Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 1:20 PM
DEVELOPING A DIVERSE GEOSCIENCE COMMUNITY: LESSONS LEARNED FROM A DECADE OF INVESTMENT IN THE OEDG PROGRAM
Since 2002, the Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG) program at NSF has funded >200 projects, with the primary goal of engaging a diverse population of students in learning about – and pursuing advanced degrees and careers in – the geosciences. Through its portfolio of planning grants, proof-of-concept projects, and larger full-scale implementation efforts, OEDG has investigated strategies to improve engagement, recruitment, retention, and training of students traditionally underrepresented in the geosciences (URM). In the process, OEDG has helped to develop a rich array of culturally-tailored learning resources, opportunities for students and educators to participate in geoscience research experiences, and mentoring and networking programs, and it has even helped to build new geoscience degree programs at minority-serving institutions. Perhaps the most important legacy of the OEDG program has been to establish an enthusiastic and effective community of educators, administrators, students and organizations dedicated to increasing diversity in the geosciences. The OEDG program is ending in FY 2013, but GEO remains strongly committed to the program goals and is actively exploring new mechanisms for pursuing and achieving those goals. During this transition, it is of value to look retrospectively at the OEDG portfolio and consider its impacts, both in terms of increasing diversity within the geosciences and influencing community attitudes toward broadening participation in the geosciences. Recent data show that the percentage of degrees earned in the geosciences by URM continues to be relatively small compared to other STEM disciplines, but it is noteworthy that the rate of increase in the proportion of degrees earned has largely kept pace with or exceeded the rates seen in other natural science fields. With many OEDG projects focused on earlier parts of the recruitment pipeline, it is likely that the fruits of our investments are only now becoming evident. But where do we go from here? This presentation will consider the lessons learned from the OEDG portfolio and explore how we as a community might continue our progress in building diversity within the geoscience workforce and mechanisms that might help to accelerate the rate of change.