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Site Guide: Departments
Jump down to: SERC Projects | Topical Pages from Building Strong Geoscience Departments | Broadening Access
Project PagesBuilding Strong Departments - Building Strong Departments is a project focused on helping departments adapt and prosper in a changing and challenging environment. Through workshops, the website, professional society meeting sessions, and publications, this project aims to stimulate discussions and disseminate community expertise on topics such as approaches to core content and curriculum, recruiting and retaining top faculty and students, program assessment, and maintaining the department as a valued institutional partner. This program is sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Geological Institute, the Geological Society of America, and the American Geophysical Union.
Preparing Teachers to Teach Earth Science - This site examines the role of geoscience departments and faculty in preparing preservice teachers and supporting practicing teachers who teach Earth science at all pre-college levels. Information is drawn from the participants and outcomes of the 2003 On the Cutting Edge workshop, Developing the Earth Science Teacher Workforce: The Role of Geoscience Departments and Introductory Courses.
Programs Preparing Students to Address Societal Issues - From the InTeGrate project, learn about programs that integrate geoscience with societal issues in an effort to better prepare the future workforce. Read advice for program design, explore examples of program descriptions contributed by faculty with degree programs or concentrations that bring together geoscience and sustainability at the undergraduate level, including information on the career trajectories of graduates, and read essays about their experiences with their program.
Topical Pages from Building Strong Departments
Curricula and Programs - Curricula and programs form the core of a department; developing and reviewing curricula and programs are some of the most important activities a department undertakes. While every department is unique, we can learn a lot from each other's successes, and from our colleagues in other STEM disciplines. Learn about curriculum design, opportunities for learning beyond the curriculum, and access STEM education references.
Defining Strong Departments - Many researchers have studied what makes a department "strong." Read about characteristics of strong and thriving geoscience departments, threats and opportunities at research universities, and learn from insights from other disciplines.
The Future of Geoscience - The fields of science are constantly changing, in response to societal needs and scientists' curiosity. These changes have profound implications for future workforce needs and therefore for today's curricula and programs. Learn more about a perspective on the next 25 years, projections for future research, profiles describing faculty who embody the trends we see, and references for interdisciplinary research and teaching.
Heads and Chairs - Learn successful strategies for leading your department through strategic planning processes, recruiting and retaining top-notch faculty, and advocating for your department in a world of finite resources.
Making a Case for Your Department - With tightening budgets, colleges and universities seek ways to cut spending, sometimes by cutting entire departments. This site offers a wealth of advice on steps you can take to make your department stronger and strategies for making a case for the necessity of your department to administrators. It includes case studies from geoscience departments who successfully defended their department and escaped the threat of elimination. While focused on geoscience departments, the information provided on these pages can be applied to other departments as well.
Professional Preparation - To prepare your students for their future careers, you'll want to know what those careers are most likely to be and what knowledge, skills, and attributes those careers will require. These pages present information on geoscience workforce trends along with strategies for preparing your students for their future careers.
Program Assessment and Review - This module explains how departments and programs can determine their strengths and weaknesses through development of an assessment plan. It offers resources on developing a plan, implementation, and accreditation of departments, including collections of assessment instruments and documents contributed by workshop participants from colleges and universities across the US.
Student Recruitment - Recruiting a critical mass of high quality students is essential to building a successful geoscience program. These pages present many tried-and-true strategies for recruiting high quality students, along with examples of how various departments have implemented those strategies.
InTeGrate: Increase the Diversity of your Graduates - Broadening the diversity of students learning about the Earth brings new perspectives and ways of knowing to issues of great societal importance. It also greatly enlarges the pool of potential future employees for all the professions that require Earth expertise.
National Institute for Faculty Equity - Minorities and women, minority women in particular, are underrepresented in academia, even more so in the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This site provides resources for underrepresented faculty on many topics including becoming tenured, making use of mentors, developing a research program, finding funding, and getting published, to name a few.
Summer Bridging Programs - Many institutions across the nation have developed bridge programs in order to address the challenges of underrepresented and underprepared students as they acclimate to a new campus and develop and acquire skills and knowledge for STEM success. These programs often include academic and career development as well as personal and social components. The examples on this page associated with the LSAMP IINspire Project illustrate how various programs serve particular needs at their host institutions.
Broadening Access to the Sciences - Mellon 23 - This site is a collection of materials to assist faculty members, administrators and institutions in improving success in STEM education with domestic students of color and women. Materials have been developed via a number of workshops which brought faculty and administrators together from across the AALAC schools to work on particular issues of interest to liberal arts colleges and broadening access to the sciences.
Carleton's Interdisciplinary Science and Math Initiative (CISMI) - This site describes the FOCUS and the Carleton Summer Science Fellows programs, which were created to support students under-represented in science and math. Faculty have also incorporated problem solving and group work into courses. The site includes resources for faculty, including Literature resources for broadening access to science and math and examples of courses using group work and problem solving.