Workshop Overview

June 10-13, 2014, Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana

Application Deadline - extended to March 1, 2014, 2014

Scientists must make ethical decisions in many aspects of their professional lives, yet to date, there have been few opportunities to formally teach about ethics and values in the Earth Science curriculum. This workshop will explore four dimensions of geoethics:

  • GeoEthics and self: what are the internal attributes of a geoscientist that establish the ethical values required to successfully prepare for and contribute to a career in the geosciences?
  • GeoEthics and the geoscience profession: what are the ethical standards expected of geoscientists if they are to contribute responsibly to the community of practice expected of the profession?
  • GeoEthics and society: what are the responsibilities of geoscientists to effectively and responsibly communicate the results of geoscience research to inform society about issues ranging from geohazards to natural resource utilization in order to protect the health, safety, and economic security of humanity?
  • GeoEthics and Earth: what are the responsibilities of geoscientists to provide good stewardship of Earth based on their knowledge of Earthís composition, architecture, history, dynamic processes, and complex systems?

This workshop will bring together educators from a wide variety of institutional settings and backgrounds with the common goal of sharing ideas about strategies and methods to introduce GeoEthics into geoscience courses across the curriculum.

Workshop Application And Selection

Applicants for this workshop must hold a faculty position at a two- or four-year college or university and have experience in teaching some aspect of GeoEthics in their regularly scheduled classes. The workshop is limited to 35 participants, and the final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group of experienced faculty, representing a wide range of experiences, educational environments, and specialties. The workshop application deadline has been extended to March 1, 2014. Notification of acceptance to the workshop will be made within two weeks of the deadline, and participants will then confirm their acceptance via an online registration form.

Workshop Goals

As a part of this workshop, participants will:

  • Examine where and how GeoEthics topics can be taught in the geoscience curriculum from introductory courses for non-majors to modules embedded in "core" geoscience courses for majors or dedicated courses in GeoEthics. We will discuss and develop ideas for maximizing the impact of GeoEthics topics to ultimately improve undergraduate students' experience with and knowledge of geoscience.
  • Share "what works" in teaching GeoEthics. We will identify innovative teaching methods, approaches, and activities for teaching GeoEthics and share ideas on how to teach in various contexts.
  • Develop the framework of a GeoEthics curriculum for broad use in geoscience instruction.
  • Contribute to collections of online instructional resources to support teaching GeoEthics (e.g. journal articles, reports, books, web resources).
  • Develop a set of case studies focused on a variety of ethical issues confronting geoscience and geoscientists. These resources and activities will be available to the community to teach dedicated courses on GeoEthics, or used as modules that can be introduced into geoscience courses across the curriculum.
  • Consider the ways that GeoEthics courses and topical materials can contribute to public science literacy, particularly how to make personal and societal decisions about the range of issues facing humanity and to live responsibly and sustainably on this planet.
  • Identify topics of high interest and need for future development as teaching modules and courses through the related InTeGrate project, through funding from the National Science Foundation or other local or national curricular initiatives.

Dates: June 10-13, 2014

Participants must arrive in Bozeman in time for the first workshop event at 5 pm on Tuesday, June 10 for the workshop reception, opening dinner and evening session. (Arrive earlier if you plan to attend the optional field trips.) The workshop will continue through the morning of Friday, June 13. Departures from the Bozeman airport (Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport, BZN) can be arranged for Friday afternoon/evening or Saturday morning. Note: pre- and/or post-workshop field trips are planned, so leave a day or two on either side of the workshop open if you want to join these trips. Dates and details will be announced well in advance of the workshop, but we expect at least one trip will be to Yellowstone National Park).


By applying to the workshop, participants agree to do the following if accepted:

  • Submit a case study or model research project prior to attending the workshop. A template will be provided for participants to enter the essential information about their student research projects. These research projects will be showcased at the workshop so they must be completed beforehand.
  • Contribute to Peer Review. These activities will be reviewed prior to attending the workshop (April through June), applying standardized review criteria to teaching activities in the On the Cutting Edge activity collection.
  • Prepare in advance for workshop discussions via readings, writings, discussion or other activities developed by workshop leaders. Contribute to the online collections of resources.
  • Participate fully in the entire workshop and attend all workshop sessions. Many participants will be invited to make presentations, showcase their case studies, or serve as discussion or working group leaders at the workshop.
  • Post-workshop: continue to network with workshop participants, share workshop resources with colleagues across the geosciences, and participate in follow-on activities such as making presentations at theme sessions at professional society meetings.

Venue, Lodging and Meals

The workshop will be held at Chico Hot Springs, Pray MT, which is about an hour's drive from Bozeman, MT. Chico Hot Springs is nestled in the scenic Paradise Valley, and is located just 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, in the foothills of the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountain range. The main lodge building was built in 1900 and newer rooms and conference facilities have been constructed recently. The resort features two pools fed by water from natural geothermal mineral springs. Trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding surround the resort. There will be some free time during the workshop to allow for swimming and exploring the surroundings. Bring a swimming suit! Chico Hot Springs is known for its excellent food service and casual, rustic atmosphere. A great setting for community building and networking!

Our National Science Foundation grant provides funding for most of the operational costs of this workshop: we will provide lodging at Chico Hot Springs for the nights of June 10-12, meals at the workshop, and surface transport (airport to/from Chico Hot Springs). (However, the NSF grant does not cover alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks will be available for purchase during mealtimes.) To be supported by these funds, a participant must be either a US citizen, a permanent resident, or in the employ of a US institution. If you don't meet these requirements and are interested in participating in this workshop at your own expense, please contact the workshop conveners.

Other Costs

Costs of the workshop not covered by the grant are outlined below.

Travel: Participants or their home institutions must cover costs of travel to and from the workshop. The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is served by these airlines: Delta, United, Alaska, Frontier, and Allegiant.

Optional field trips: There will be a separate fee for the pre- and post-workshop optional field trips. Details will be forthcoming, but will be on a cost-basis to cover transportation and meals. Additional nights lodging will be the responsibility of the participants.

Partnership Workshop

This workshop is offered in partnership with the On the Cutting Edge program for geoscience faculty professional development and the InTeGrate - Interdisciplinary Teaching of Geosciences for a Sustainable Future program. InTeGrate supports the teaching of geoscience in the context of societal issues both within geoscience courses and across the undergraduate curriculum. The goal is to develop a citizenry and workforce that can address environmental and resource issues facing our society. Collections of instructional resources, case studies, and review of teaching activities will be made available through the On the Cutting Edge program for use by faculty and students across the undergraduate geoscience curriculum.

Related Resources

Ethics Core project - National Center for Professional and Research and Ethics, University of Illinois. This is a very rich online collection of resources about teaching ethics. The GeoEthics workshop instructional materials will be made available to Ethics Core to extend the coverage of their topics to include the Earth Sciences.


This workshop is funded through the National Science Foundation Ethics Education in Science and Engineering (EESE) program, grant number NSF 11-1338741 This workshop is also co-sponsored by the On the Cutting Edge program for geoscience faculty development (NSF TUES Phase III), and the InTeGrate--Interdisciplinary Teaching of Geoscience for a Sustainable Future program (NSF-STEP).

Workshop Conveners and Staff

David Mogk, Montana State University
Sue Kieffer, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
John Geissman, University of Texas, Dallas
Daniel Vallero, Duke University
Shaun Taylor, Director of Course Development at
Michael Reidy, Montana State University

Monica Bruckner, Science Education Resource Center (SERC)

For More Information

Questions? Contact Dave Mogk (
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