2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM

Cultivating the Next Generation Geoscience Workforce: The View from NSF

KARSTEN, Jill and PATINO, Lina C., Directorate for Geosciences, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22230, jkarsten@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation considers that its mandate "To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense (NSF Act of 1950)" rests on facilitating the development of the workforce needed to meet its mission. Thus, NSF supports a wide range of activities that include building a strong research based knowledge on teaching, learning and evaluation in science and mathematics; developing methods to effectively bridge critical junctures in STEM education pathways; preparing a diverse, globally engaged workforce; building capacity; and, integrating research with education.

The commitment to workforce development in the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) at NSF extends beyond the familiar tradition of support for the training of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to embrace geoscience education reform at the undergraduate and pre-college levels, as well as active outreach to the public. GEO supports innovative projects that both strengthen the quality of, and access to, geoscience education at all grade levels and facilitate the participation of different audiences in scientific endeavors. Specific focus areas include: creating an effective and knowledgeable geoscience K-12 teacher workforce; providing meaningful research experiences for K-12 and undergraduate students; building capacity in the geosciences at Minority Serving Institutions; conducting research on effective geoscience education practices; preparing a diverse and capable workforce that can pursue the wide variety of geoscience career paths; and, increasing opportunities for learning about the geosciences and NSF supported research in these fields. The next generation geoscience workforce will need the skills to be able to operate in an increasingly interdisciplinary, international, and technologically sophisticated environment. To nurture and sustain a healthy workforce, multiple approaches must be taken. Programs that support individual participation in education and research efforts are as important as those that support partnerships among several institutions.