2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 18
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


MACDONALD, R. Heather, Department of Geology, College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, DUNBAR, Robyn Wright, Center for Teaching and Learning, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-3087 and TEWKSBURY, Barbara, Dept. of Geosciences, Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Rd, Clinton, NY 13323, rhmacd@wm.edu

The professional development program, On the Cutting Edge, provides resources for geoscience graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early career faculty to help them make a quick start on the next career stage. Given the existing preparation support for research in graduate education, our annual workshops focus on moving that research effort forward into new academic settings, effective teaching and learning, and career management. Goals of the workshop for graduate students and post-docs are to prepare participants to become more effective teachers, more aware of the realities of academic jobs, and stronger candidates for academic positions. Participants are particularly interested in the application process, especially understanding how search committees work and the different realities of balancing teaching, research, and personal life in a range of academic institutions. Goals of the early career faculty workshop are for participants to learn various active learning strategies, ways to integrate research into geoscience courses, strategies for developing and maintaining an active research program (including how to advise/supervise research students), and ideas for balancing competing time demands. Participants are particularly interested in strategies for advising research students, teaching effectively and efficiently, balancing teaching, research, service, and personal life, and tenure. Each workshop provides opportunities for discussions about a wide range of career management issues (e.g., dual-career couples, families and careers, women in academia, diversity issues, negotiation strategies). The leadership team for each workshop represents, by design, a range of academic career paths and institutions. Participants complete a goal setting/action plan activity and leave with an awareness of the resources necessary to sustain progress toward achieving that plan. Participants appreciate the practical ideas, the support network that develops, and the opportunity to interact with--and learn from--a diverse leadership team. Workshops such as these fill a critical void in discipline-based academic career preparation. For the future, we must consider how to sustain these efforts beyond the limits of grant funds and how to encourage similar efforts at the institution-level.