Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


CHAN, Marjorie, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, 115 South 1460 East, Room 383 FASB, Salt Lake City, UT 84112,

Departments should have strong, visionary leadership, and a strategic plan to provide guidance towards a productive future. Studies show that important factors to measure the success of a department are: mission, curricula, teamwork, recruitment, leadership, communication, and partnerships. However, many of these measures are interlinked into the larger concept of how people “feel”, connect, and interact, and that is what community is about. The community is the sum of stakeholders in a department – past, present, and future. An important part of community is transparency in all policies. Consensus has rewarding paybacks, and makes everyone feel that they have valued contributions. Creating an inviting educational environment via displays of high quality images and specimens of Earth science can also increase the sense of community.

Here are 4 vital keys to help a department flourish. 1) The department chair needs to mobilize the community to become and stay engaged with the department. An advisory board composed of select alumni and/or influential friends can raise the stature and visibility of the department. If properly engaged, they will want to help obtain resources and grow the quality of programs and students. 2) An electronic and/or paper newsletter will keep the community connected and updated with news and accomplishments. 3) A webpage with social media is the face of any department. It shows who you are and what you are about. It is how people find you and investigate about you. A great webpage has lots of visuals and minimal but concise messages. 4) Students are valuable, yet frequently overlooked assets. It is extremely beneficial to engage the student workforce, as they can often help get the jobs done affordably. Students can work to mutual advantage for particular tasks (e.g., webpage, newsletter, reviews, outreach, etc.). Rewards or incentives for the student efforts can be modest funds to help fund their activities or field trips- a win-win for everyone. An engaged student body will reflect department energy and involvement. Passionate students are the lifeblood of any department.