Vision and Change in the Geosciences: Preparing for the Future of Geoscience Education

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


Sharon Mosher, The University of Texas at Austin
Jeffrey Ryan, University of South Florida
Christopher Keane, American Geosciences Institute

The goal of the workshop is to help foster change in undergraduate and graduate geoscience programs to better prepare geoscience students for the future. This workshop will focus on the recently published Vision and Change document, resulting from a 6-year NSF-sponsored initiative, that outlines an academic and employer community vision for the future of undergraduate education and provides key strategies and recommendations for transformative change. We will integrate results from an additional study of skills and competencies needed by graduate students in Earth, Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences for student success in the workforce. This workshop will provide a forum for participants to discuss with colleagues from other institutions the changes needed in their own department and ways to successfully implement them.


The recently published Vision and Change in the Geosciences: The Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education report is an extensive document that addresses the drivers, needs, and strategies for preparing future generations of geoscientists for the rapidly changing geoscience discipline and profession. The report addresses a wide range of issues, from key geoscience concepts and skills to pedagogy, recruitment, increasing diversity, facilitating change, preparing students for future careers and what is needed in graduate education. This workshop will focus on how to effectively use this report to implement the recommendations and discuss best practices and strategies used by participating heads and chairs over the last three years.

Workshop Program »

Target Audience

This workshop is designed for heads/chairs, undergraduate and graduate program directors and faculty interested in implementing change within undergraduate and graduate geoscience programs. Participants in the 2016 and2019 Summits for Heads and Chairs are encouraged to attend as well so that they can discuss ongoing issues, roadblocks and successes with others who have been tackling the same types of curricular reform and can help those just starting to develop on action plans.


The goal of the workshop is to help foster change in undergraduate and graduate geoscience programs and provide a roadmap for using the wealth of information within the Vision and Change report. We will survey the participants in advance of the workshop to discover the specific topics they are most interested in discussing. Specific discussion goals include:

  • Broad geoscience concepts, skills and competencies needed by undergraduate geoscience majors and the skills and competencies needed for M.S. and Ph.D. students in Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences. We will discuss the progression from undergraduate to graduate education and lifelong learning, including advice for helping students prepare for future careers.
  • Effective strategies for increasing student learning, reforming curriculum & assessment methods/resources.
  • Best practices for recruiting, retaining, and promoting success of undergraduate students with emphasis on students underrepresented in the geosciences, including how to effectively use introductory and nonmajor courses.
  • Effective strategies for implementing change in the academic community.


The workshop has 3 half day sessions, each of which will start with an introduction of the days' topic, followed by small group breakout sessions and then entire group reporting and discussion.  The first three goals listed above will be the general topic for each of the three days, in that order, with an emphasis in each effective strategies for implementing change, the fourth goal.  We will use the results of the preliminary survey to designate specific breakout sessions under each goal, with the potential for groups to dive deeper into different aspects of the topic.

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