Building Strong Departments > Workshops > Traveling Workshops > Example Programs

Example Programs

The programs below are modified from actual traveling workshops at geoscience departments. They are shown here to give departments and workshop leaders a starting place for conversations about what to include in their specific traveling workshop program. While every workshop includes some sessions focusing on the specific topics of interest to the department, there are also many optional possibilities: opportunities for the workshop leaders to meet with administrators or students, informal events such as meals or field trips, and more.

Jump down to Sample 2-Day Program

Sample 1-Day Program

8:00 to 8:20 a.m. Introductions & background on BSGD project

8:20 to 10:10 a.m. SWOT analysis

8:20 to 8:40 a.m. Strengths of the Dept. of Geosciences
8:40 to 10:10 a.m. "Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats" of/for/to the Dept. of Geosciences

10:10 to 10:30 a.m. BREAK

10:30 a.m. to noon Curriculum development

Noon to 1:00 p.m. LUNCH

1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Recruiting students

2:30 to 3:00 p.m. BREAK

3:00 to 4:15 p.m. Action planning

4:15 to 5:00 p.m. Report-out, wrap-up, & workshop assessment

Sample 2-Day Program


  • Half-day field trip. Focus on using local sites for field study.
  • Dinner. Potluck at department head's house.
  • Homework for department members for Monday morning: "An ideal student:"
    Write a recommendation letter for an ideal student in your program who is a new graduate, applying for graduate school or a job. In the letter, describe some of the following:
    • What kind of person will this graduate be?
    • What will they be able to do?
    • What will they know?
    • What skills will they have?
    • How will they behave?
    • What will they value?
    You can assume that these graduates have already met (in general) the institutional student learning outcomes. Please bring a hard copy of the letter to the Monday morning session.


8 -11:00 a.m. Introduction to the Workshop and SWOT Analysis

  • Framing presentations: Bookends Part I: What this workshop visit is intended to do. Short introductory discussion/presentation of:
  • What we have learned about the characteristics of strong departments
  • A hands-on introduction to a revised and user-friendly SERC site: Building Strong Geoscience Departments.
  • Complete and discuss SWOT analysis: this process gives each person an opportunity to define the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats facing the department and program. Although many of these have been previously articulated (and some, like the state budget issues are overwhelming in scale), there's value in generating a list anew.
    • Facilitate department faculty in identifying issues: the projects that are critical to strengthening their program; the strengths, opportunities, challenges they see to their successful implementation of these projects; and specific strategies they foresee for moving their program forward.

11-noon Time for workshop leaders to update next session to reflect results from morning sessions and to confer with department head.

Noon-1 p.m. Lunch in Student Union.

1:00-1:30 p.m. Workshop leaders meet with Provost

1:30-1:45 p.m. Travel time between appointments

1:45-2:15 p.m. Workshop leaders meet with Dean

2:30-3:00 p.m. Short report from workshop leaders about the issues that were identified in the morning

3:00–5:00 p.m Curriculum Development

  • Focus on issues of curriculum and student learning outcomes
  • Start mapping student learning outcomes, skills, experiences, values and goals to the new curriculum (how to embed analysis/assessment of these outcomes into the curriculum as it is designed and implemented)
  • Summary of "next steps." Including brainstorming about elements of the curriculum and program goals that stand out as potential recruitment tools. (There won't be time to complete the outcomes/curriculum mapping exercise in this amount of time, but we can work through a few outcomes).
  • Short reflection (by individual faculty) on how the day went and what they would like to do on Tuesday

5-6 p.m. Workshop leaders meet with students (undergrad and grad, as appropriate)

  • What it means to build a strong department
  • How students can help increase numbers of majors
  • Student perspectives on strengths and challenges of department
  • Student perspectives on recruitment and retention
  • Pointing students to resources on the SERC site

6:30-9:00 p.m. Dinner


8-11:00 a.m. Student Recruitment

  • Using the results from the morning discussion and outcomes from the previous session, assist department members in articulating WHY they want to recruit students. Part of the reason is to get faculty to better articulate what they really want, and then think about whether or not they will be able to provide the appropriate experiences for the students if enrollments indeed increase.
  • Consider a conceptual framework that divides recruitment strategies between efforts that are primarily local to the department (e.g., using your Intro courses) and those primarily beyond your department (e.g., K12, Community Colleges, etc.).
  • Following up on yesterday's exercise, help department identify what their particular experiences and expertise may be, and what role each person and the department collectively has in recruiting.
  • Build an Action Plan for Recruitment (work in subset teams)

11:00a.m.-12:30 p.m. Curriculum mapping, student learning outcomes, and the Ideal Student

12:30-2 p.m. Lunch in Student Union

2:00-5:00 p.m. Action Planning, From Plans to Actions, and Workshop Evaluation

  • Go from subset team work on student recruitment to a departmental Action Plan on recruitment
  • Go from subset team work on curriculum to a departmental Action Plan on curriculum
  • Bookends Part II... thinking about how to get from ideas in workshop and the preliminary actions to concrete action plans with timeline and deliverables
  • Workshop evaluation