IMPACTS OF THE BUILDING STRONG GEOSCIENCE DEPARTMENTS VISITING WORKSHOP PROGRAM
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.