Workshop Overview

Join us for a workshop focused on the preparation of students in two-year colleges (2YCs) for the geotechnical workforce and for transfer to four-year programs as geoscience majors. This workshop will bring together geoscience faculty and administrators from two-year colleges and four-year colleges and universities with representatives from professional organizations and government agencies. Participants will learn about successful practices in 2YC college-transfer and geotechnical workforce programs, research and internship programs for 2YC geoscience students, and geoscience careers and career resources.

The workshop will examine strategies for

  • increasing the number and diversity of geoscience graduates
  • improving the quality and relevance of geoscience career resources and advising
  • increasing geoscience research and internship opportunities for 2YC students
  • incorporating career skills and information into introductory geoscience courses
  • bridging gaps between college-transfer and workforce programs within 2YCs, between two-year and four-year geoscience programs, and between academia and employers

From this discussion, participants will develop recommendations for two-year and four-year colleges and universities, professional organizations, employers, and funding agencies to improve the preparation of 2YC students for geoscience degrees and careers. Participants will also add teaching and advising materials related to these topics to an online collection of resources.

The workshop will include plenary talks, panelist presentations, small and large group discussions, individual presentations or posters, planning/writing sessions, and time for networking and collaboration.


The goals of this workshop are to:

  • Identify and document the successes and challenges of programs, activities, and resources that support career preparation of 2YC students for the geosciences
  • Develop a vision for programs, resources, and materials to improve the preparation of 2YC students for geosciences careers and degrees
  • Explore strategies and make recommendations to increase the number and diversity of geoscience professionals coming from two-year colleges
  • Establish a network of people who will promote and support activities that prepare 2YC students as geotechnicians and geoscience majors


The workshop will begin on Wednesday afternoon, July 18, at 5:00 pm and end at 11:30 am on Saturday, July 21. Participants must attend all sessions.


All workshop participants are expected to:

  • Submit an essay - In advance of the workshop, submit a one-to-two page narrative essay that describes work that the participant has done in preparing students for careers, college transfer or geotechnical workforce development, internships or early research experiences, or on another topic within the context of the workshop. These essays will be become part of our online collection of resources.
  • Contribute an activity or resource - Submit a teaching or research activity preparing students for geoscience careers, or an important resource for geoscience career advising/development. This contribution will be added to the web-based collection of resources.
  • Read workshop materials – Prepare for workshop discussions by reading all essays and other online materials provided by workshop leaders and participants.
  • Participate fully in the entire workshop
  • Disseminate workshop results - At the end of the workshop, participants will choose one or more follow-on activities to disseminate information on their campus, in their region or state, or on the national level.

Application Process and Selection Criteria

The workshop is designed for 30 college faculty and administrators. We will also invite representatives from professional organizations and geoscience employers to attend the workshop. Participants will be selected from the applicant pool to establish a group with expertise and experience in geotechnical workforce development, career advising and career resources, professional development of students, and college-transfer programs. We seek a diverse group of participants, programs and activities, and institution types. Preference will be given to applicants who hold faculty or administrative positions at colleges and universities. We are also looking for applicants with experience or expertise in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs that prepare 2YC students for geoscience careers, or who have interest in strengthening or initiating these programs.

The application deadline is March 19, 2012 and applicants will be notified of the acceptance decision by the end of March. Accepted applicants will then need to complete a registration form to confirm their attendance, answer additional questions about their program, and provide information about their travel arrangements.


The operational costs of the workshop as well as room, board, and workshop materials are covered by grants from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE-1122592, 1122640, 1122660, and 1122737). These grants will cover participant travel expenses and there is no charge for faculty to attend the workshop. Accepted participants are expected to contribute materials to a web-based collection of resources, and help disseminate information from the workshop.


The workshop will be held at the University of Washington-Tacoma. Participants will be housed in a hotel nearby and will eat breakfast in the hotel and meals on campus and in town. Additional information is available about workshop logistics.

For More Information

Contact Heather Macdonald (rhmacd at