IMPROVING UNDERGRADUATE STEM EDUCATION: PATHWAYS INTO GEOSCIENCE (IUSE: GEOPATHS) (Invited Presentation)
The increasing focus of geoscience work on societal issues (e.g., climate change impacts) opens the door to engaging a diverse population of students. In light of this, one challenge is to find effective strategies for “opening the world of possibilities” in the geosciences for these students and supporting them at the critical junctures where they might choose an alternative pathway to geosciences or otherwise leave altogether.
To address these and related matters, The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) has re-launched IUSE: GEOPATHS, to create and support innovative and inclusive projects to build the future geoscience workforce. This program is one component in NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) initiative, which is a comprehensive, Foundation-wide effort to accelerate the quality and effectiveness of the education of undergraduates in all of the STEM fields. The two tracks of IUSE: GEOPATHS (EXTRA and IMPACT) seek to broaden and strengthen connections and activities that will engage and retain undergraduate students in geoscience education and career pathways, and help prepare them for a variety of careers. The long-term goal of this program is to dramatically increase the number and diversity of students earning undergraduate degrees or enrolling in graduate programs in geoscience fields, as well as ensure that they have the necessary skills and competencies to succeed as next generation professionals in a variety of employment sectors.