Note: this workshop has already taken place. For more information, you can go to the workshop program page, with links to presentations and additional resources.
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Workshop Program

This workshop will provide an opportunity to think broadly about how to strengthen geoscience departments. It will focus on topics addressed in previous workshops and on areas of high interest to participants such as student recruitment, curriculum, co-curricular programs, preparing students as geoscience professionals, assessment, and departmental leadership and management. The program will also include discussions of how colleges and universities in a region might work together (e.g., articulation agreements between two-year colleges and four-year colleges and universities, joint field trips, courses).

The program will include presentations by workshop leaders, small and whole group breakout sessions focused on topics listed above, working time to develop an action plan for your department, and reviews of these action plans by other workshop participants and leaders. A key focus of the workshop is for each department participating in the workshop (whether an individual or a team of two or three faculty) to be able to focus on issues that are of particular interest to their department, so participants will be able to select breakout sessions that are of most interest to them.

Workshop Outcomes

In addition to promoting communication and exchange of information among participating institutions, the workshop will produce these specific outcomes:
  • Increased awareness of the variety of strategies and resources that departments can use to strengthen aspects of their program
  • A plan for assessing key aspects of their program and assessing the impact of changes
  • Action plans by each participant or participant team that address areas of particular interest to the department and include a strategy for how their department can move forward through departmental rather than individual action
  • Addition of resources to the Building Strong Departments website


The workshop will begin on Tuesday afternoon, June 2, at 5:00 pm and end at 5:30 on Thursday, June 4. Participants must attend all sessions.


Participants are expected to:
  • Prepare in advance for workshop discussions via readings, writings, discussion or other activities developed by workshop leaders.
  • Submit an essay about the department's strengths and challenges, a description of the department's planning process, and a summary of the most recent departmental review (internal and/or external).
  • Develop an action plan at the workshop, implement it on campus, and report the outcome to the project.
  • Participate fully in the entire workshop.
  • Contribute to on-line collections of resources for the Building Strong Departments website.
  • Assist in disseminating the results of the workshop through discussions with colleagues and other activities.


The operational costs of the workshop as well as double-occupancy rooms, board, and some meals are covered by a grant from the NSF Division of Earth Sciences (EAR-0817265 & EAR-0817353). If you will need to stay in Williamsburg the night of June 4 in order to attend the entire workshop, we will cover the cost of your hotel room the night of the 4th. We will be able to offer a few single rooms for a supplemental fee of $55 per night. Participants or their home institutions must provide transportation to and from the workshop. If departments send more than two participants, they will need to cover the lodging costs, and food and workshop expenses of the third workshop participant.

Application and Selection Criteria

The workshop is limited to 60 participants. The final list of participants will be established based on the strength of the application. The application deadline was April 3.


The workshop will be held at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Participants will be housed in a hotel and will eat meals on campus and in town.