• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 15
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


BRUCKNER, Monica Z., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057, BEANE, Rachel J., Earth and Oceanographic Science, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME 04011 and MACDONALD, R. Heather, Department of Geology, College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187,

Beginning an academic career is a challenging endeavor. On the Cutting Edge, a professional development program for current and future geoscience faculty, offered a series of webinars which took place from January - June 2011. The five webinars in the series were designed to demystify the process of pursuing an academic career in the geosciences by offering resources for and insights into: 1) teaching using interactive methods, 2) negotiations in the hiring process, 3) developing oneself as a teacher, 4) strategic early career planning, and 5) exploring faculty positions at different institution types. The webinars drew from sessions offered at the annual On the Cutting Edge Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences and Early Career Geoscience Faculty face-to-face workshops and were designed to make key topics more accessible to a larger audience. Each webinar lasted 1-1.5 hours and involved interactive presentations, discussions, chat, and question and answer sessions using web conferencing software in conjunction with a conference call. Each webinar drew 20-50 participants from all across the country, and 11 presenters shared their insights over the course of the series. Most participants had not attended a Preparing for an Academic Career workshop, but several who had been to one of the face-to-face workshops attended the webinar sessions to gain further insight or a broader perspective on a particular topic.

Summaries of participant evaluations for the 5 webinars showed that participants 1) would try incorporating interactive techniques, such as jigsaw, gallery walk, or think-pair share, into their classes, 2) were now better informed about how to approach negotiations for academic positions, 3) would write their teaching statements to better convey their teaching philosophies and to incorporate specific examples and experience, 4) would use an inventory that included components of teaching, research, service, and job applications as a way to maintain focus and strategize the professional activities they pursue, and 5) gained new perspectives on positions at different types of colleges and universities. ScreenCasts, presentation slides, and related resources for the webinar series are available online at:

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