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Dr. Sharon Mosher Summit on the Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education Dr. Sharon Mosher Dean, Jackson School of Geosciences Sponsored by Jackson.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Sharon Mosher Summit on the Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education Dr. Sharon Mosher Dean, Jackson School of Geosciences Sponsored by Jackson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Sharon Mosher Summit on the Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education Dr. Sharon Mosher Dean, Jackson School of Geosciences Sponsored by Jackson School of Geosciences University of Texas at Austin January 10-12, 2014

2 Summit Brought together ~200 educators representing broad spectrum of undergraduate geoscience education community – R1 research universities with undergraduate programs, 4-year and 2- year colleges – Faculty, heads & chairs, education researchers – Industry & professional society representatives Collectively discussed issues facing geosciences 2 Keynotes, 3 panel discussions, small working group sessions; working group presentations All but individual working group sessions recorded & available online (link found at: undergraduate-education/ ) 1 st step in development a high-level community vision for the geosciences – ongoing community process

3 Motivations: Geoscience Research today & in the future… Interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary Complex interactions between different parts of the Earth system – Earths interior and surface, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere – Coupling of chemical, physical, biological and geological processes – Deep time, present day processes, future impacts Important in addressing societally important issues – ethics, economics, policy and communication As research changes – education must change

4 Motivation: Transformation in Undergraduate Education New ways of enhancing student learning New pedagogies for STEM education; discipline-based education research (DBER) Flipped classrooms, blended learning, Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), crowd-sourcing of open education resources Virtual experiences, visualization and geospatial tools Opportunities for shared resources and courses with local customization Computational modeling and simulation of processes and global-scale events Massive amounts of quantitative information – BIG DATA As technology & data change – how and what we teach must change

5 Motivations: Diverse & Informed Future Workforce Broadening Participation and Retention of Underrepresented Groups – Geosciences: <10% low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minorities – 12% of geoscientists retire in 10 years – 35% increase in geoscience jobs in 10 years Preparing K-12 teachers – ~10-15% take geosciences in middle or high school – Educate informed citizens – Instill interest in geoscience careers – Next Generation Science Standards – Geoscience Literacy documents

6 External Motivations For increasing student learning to prepare students for future (not present) workforce Pressure nationally from above – OSTP, PCAST, NRC, NSF Pressure locally from above – Legislatures, coordinating and/or governing boards/regents, presidents/provosts Other external pressures – Public, alumni, parents, students Personal pressure – Joy, satisfaction, obligation Why does this matter ? – Funding, Influence, Survival

7 Summit Outcomes Summary Focus on skills, competencies, concepts, learning outcomes, not disciplinary content or curriculum – Universally accepted for scientists Critical thinking/problem solving Communicate effectively to scientists & non-scientists Understand and use scientific research methods Have strong quantitative skills and ability to apply Work in interdisciplinary teams and across cultures Ability to access and integrate information from different sources and to continue to learn

8 Skills for Geoscientists Work with uncertainty, non-uniqueness, incompleteness, ambiguity and indirect observations Readily solve problems, especially those requiring spatial and temporal (i.e. 3D and 4D) interpretations Make inferences about Earth system from observations of natural world combined with experimentation and modeling Have strong computational skills and the ability to manage and analyze large datasets Integrate data from different disciplines and apply systems thinking Have strong field skills and a working knowledge of GIS Be technologically versatile (i.e. Google Earth, tablets, smartphones, apps)

9 Geoscience Concepts Earth as a complex dynamic system – linkages between the different systems (e.g., lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere etc.). – coupling between chemical, physical, biological and geological processes Deep time, including the origin and evolution of life and Earth; present day processes & future impacts How Earth works, including surficial and tectonic processes; natural resources (including water and energy), natural hazards, climate change Understand societal relevance of geoscience topics and ethical dimensions

10 Pedagogy & Use of Technology Use proven active learning methods and pedagogy – Disseminate, encourage use & increase current knowledge base; illustrate benefits – Incorporate collaborative, integrative, interdisciplinary teamwork – Integrate research projects & experiences, problem solving projects, field experiences into curriculum Integrate technology, visualization, simulation, modeling, and big data as appropriate – Sophisticated systems can strongly facilitate student exploration and classroom interactivity – Make better use of social networking, educational games and crowdsourcing

