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Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM


ORMAND, Carol J.1, MANDUCA, Cathryn1, MACDONALD, R. Heather2, FEISS, P. Geoffrey3, RICHARDSON, Randall M.4, LEE, Sabra5 and IVERSON, Ellen6, (1)Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College St, Northfield, MN 55057, (2)Department of Geology, College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187, (3)GSAF, 3300 Penrose Place, Boulder, CO 80301, (4)Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0077, (5)Program Evaluation and Research Group, Endicott College, Beverly, MA 01915, (6)Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057,

During the 2009-2010 academic year, the Building Strong Geoscience Departments project conducted a program of visiting workshops bringing the results of previous workshops in this program onto geoscience campuses. Seven workshop leaders developed programming for the workshops that highlighted strategies for strengthening a department, examples of successful practice in departments across the country, and on-line resources available through the project website. Programming was developed in five areas of high interest: curriculum and program design, departmental activities beyond the curriculum, recruiting students, preparing students for the workforce, and program assessment. Programming also incorporated information on building departmental consensus and assessing departmental efforts. Information on leaders and programming is at

3 research universities, 4 comprehensive universities, and 3 four-year colleges were selected from over 25 applications to host workshops. Two leaders worked with each department to define a workshop agenda selecting topics of highest interest from the available programming. Because of the individualized nature of the workshops, each department experienced different benefits. However, most departments found value in: the opportunity to discuss, with external facilitators, the breadth of what they do and how best to do it; completing a SWOT analysis; using an “ideal student” exercise to articulate programmatic learning goals and outcomes; developing a curriculum matrix; and learning how other departments approached similar situations. Many participants cited a shift in their own attitudes toward their curriculum, particularly general education courses; some developed a new feeling of ownership of their curricula. Many noted that seeing examples from other geoscience departments showed them how their department could improve. Resulting actions include: renaming introductory courses and rewriting course descriptions; developing new courses; changing degree program requirements; new student recruitment strategies; promoting programs on campus; soliciting feedback from alumni; and sending news of departmental accomplishments to the provost and dean.

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