Improving the Quantitative Training of Earth Science Graduate Students

Carleton College Hill Lounge, February 21-22, 2006

Meeting Agenda

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006

Meeting goals and introductions

What are our experiences, good and bad, with the quantitative preparation of graduate students? (whole group) Each participant will have approximately 5 minutes to speak in a round this table session.

What are your experiences with:

  • finding adequately prepared students;
  • the challenges students who are interested in quantitative research methods face when starting in graduate school;
  • graduate student vs. faculty expectations for quantitative preparation and further quantitative training; and,
  • experiences of your undergraduates in obtaining placement in quantitative programs.

Our goal is to ascertain the lay of the land with respect to quantitative preparation of undergraduates for graduate school:

  • are we doing well?
  • do we need to do better?
  • what kinds of challenges are we facing?

Is there a problem with quantitative preparation? (whole group) The goal of this session is to create a description of the current state of quantitative preparation of undergraduate geoscience students that can be shared beyond the workshop.

We will begin this discussion with a list of the main points garnered from the round the table session. These will form the starting point for a group discussion identifying the places where we are succeeding and places where there are challenges in quantitative preparation of undergraduate majors for graduate school (particularly PhDs).

Essential Quantitative Skills for Graduate Students (Small group)
Essential Quantitative Competencies (small group)

Beginning with lists of quantitative skills that have been compiled through previous work, each small group will be tasked with creating a list of 5-10 quantitative competencies that are essential to success in geoscience graduate programs. Each competency must be described in sufficient detail that an undergraduate or undergraduate faculty advisor could determine if a student has that competency. Each group will turn in their final document as a basis for the next session.

Review competency documents from small groups (whole group)

Group discussion to create a single competency document that is accepted by the whole group.

What does successful training look like? (whole group)

In this session we will share our impressions of what leads to students who have these competencies. What are the good examples from our experiences?

Reception in Alumni Guest House Library
Depart for Chapati in downtown Northfield for 7 p.m. dinner

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006

Reflections on the first day
Recommendations for Undergraduate Programs (whole group)

Drawing on our discussion from Tuesday's final session, we will draft a document that puts forward our thinking on the types of experiences that undergraduate students need in order to develop the quantitative competencies needed for success in graduate school.

Recommendations for supporting programs/resources (whole group)

Develop recommendations for the types of resources, professional development opportunities, or other experiences are needed to help faculty and/or departments strengthen undergraduate quantitative geoscience programs. Our workshop is funded through a grant for DLESE community services which contains funds for workshops and website development. Given this,

  • what specific recommendations do we have for this program?
  • what recommendations extend beyond this program?

Our recommendations should have a level of specificity that makes them actionable.

Finalize workshop documents (whole group)

During this time, the group will reflect on the documents that will be publicly disseminated make ensure that there is agreement on the spirit of these documents. We will also consider the next steps that arise from our recommendations that we should take as individuals or as a group.