of Albuquerque is located within easy walking distance of the on-campus housing. Several good restaurants and shops can be found in this area for times when meals are not provided. The campus is located about 2 miles from the Albuquerque 'Sunport', and a taxi costs about $15 one way. We will post more details on logistics of travel to and from the airport at a later date.

Participants must arrive in Albuquerque in time for the first workshop event at 7 pm on Wednesday, June 5. The workshop will be over on Sunday evening, June 9, and participants will return home on Monday, June 10. If you wish to take part in the optional field trip on Wednesday, June 5, you must arrive in Albuquerque on Tuesday, June 4.

Stipends: In cases where the cost of attending this workshop would cause financial hardship, you can apply for a stipend to help defray these costs. The deadline for travel stipend applications is March 15.

Application and selection criteria

Applicants for this workshop must have a faculty position at a two- or four-year college or university and either teach a course in hydrogeology, soils, low-temperature geochemistry, upper level environmental geology (not intro), or biogeochemistry or have expertise in one of these disciplines plus experience in integrating the discipline in a significant way into courses in the curriculum above the introductory level. We welcome applications from all academic ranks. The workshop is limited to 80 participants, and the final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group representing a wide range of experiences, educational environments, and specialties. Although the application deadline has passed, we are still accepting applications on a rolling basis as long as space remains available.

For more information

Contact Barbara Tewksbury (