Initial Publication Date: May 15, 2015

Focus Group 1: Academic Administrators: Design, Implementation and Institutionalizing Geoscience Programs for a Diverse Geoscience Workforce

August 5-7, 2015

This meeting is focused on administrators to help identify potential sustainable opportunities for enhancing existing geoscience instruction and establishing new instruction at 2YCs and MSIs. Why are opportunities for instruction in the geosciences important for students at 2YCs and MSIs? What can the geosciences offer to enhance the institutional mission? How can the geosciences best prepare students from underrepresented groups for career opportunities? How can the geosciences serve the communities in which they are situated? What resources do these institutions need to establish and sustain a program of study in the geosciences?

Topics to be Addressed

1. The Current State--Opportunities to Engage the Geosciences

  • Next Generation Science Standards--students will be enrolling from K-12 with new exposure and understanding of the Earth system
  • The Atmosphere, Climate, Oceans, Earth Science, and Energy literacies: outline the "Big Ideas" that every citizen should know
  • Opportunities to address significant societal issues (e.g. resources, hazards, community planning) that impact your students and the communities you serve
  • Pedagogically, the Geosciences offer approaches and "ways of knowing" that complement and supplement other STEM approaches; e.g. observation of complex natural systems, interpretive and historical approaches; students deserve having access to numerous problem-solving strategies
  • Expanding workforce needs in the Geosciences in both traditional job sectors (exploration, environmental consulting) and in emerging workforce needs (e.g., Earth science education, as a foundation for environmental law, public policy and planning, business, etc.)

2. The Desired State--Enhancing Ways the Geosciences can Serve Your Institutional Mission

  • Preparing students for the future work force;
    • informing them of the possibilities
    • preparing students for success
  • Addressing societal issues (sustainability, public health, economic welfare)
  • Place-based learning--optimize learning about your geographic and geologic setting
  • Certification or accreditation programs that would be desirable (e.g. GIS certification)

3. Closing the Gap--Models for Geoscience Instruction in 2YCs and MSIs

  • A Focus on Your Students--What can be done to ensure success in light of:
    • The profile of your students (their demographics, where do they come from)
    • Their aspirations and motivations
    • Barriers to entering Geoscience and STEM disciplines
    • Mentoring, career counseling opportunities; Student Success programs?
    • Geoscience disciplinary content/concept mastery and skill development"Soft skills"--communication, quantitative, information, etc.
    • Professional or "Soft Skill" development; communication, quantitative, intrapersonal skills
  • How Can Earth Science Serve Your Institution and Community?
    • Service Learning Opportunities
    • Environmental Justice
    • Partnerships with local government, NGOs, corporations for internships, research opportunities
    • "Alternative" career paths that require knowledge of Geoscience
      • Earth Science Education, Environmental Law, Public Policy and Planning, Business (e.g. insurance industries,....)
  • What Can We Do to Facilitate Earth Science Education on Your Campus?
    • What are the opportunities and needs on your campus?
    • What do you need for faculty training and professional development?
    • What do you need in the way of facilities: classrooms/labs; teaching materials and lab resources; computers and computer-based learning resources; equipment (could be shared with other departments); field instruction opportunities?
    • How can we institutionalize and sustain Geoscience instruction on your campus?

4. Pulling it Together: A Model for Geoscience Instruction at MSIs/2YCs

  • "What Works" in Recruiting and Retaining Students in GEO and STEM disciplines
    • Programs on your campus that support student success
    • Pedagogies that are demonstrated to be effective
    • Beyond the Curriculum--Whole student approach
    • Advising, Mentoring, Internship opportunities
  • Ideal Pathway Towards Student Success
  • Resources That Are Available
    • InTeGrate, Cutting Edge, Strong Department Programs
    • Professional Societies, Geoscience facilities, Geoscience Industry