Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


GOSSELIN, David C., Environmental Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 150 Hardin Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0941, KIRK, Karin B., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057 and MANDUCA, Cathryn, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057,

Higher education is being confronted with a paradigm shift. Business and political leaders are increasingly asking institutions of higher education to develop skills such as innovation, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, or self-management. These skills, among others, are often referred to as “21st century skills” or 21st century competencies. These competencies are at the foundation of individual as well as collective success in the work place, yet employers report substantial deficiencies in these applied skills. As a result, employers and educational organizations are challenging higher education to target the development of broad, transferable skills and knowledge. InTeGrate, an NSF-funded STEP center, has created three online resources to support the geoscience community’s efforts to address traditional and emerging workforce need. The first resource, Developing Program and Learning Outcomes: A Primer, ( is designed to help faculty use learning outcomes to communicate about and more effectively manage learning through the curriculum. Defining curricular learning outcomes provides clear guidance to everyone– faculty members, students, administrators, trustees, parents, legislators, and employers on what to expect from a program/major and its course work The second resource ( provides background information on the concept of competencies and their development in students. Competencies define the applied skills and knowledge that enable people to successfully perform in professional, educational, and other life contexts. A third resource ( is a compilation of references that include workforce reports, student preparation for the 21st Century workforce, as well as references to a growing area for geoscience employment related to environment and sustainability. An underlying theme to these resources is that to be successful in the workforce, integration of 21st century competencies into the curriculum will enhance students’ abilities to tackle 21st century challenges.