Applied Geoscience Education: Engaging with Society for Sustainability

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8:30am-11:30am E Building 217


Jeffrey Greenberg, Wheaton College (IL)
Ellen Metzger, San Jose State University
Gregory Wessel, Geology in the Public Interest (nonprofit)
Ted Smith, Baker College Center for Graduate Studies

Workshop participants will discuss and share their current approaches to applied geosciences education, explore materials from the SERC InTeGrate Project and other sources, and develop an action plan for including student-centered explorations of the geoscience-society interface in their instruction. Participants will also learn about organizations, including the Global Network for Geoscience and Society, that seek to strengthen cooperation and catalyze actions to support the global geoscience community in working with others around the world to foster resilience and sustainability.


The geosciences play a critical and unique role in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, yet students are often unaware of how their skills and knowledge of the Earth System can help to solve sustainability challenges related to climate change, natural resources, and natural hazards. In this three-day workshop, participants will participate in a forum for exploring and sharing best practices for broadening applied geoscience education to include interdisciplinary investigations of geoscience-society connections.

Building on"An interactive walk into the future of applied geosciences education," a roundtable at the 2022 Earth Educators' Rendezvous, six questions regarding the importance of teaching applied geoscience at the univer­sity level will guide workshop activities:

  • Why is it important to incorporate an applied approach into teaching geoscience?
  • What are the most relevant geoscience challenges that appeal to current students?
  • What are the most important skills we can teach to prepare students for careers?
  • What are the best practices for teaching applied geoscience?
  • What resources are the most important and what organizations can supply those resources to help facilitate an applied approach to teaching?
  • What are the biggest barriers to instituting applied geoscience in our teaching and in engaging with society?

Workshop Program »

Target Audience

The audience that will directly benefit from this workshop includes professors and graduate students and anyone else seeking instructional resources and strategies for connecting geoscience learning with societal needs to facilitate community engaged projects.


The goals of this workshop are to:

  • Highlight the importance of teaching applied geoscience to address local socio-environmental priorities that are important to K-16 students
  • Explore best practices in applied geoscience education
  • Examine case studies of community-based geoscience learning
  • Identify and evaluate resources for teaching applied geoscience
  • Develop individual plans for enhancing applied geoscience instruction


Each day will begin with an introduction and guiding questions, followed by collaborative activities and discussion.  Workshop activities will include:

  • Brief interactive presentations related to workshop goals
  • Group brainstorming activities
  • Case study explorations
  • Individual reflection and application of workshop content

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