Preparing for an Academic Career

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8-11am PT / 9am-12pm MT / 10am-1pm CT / 11am-2pm ET Online


Sue Ebanks, Savannah State University
Catherine Riihimaki, 2NDNATURE Software
Lynsey LeMay, Virginia Peninsula Community College
Lisa Gilbert, Cabrillo College
Gary Weissmann, University of New Mexico-Main Campus

This workshop is designed specifically for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and others who are interested in pursuing academic careers in the geosciences. Workshop leaders from a variety of institution types and career paths will provide guidance and information that will help participants to be stronger candidates for academic positions and to succeed in academic jobs. Each participant will develop or revise a plan for the next stage in their career and will cultivate ideas that they can immediately implement. In addition to ideas, our goal is build a community of support that will thrive beyond current challenges of COVID-19. This will be accomplished, in part, through breakout sessions and periods of informal Q & A with co-conveners, alumni of the workshop, and fellow participants. Participants will have the option to engage in post-Rendezvous small groups to revise application materials (schedule TBD). Additional professional development is available through workshops, roundtable discussions, panels, and plenary sessions that are part of the Earth Educators' Rendezvous.

Late-breaking Stipend Opportunity
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All workshops will take place online, via Zoom (unless otherwise noted). Participants will be sent links to the Zoom room and connection info will be posted below prior to the workshop start.Workshop Program »

Session Connection Info

This workshop has already taken place.


Securing a position and being successful in academia can seem daunting. For this particular cohort of job-seekers, the current pandemic may require a non-conventional approach to networking as well as for searching and acquiring a position. Further, the universe of academic career options in the geosciences looks overwhelming. The Preparing for an Academic Career workshop has been designed to confront these concerns while fostering opportunities in which participants can engage with current geoscience professionals at a range of institutions as they also network with near-peers. There are opportunities to discuss tips, strategies, and coping mechanisms for professional survival during this period of uncertainty associated with COVID-19 with an eye looking forward to future successes in teaching and research in academia.

Participants will consider

  • What kind of institution is right for you?
  • How can you craft the strongest research and teaching statements to land an interview?
  • What does it take to get your first grant?
  • What does it take to succeed as a teacher?
  • How do you stay focused and keep your lab and classes motivated so you can meet criteria for tenure?

While recognizing and considering approaches to manage possible extended periods of preparation before achieving that desired career position.

The workshop will provide a stimulating and resource-rich environment in which to explore these kinds of questions and other important facets of an academic career, including preparing for unexpected. Faculty members and administrators will provide guidance and information in various sessions that will help participants to be stronger candidates for academic positions and to succeed in the research and teaching components of their academic jobs, with these thoughts in mind. Each participant will develop or revise a plan for the next career stage and will take home ideas to immediately improve teaching. In addition, participants can choose among workshops, panels, roundtable discussions, and plenary sessions that are part of the Earth Educators' Rendezvous on Monday-Wednesday; we will provide additional opportunities for career-related discussions and a post-Rendezvous opportunity for feedback on application materials.

  • Limited stipends are available.
  • See the Teach the Earth portal for more resources on preparing for an academic career.

Who should attend

This workshop is designed specifically for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and others who are interested in pursuing academic careers in the geosciences (including geology, geochemistry, geophysics, atmospheric sciences, oceanography, geography, environmental science, and other allied disciplines). We recommend faculty members already in a full-time faculty position consider attending the Workshop for Early Career Geoscience Faculty instead.


The main goals of the workshop are for participants to improve their application and interview skills for academic jobs, become more effective at goal-setting and time management, and broaden their network (of colleagues and resources) to help jump-start their teaching and research as a faculty member.

As a participant, during the workshop and associated Rendezvous opportunities, you will:

  • Learn about academic careers in different educational settings (e.g., two-year colleges, primarily undergraduate institutions, universities).
  • Develop a plan for your next career stage and set short- and longer-term goals to move toward that plan.
  • Learn about the job search process and improve your job applications: Learn about documenting strengths and accomplishments in teaching and research, and develop or revise your teaching and research statements.
  • Improve your communication skills, including for your elevator pitch and interviews.
  • Explore aspects of effective and innovative teaching. Be sure to make your own selections from Monday-Wednesday afternoon Rendezvous workshops and sessions. These are open to you and included in registration.


During the week of the Earth Educators' Rendezvous, the workshop program will include faculty panels on academic careers and the academic job search, short presentations on various topics, structured discussions with breakout periods for small-group collaboration, opportunities and suggestions for engaging with fellow participants and current professionals in academia, as well as open and anonymous Q & A. Participants will have the opportunity to practice and receive feedback on their elevator pitch. Also, there will be optional virtual gatherings that will allow for further smaller group interaction and discussion of topics.

Participants will develop their own set of goals for teaching and research and follow through with post-workshop plans. Further, they will have the opportunity to meet in small groups after the Earth Educators' Rendezvous to evaluate application materials.


Thanks to generous donations from NAGT members and donors, this year's Preparing for an Academic Career workshop is currently able to offer stipends of 175 dollars each to a limited number of graduate student participants to help offset costs of participating in the workshop. There are currently 10 stipends available, and criteria for selection will start with first time graduate student applicants and those who show a demonstrated need on a first-come first-served basis; subsequent applicants will be placed on a waitlist in case awards become available. Monetary awards will be disbursed following the workshop. In order to receive the award, recipients are required to register for the Rendezvous and complete the entire workshop and give a presentation at their home institution about their experience and report that activity to NAGT. Once the report is received, awards will be disbursed. For those applying for additional monetary support to attend the Earth Educators' Rendezvous, the limit on the combined award from Earth Educators' Rendezvous/NAGT sources (e.g. participation in review/NGSS tagging camps and/or travel stipends) is $500.

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