The Cutting Edge Leadership Program

On the Cutting Edge

On the Cutting Edge is a comprehensive professional development program for academic geoscientists, funded by the National Science Foundation and sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. The goal of On the Cutting Edge is to change the culture of geoscience education, building a self-sustaining community of educators committed to developing and sharing pedagogical best practices.

The Leadership Program

To support the ongoing development of this community and to help facilitate its growth into a self-sustaining model, the Cutting Edge program is implementing a Leadership Program. The goal of the Cutting Edge Leadership Program is to share what we have learned from running the Cutting Edge program with the community of academic geoscientists who lead professional development activities for their colleagues. We will share our expertise on two equally important, complementary topics:

  1. Leading Cutting Edge-style Follow-On Workshops and
  2. Developing new web modules showcasing best practices or innovative methods in geoscience pedagogy.

Program Description

Follow-On Workshops

The Follow-On Workshop Program is designed to bring Cutting Edge workshop results and resources to new audiences, while providing opportunities to develop new Cutting Edge workshop leaders. Like all Cutting Edge workshops, participants in these workshops will contribute to the Cutting Edge collections in order to share the benefits of their workshop experience to the larger community. The workshops and the workshop leaders will be evaluated as part of the Cutting Edge program in order to provide formative feedback and understand the impact of the program on the geoscience community. Find out more about the 2009-2010 Follow-On Workshops.

Website Development Projects

Website development projects bring pedagogical best practices to broad audiences, while providing opportunities to develop new Cutting Edge web resource developers. Find out more about the 2008 website development projects.


On the Cutting Edge PIs select participants for this program from the pool of Cutting Edge workshop alumni and other applicants who demonstrate a deep interest in the future of geoscience education.

Resources for Workshop Leaders

Each participant in the Cutting Edge Leadership Program is paired with two mentors: a member of the Cutting Edge PI team (Heather Macdonald, Cathy Manduca, David Mogk, or Barb Tewksbury) and a member of the SERC Website Development team (Monica Bruckner, Karin Kirk, John McDaris, or Carol Ormand). Mentors provide individualized guidance and support for leadership program participants based on what we've learned from many years of running the Cutting Edge program. We also have web pages on

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