2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 58
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


ORMAND, Carol J., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057, MANDUCA, Cathryn, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College St, Northfield, MN 55057, MACDONALD, R. Heather, Department of Geology, College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, FEISS, P. Geoffrey, Office of the Provost, College of William and Mary, The Brafferton, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23185-8795 and BRALOWER, Timothy, Dept. of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State Univ, State College, PA 16802, cormand@geology.wisc.edu

As the field of geoscience evolves to meet the changing needs of society, successful geoscience programs are adapting to connect to these needs. To aid departments interested in evaluating their own goals and in seeing how other departments accomplish similar goals, we are building several online collections of resources within the Building Strong Geoscience Departments website. Common trends we see are shifts in focus toward multidisciplinarity, toward collaboration, toward applications of the geosciences to societal issues, and toward a systems approach to Earth Science. There is also a growing emphasis on students' research, communication, and quantitative analysis skills, and on the ability to use increasingly complex technology and the resulting data sets. Not coincidentally, these are the skills that employers and recent geoscience hires describe as essential to success in the workforce.

Geoscience curricula and programs are profiled on the Building Strong Geoscience Departments website (http://serc.carleton.edu/departments/dep-activities/curricula-future.html). Each profile describes the program, its goals, and its institutional context. For curricula, the profile also includes an illustration of courses and their sequencing. Individual geoscience courses are also profiled (http://serc.carleton.edu/departments/dep-activities/courses-future.html). Each of these profiles describes the context for the course (for what level of student it is taught, in what department, for how many students, whether it is a required or an elective course), the course content, its goals and methods of assessment. Finally, we have a series of interviews of geoscience employers and recent entry-level employees (http://serc.carleton.edu/departments/dep-activities/employment.html). Each of the interviewees describes the knowledge, skills and abilities they see as essential to success in their workplace.

Taken collectively, these profiles and interviews illustrate changes taking place in the landscape of geoscience careers and in the education preparing students for those careers. These online collections are a resource for departments interested in staying relevant in the context of these changes. We are actively building these collections and welcome suggestions for additions.