What skills do bachelor-level students need and where are these practiced in my program?

Slides for Day 1

8:30 Introductions and icebreaker Anne

  • Themes from icebreaker discussions:
    • The skills we teach may not be framed as useful for jobs/careers
    • Lots of students end up in environmental consulting
    • We don't know a lot about what students are doing after graduation
    • Many teaching general education classes
    • Lack of faculty knowledge about what careers are possible (and students don't know either)
    • Mentoring is key to connecting students with careers
    • Important to connect with other programs/departments-- engineering, geography, GIS

9:00 Presentation: Overview of where Bachelors-level geoscientists are hired, the skills employers are looking for, and the extent to which we are helping students develop those skills - Karen

9:30 Discussion: How does this relate to your program?

  • How much are skills actually being covered in classes? Maybe more common implicitly and faculty don't report or recognize it.
  • Giving students skill sets is more important than giving students content.
  • How much are communications skills really emphasized in the courses?
  • Non-profit organizations are focused on skill sets, helping to translate to industry. Need to be more intentional/explicit in the classroom.
  • Summarize content and skills at the end of a course that helps you remember what you've done
  • What do students perceive as the skills they get in the course?
  • Course outcomes and objectives are critical for communicating to students.
  • Opportunities to work with Gen Ed coordinators to incorporate discipline-specific skills.
  • "Synthesis" is a high-level skill that develops over a degree program
  • Helping students see the skills listed in the job ads as a starting point for a conversation - it's OK if you can't check every box. There are demographic variables that impact how people approach job applications.

10:00 Break

10:15 SWOT analysis of your current program/course with respect to career preparation - Anne

10:45 Share in table groups and report out themes to whole group

  • Intro course/Gen Ed
  • Upper-level course
    • challenges of having course content that doesn't align with skills/knowledge student will need (e.g., regional differences)
  • Two-year college program
    • administration changes and changing priorities can be a challenge/opportunity
      • opportunity to drive/lead change or be an example for the rest of the institution?
    • collaborations with other institutions can be helpful for small programs-- more people to help get things done
  • Bachelors program (small and large)
    • research is the default, so students need more information about what career possibilities exist
    • need to be coordinated/ have conversations about what is happening across the curriculum
    • building partnerships between departments and career centers, and between departments and alumni; LinkedIn group for the department/program; course management site for the department for helping to advertise opportunities
  • Youth outreach/pre-college
    • can provide intensive/immersive opportunities and establish relationships
    • invite professionals to participate and talk about their careers
    • teacher turnover is high, so difficult to make lasting connections for recruiting
    • challenges related to COVID
    • opportunities for societal relevance

11:20 Roadcheck

11:30 Adjourn for the day


How can we help students become aware of their career options, recognize and reflect on the skills they are learning, and make plans to achieve their career goals?

Slides Day 2

8:30 Overview and results from roadcheck

8:45 Presentation: Models for embedding career development in the curriculum - Anne and Karen

9:10 Break

9:20 Presentation: More strategies

9:50 Plan for creating groups to develop resources

10:00 Break

Link to folder with strategies

10:10 Round 1: Developing a resource (description and implementation)

10:40 Round 2: Developing a resource (description and implementation)

11:00 Checking in

11:20 Roadcheck and Exit ticket (resource compilation)

11:30 Adjourn


What changes can I make in my program to help prepare students for the workforce?

Slides for day 3

8:30 Overview and results from roadcheck

8:45 Reflect back on SWOT and consider target for action planning and work:

  • Planning for your own course or program? 
  • Submit course or activity to Teach the Earth?
  • Continue working on strategy documents? 

9:10 Report out and make groups (if desired) for action planning

9:30 Break

9:40 Action planning and/or working on descriptions from Tuesday

(take a break as needed)

10:45 Report out: Share ideas, roadblocks, next steps, etc.

  • Want to stay involved? Add your name to this list.

11:15 Workshop evaluation

11:30 Adjourn



Shafer, G.W., Viskupic, K., and Egger, A.E. (2023) Critical workforce skills for bachelor-level geoscientists: An analysis of geoscience job advertisements. Geosphere; 19 (2): 628–644. doi:

Viskupic, K., Egger, A.E., McFadden, R.R., & Schmitz, M.D. (2021) Comparing desired workforce skills and reported teaching practices to model students' experiences in undergraduate geoscience programs, Journal of Geoscience Education, 69:1, 27-42, DOI: 10.1080/10899995.2020.1779568

Egger, A.E., Viskupic, K., and Iverson, E.R. (2019). Results of the National Geoscience Faculty Survey (2004-2016). (Acrobat (PDF) 6.1MB Dec12 19). National Association of Geoscience Teachers, Northfield, MN. 82 p.

Viskupic, K., Wenner, J.A., Harrigan, C.O., Shafer, G. (2022) A mixed methods study of the challenges for geoscience majors in identifying potential careers and the benefits of a career awareness and planning course, Journal of Geoscience Education, DOI: 10.1080/10899995.2022.2147383

Vision and Change in the Geosciences: The Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education, American Geosciences Institute

Walker, B., Bair, A. R., & Macdonald, R. H. (2022).Supporting students' career development: A call to action. In E. M. D. Baer, K. M.Layou, & R. H. Macdonald (Eds.),Catalyzing change: STEM faculty as change agents.New Directions for Community Colleges,199, pp. 93–106. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Shabram, P., 2020, Offering Career-Focused Courses to Increase Geoscience Participation: Lessons from Five Years of Experience, In the Trenches, V. 16, no 2.

Pawloski, J. and Shabram, P., 2019, Building engagement in STEM through career courses at two-year institutions: Journal of College ScienceTeaching, v. 49, no. 2, p. 9-15. DOI: 10.2505/4/jcst19_049_02_9

Career profiles

Career issue of EOS (August, 2022) (profiles start on p. 26)

Geoscience Resources on Opportunities in the Workforce (GROW): This is a resource for both students and departments for non-academic careers in the geosciences.

Career templates

Career compasses from the American Geosciences Institute (AGI)

Courses and other resources

Geocareers: An online asynchronous course from the EarthScope consortium that provides students with an overview of the geoscience profession

Geoscience Workforce Infographic from AGI