Focus Group 1: Exploring Employer-Academic Collaborations to Broaden Participation in the Geoscience Workforce

June 24-26, 2015

This meeting is focused on regional geoscience employers to help identify the current and desired state of interactions between employers, academia, and other stakeholder groups. We will focus on how individual employers and regional associations representing the geoscience workforce currently interact with academic programs (focused in particular on 2YCs and MSIs) to shape and inform instruction and workforce preparation. We will next explore the desired state of these interactions, and finally identify what resources, incentives, support, and programs are needed to improve collaboration between employers and academia. The final product of this focus group will be a systems model showing how academia, employers, and other stakeholder groups (namely, researchers and resource providers) can best collaborate to support geoscience instruction at 2YCs and MSIs.

Topics to be Addressed

1. Current State

  • What knowledge, skills, and competencies are needed for graduates to succeed in the geoscience workforce?
  • How do employers currently interact with academia in general to shape career preparation (especially soft skills and geologic habits of mind)?
  • How do employers currently interface with other stakeholder groups (instructors, administrators, resource providers, geoscience education researchers) to communicate employment trends, needs, and opportunities?

2. Desired State

  • How would employers like to interact with MSI/2YCs to shape career preparation?
  • How would employers like to interface with other stakeholder groups to communicate employment trends, needs, and opportunities?

3. Closing the Gap - Models of Employer-Academic Collaborations

  • How might employers collaborate directly with MSI/2YCs to support students' career development?
  • What are potential barriers/challenges to collaborative activties, and how can these be overcome?
  • What would be needed to sustain new programs, curricula, and resources once developed?
  • What incentives exist (or could exist) to foster collaborations between industry/workforce and 2YCs/MSIs?

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

  • What is the most feasible model (or models) for how employers can sustainably support geoscience instruction at MSIs/2YCs?
  • What next steps are needed to put this model (or models) into practice?