2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


LOUDIN, Michael G., Manager, Global Geoscience Recruiting & Development, ExxonMobil Exploration Co, 233 Benmar Dr, Houston, TX 77060 and STEWART, Norman R., Global Geoscience Recruiting Supervisor, ExxonMobil Exploration Co, 233 Benmar, Houston, TX 77060, bob.stewart@exxonmobil.com

All employers of Geoscientists are ultimate stakeholders in the effectiveness of their academic preparation, and we would like to share one perspective on Geoscience curricula. Our perspective is driven by some key expectations about the future, regarding where we will find and produce resources, and how Geoscience will provide value in that endeavor.

We expect that the current trend of specialization in the sciences will continue, which will pose a significant challenge to employers. They will struggle to balance the need for their Geoscientists to keep up with developments in areas like Sedimentology, Structural Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, and various Engineering disciplines, with the need for their Geoscientists to stay true to the fundamentally integrative nature of Geology. A strategy we think will be successful in dealing with this dilemma is to promote intensive, cross-disciplinary collaboration in pursuit of integrated technical and business models. However, success of this strategy depends on the willingness and ability of employees to actively cooperate to achieve excellence. We think curricula need to be sufficiently broad for future employees to learn the vocabulary and concepts necessary to enable such collaboration. We also encourage the practice of collaboration as part of the university experience, complete with instruction in the skills necessary for successful teamwork.

We also expect that the current trend of increased industry reliance on energy resources outside of North America and Europe will continue. This will put an even greater premium on English language skills on the one hand, and on cultural skills on the other. Fluency in English is normally prerequisite for excellence in both academic and business settings. However, many overseas students who come to U.S. universities are not proficient in English, and many American students themselves come from High School with significant deficiencies. We think that a high level of proficiency in English should be emphasized in department curricula. As we increasingly do business in unfamiliar cultures, awareness of different behavioral norms becomes vital. Emphasis on humanities requirements in curricula helps students learn that the world is a big place and that American culture has many counterparts.