Department Development Workshop:
Professionalism and Geoethics--Creating a Departmental "Climate" Where Everyone Can Succeed
Facilitator: David Mogk, Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University
- introduce the topics of geoethics, principles of professionalism, codes of ethics of professional societies (AGU, AGI, GSA), and provide a template for ethical decision making;
- promote awareness of factors that contribute to workplace "climate" (e.g., civility, microaggressions, implicit bias, empowering bystanders);
- address issues of (un)professional behaviors, especially sexual harassment/assault and bullying in the workplace (the scope of the problem and strategies to prevent or mitigate situations before they do real harm);
- explore topics of professionalism that will contribute to student success in preparation for the workforce;
- suggest personal and institutional strategies that can be used by faculty to ensure that every one can succeed in your department.
Goals of the Workshop
- Promote awareness of behaviors and actions that impact department/workplace "climate"
- For faculty:
- develop action plans that will foster a "departmental climate" that is safe, inclusive and welcoming for ALL people (students, staff, faculty);
- develop policies and procedures to prevent, mitigate, or act when ethical issues arise;
- create a culture such that everyone can be successful;
- consider "where", "how", and by "whom" professionalism will be taught in your curriculum.
- For students:
- develop a personal action plan for your own professional development;
- become aware of standards and expectations for joining the geoscience profession, know where to find information about professional or ethical challenges and strategie, and practice ethical decision-making; and,
- know how to prepare for, hopefully prevent, and mitigate situations when ethical or professional challenges arise.
The workshop program includes short presentations to introduce ideas and concepts, whole or small group discussions, and reviews of case studies.
The major topics that will be covered in this workshop are introduced in the essay: Geoethics and Professionalism: the Responsible Conduct of Scientists (Acrobat (PDF) 316kB Feb18 18)--David W. Mogk, 2017, ANNALS OF GEOPHYSICS, 60, FAST TRACK 7, 2017; DOI: 10.4401/AG-7584. A comprehensive website has been developed to support this workshop Geoethics and Professionalism with extensive collections of topical issues, references, related resources, and case studies. Feel free to browse this website to explore topics of interest to you in greater detail.
Session 1: Principles of Professionalism (~40 minutes)
Definition and scope of geoethics. Reflections on: power, trust, respect, responsibility, fairness, justice, integrity. Translation of these principles into codes of conduct of professional societies.
Download the Powerpoint Geoethics and Professionalism: Introduction and Principles of Professionalism (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 19.2MB Feb28 18)
- Activity 1: Personal reflection and small group discussion: Review the Codes of Conduct of geoscience professional societies and reflect on how these apply to your personal and professional lives. What topics resonate and are particularly important to you? What topics may be new to you or may need further attention in your experience?
- Geological Society of America Code of Conduct, or download a print copy of GSA and AGI Code of Conduct (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 19kB Feb19 18)
- AGI Guidelines for Ethical Professional Conduct
- American Geophysical Union Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics ( This site may be offline. ) policy; or download the pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 1.1MB Feb19 18)
- IAPG Capetown Statement on Geoethics or download the pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 606kB Feb19 18)
Session 2: Behaviors that Impact Department/Workplace "Climate" (~40 minutes)
Recognition of factors related to civility in the workplace, microaggressions, implicit bias, and strategies to address these issues by empowering bystanders. A practical "toolkit" to guide individuals to Ethical Decision-Making.
Download the Powerpoint Professionalism and Geoethics: Behaviors that Impact Department Climate (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 7.1MB Feb28 18)
- Review the Confronting Prejudiced Responses (CPR) Model --by Stephanie Goodman, Director for Faculty Development and Leadership, Wright State University.
- Activity 2: Implicit Bias Worksheet and Discussion; download the file (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 26kB Feb19 18): recognizing implicit bias in the first instance, what could/should have been done? Refer also to the 5 Ds of Bystander Intervention (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 16kB Feb19 18)--developed by Blair Schneider, University of Kansas and Mary Anne Holmes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2017 AGU Heads and Chairs workshop.
Session 3: Sexual Harassment/Assault and Bullying (~40 minutes)
Scope of the problem. Impacts (personal, departmental, professional). Response of professional societies and institutions. Case studies in the news. Privacy and confidentiality. Policies and procedures. Have a plan in place.
Download the Powerpoint Professionalism and Geoethics; Sexual Harassment and Bullying (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 16.9MB Feb28 18)
- Readings for this session
- Sexual Harassment in the Sciences: A Call to Geoscience Faculty and Researchers to Respond (Acrobat (PDF) 65kB Feb19 18)--K. St. John, E. Riggs, D. Mogk, 2016, Jour of Geoscience Eduation, vol 64, p 255-257.
- Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault--Clancy KBH, Nelson RG, Rutherford JN, Hinde K (2014) Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault. PLoS ONE 9(7): e102172. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102172
- Recognizing Sexual Harassment--Bystanders Information (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 138kB Feb19 18)--developed for the 2017 AGU Heads and Chairs workshop
- Activity 3: Case Study for Graduate Students (small group discussion and report out)
- A Student's Experience of Sexual Harassment from a Teaching Assistant--Developed by Caroline Whitbeck for the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science ; or download the pdf (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 125kB Feb19 18)
- Activity 3: Case Study Scenarios for Faculty (small group discussion and report out)
- Short scenarios on sexual harassment in different settings (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 133kB Feb19 18)-- contributed by Erika Marin-Spiotta from NSF ADVANCE and Linda Gundersen (presented at the 2016 AGU Integrity in Science workshop).
Session 4: Professional Relations Built on Trust, Respect Responsibility (~40 minutes)
Responsible conduct of research (where is this covered in the curriculum or elsewhere in the department?). Mentoring, asking for/writing letters of recommendation, writing reviews (journal, proposal, performance), collaborations, publication (authorship, credit), data policies, lab/field/workplace safety, appropriate behavior at meetings, conflict of interest. Professional relations in service to society: contractor-client, advisor for public policy, serving as expert witness.
Download the Powerpoint on Professionalism and Geoethics: Professional Relations Built on Trust (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.8MB Feb28 18)
- Reading for this session
- Dutt, K., Pfaff, D. L., Bernstein, A. F., Dillard, J. S., and Block, C. J. 2016. Gender differences in recommendation letters for postdoctoral fellowships in geoscience . Nature Geoscience, (accessed 12 October 2016); download the pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 441kB Feb19 18).
- Avoiding Gender Bias in Writing Letters of Recommendation from Arizona State University.
- Activity 4: Case Studies (small group discussion and report out)
- Challenge 1: Lessons from the Trial of the L-Aquila Seven (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 17kB Feb19 18)
- Challenge 2: Committee Conflict of Interest? (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 17kB Feb19 18)
- Challenge 3: Who's Responsibility? (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 17kB Feb19 18)
- Challenge 4: Intellectual Property, Plagiarism and Fabrication (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 17kB Feb19 18)
Session 5A: For Students--Geoethics and Professionalism Training to Prepare for the Workforce (~40 minutes)
Download the Powerpoint for Professionalism and Geoethics: Personal Action Plan for Students (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 617kB Feb28 18)
What do employers tell us about expectations about professional character and personal ethics? Working with your advisor/committee: mentoring, clear expectations about work schedules, authoring, access to data.... Have you had (formal or informal) instruction in the topics covering professionalism that we've covered today? What topics would you like to learn more about?
Activity 5A: Develop a personal plan: (personal reflections, small group discussions, report out)
- Based on topics presented in this workshop, and from your own personal experience, reflect on those aspects of Professionalism where you are particularly well-prepared.
- What aspects of Professionalism need to be reinforced to ensure your success as a working geoscientist?
- Where/how can you make a difference? What do you need to know? What do you need to do?
- How can the department best help you meet your goals?
Session 5B: For Faculty--Strategies for Building a Safe, Welcoming, Inclusive Department (~40 minutes)
Download the Powerpoint Geoethics and Professionalism: For Faculty Develop a Departmental Plan (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 705kB Feb28 18)
Reforming Challenged Departments: The Faculty Role--C.K. Gunsalus, N. C.Burules and R. A. Easter, posted on Inside Higher Education June 26, 2018. Includes a list of major warning signs for departments.
What is your vision for the work environment of your department. Some topics to consider:
- Where, when and by whom is professionalism taught in formal courses, research labs, departmental policy, and in informal gatherings?
- Consider conducting a departmental climate survey for faculty, staff and students.
- Commit to responsible conduct of teaching using evidence-based instructional methods (active learning) and assessments.
- Writing letters of recommendation; journal and grant reviews; promotion and performance reviews. Respectful and helpful.
- Commit to broadening participation and departmental diversity: What can be done to attract and enable success of a) a diverse student population; b) new diverse faculty.
- Diversity and Inclusion--Put it in the Syllabus!--This posting offers a tangible strategy for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) faculty who want to address diversity and inclusion. It is by Prof. Monica Linden (Neuroscience, Brown University) and Mary Wright, Ph.D. (Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, Brown University). See also Sheridan's newsletter. Â© 2017 Brown University. Reprinted with Permission.From Tomorrow's Professor, message number 1625.
- Review academic advising and mentoring policies and plans. Are these best serving your students, working towards their success?
- Responsibilities in supervising student research. (See the On the Cutting Edge modules on Collaborating with Students and Recruiting/Mentoring Undergraduate Research in the Geosciences).
- Insist on civility in department functions
- See Halting Academic Incivility (That's the Nice Word For it)--Patrick M. Scanlon, Chronicle of Higher Education, posted March 13, 2016. Personal and Workgroup Incivility: Impact on Work and Health Outcomes--Sandy Lim, ilia M. Cortina, Vicki J. Magley, Jour. of Applied Psychology, 2008, #1, p. 95-107; "...finding that satisfaction with work and supervisors, as well as mental health, partially mediated effects of personal incivility on turnover intentions and physical health; this process did not vary by gender....showing negative effects of workgroup incivility that emerged over and above the impact of personal incivility".
- See Resources for a Respectful Workplace and Examples of Policies for a Respectful Workplace- University of Connecticut
- Consider making an affirmative statement about inclusiveness in your department role/scope/mission/vision statements and on your department webpage. Here are some examples:
- Department of Geosciences, Boise State University ID USA statement of departmental values;
- Department of Geosciences, Colorado State University has developed a departmental values statement to "...represent our departmental culture, guide us as we interact as professional colleagues, influence how we make decisions, and frames a vision for our future"; and
- Department of Geosciences, Baylor University affirms that "Members of the Baylor Geosciences Department, as part of the international geoscience community, are expected to abide by the AGU Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy" ( This site may be offline. ) .
- Virginia Tech Department of Geosciences has developed this value statement:
- We strive to:
Act with integrity in research, teaching and service;
Mentor our students for current and future success;
Treat our stakeholders and each other with collegiality and mutual respect;
Create an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming environment for all; and
Embody Ut Prosim ("That I May Serve") through effective outreach and service.
- Ethical Leadership: It starts from the top.
- Have policies and procedures in place, be proactive in anticipating issues, know how you'll respond when matters arise. Take a look at: Be Prepared--a blog by David Mogk posted on Earth and Mind--Reflections on Thinking and Learning Abut Earth with reflections on how to prepare for, and hopefully prevent, situations that impact the quality of personal and departmental quality of life.
"Be excellent to each other!" from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (with apologies to So-Crates).
Activity 5B Develop a Departmental Action Plan:(personal reflections, small group discussions, report out)
A mini SWOT Analysis based on the NAGT Building Strong Geoscience Departments program (Small group discussions and report outs)
- What are your highest priority for creating a safe, inclusive and welcoming department?
- What are the current strengths of your department in this area?
- What areas need further attention?
- Consider writing a statement of professional values, vision, mission for your department strategic plan and website.
- What concrete actions can be taken today, before the end of the semester, in the coming year?
- Consider using the resources and joining the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) .
End of Workshop Reflections (~15 minutes)
- Review personal and departmental action plans
- Feedback on what was useful, what was not, what other information or topics you'd like to see developed.
PLEASE COMPLETE THE END OF WORKSHOP EVALUATION. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated. Entries are anonymous and the results will be aggregated.
Volumes on Geoethics--To Support Teaching and Learning in Your Curriculum
- Geoethics and geological culture. Reflections from the Geoitalia Conference 2011 -â€“Annals of Geophysics Vol 55 #3, 2012, Edited by Silvia Peppoloni and Giuseppe Di Capua.
Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G. (Eds.). Geoethics: the Role and Responsibility of Geoscientists. Geological Society, London, Special Publications,(2015),419, .
Wyss M. and; Peppoloni S.(Eds). Geoethics: Ethical Challenges and Case Studies in Earth Sciences.450 p. Elsevier (2014).
Lollino G.,Arattano M.,Giardino M., Oliveira R., Peppoloni S. (Eds.) Engineering Geology for Society and Territory - Volume 7: Education, Professional Ethics and Public Recognition of Engineering Geology. XVII, 274 p. 103 illus., 86 illus. in color., Springer (2014).
- Gundersen, L.C. (editor), 2017, Scientific Integrity and Ethics in Geosciences, Wiley/AGU, 344 pp.
- Geoethics at the Heart of All Geoscience--Edited by Silvia Peppoloni, Giuseppe Di Capua, Peter T. Bobrowsky, Vincent S. Cronin, Annals of Geophysics Vol 60 Fast Track 7 (2017)