11 Barriers & Solutions Resources – financial and space needs – Time and support to develop and pilot new instructional approaches – Space redesigned from lecture-based to interactive classes – Technology infrastructure – Performance-based incentives to change – Investment in professional development activities Annual performance evaluations and tenure and promotion do not reward efforts to improve teaching Resources – community – Availability of web-based resources, such as repositories of data and curricula, examples of effective implementation – Build faculty awareness of the availability of resources Different incoming student backgrounds & quantitative preparation

12 Preparation of Future K-12 Teachers Integrate Next Generation Science Standards into undergraduate curricula – Prepare future teachers to do the same Integrate math & basic sciences into course content – Provide geologic examples that can be used in teaching those subjects Encourage collaborations with K-12 in-service teachers and improvements in pre-service programs – Can use to address Broader Impacts research grant objectives Be aware of state teacher education & licensure requirements, local K-12 instruction requirements & content assessment Build collaborations between Y4C & Y2C faculty

13 Broadening Participation of Under- represented Groups Emulate & develop successful recruiting programs – Provide financial support – Reach out to students in their communities – Involve members of the community (families, high school teachers, guidance counselors) – Incorporate role models – Include mentoring Collaboration among Y4C, 2YC, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HIS), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) faculty – Provides pathways for successfully transfer to Y4C – REUs to recruit and provide opportunities for 2YC, HBCU and HIS students Develop or collaborate with STEM programs for minority students at pre-high school and high school levels Address geosciences image – Emphasize societal relevance & career prospects – Earth is Calling video, posters/brochures

14 What is the Future Roadmap for sustained change? History repeating itself? Some have done this before Many were not involved 18 years ago Geoscience research has changed Technology & data has changed Culture, motivations changing How do we learn from past? Have recommendations broadly embraced and implemented Requires combined efforts of all of us Heads & Chairs, Professional societies & industry roles

15 Next steps towards completing & implementing community vision Disseminate results of Summit – Webinars, town meetings, articles, talks, reports, surveys Increase awareness and use of already developed community resources & effective pedagogy & techniques Further refine vision, generate more detailed plans, provide examples, hold follow-on activities Role of Heads & Chairs in stimulating change – Establish academic cultures that reward innovative teaching, including promotion & tenure – Improve instructional infrastructure – Allocate time and support for faculty developing and piloting new instructional approaches – Provide performance-based incentives to change – Invest in professional development activities for faculty – Make effective teaching an important hiring criterion – Make effective teaching part of graduate student professional training

16 Roles of professional societies – Disseminate results of Summit – Spearhead follow-on activities – Advocate for a community vision for geoscience undergraduate education – Organize professional development efforts for young faculty & experienced faculty Roles of employers – Provide input on community vision – Articulate future workforce needs – skills, competencies, critical concepts – Work with department faculty on providing practical applications, projects, research & experiences for undergraduates

17 Sustained change in geoscience undergraduate education – Combined, coordinated efforts of departments and programs – Administrators, individual faculty innovators – Geoscience professional societies & future workforce employers Affect culture change - administration down to student level – Overcome roadblocks to implementation View Outcomes: – Links to reports, archived webcasts of summit, community resources, background reading, future activities, etc. – undergraduate-education/

18 ORGANIZING COMMITTEE S UMMIT ON THE F UTURE OF U NDERGRADUATE G EOSCIENCE E DUCATION Tim Bralower, Pennsylvania State University Jacqueline Huntoon, Michigan Technological University Peter Lea, Bowdoin College David McConnell, North Carolina State University Kate Miller, Texas A&M University Sharon Mosher, University of Texas at Austin Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida Lori Summa, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Joshua Villalobos, El Paso Community College Lisa White, University of California – Berkeley

19 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS S UMMIT ON THE F UTURE OF U NDERGRADUATE G EOSCIENCE E DUCATION Robert Frodeman, University of North Texas James Collins, Arizona State University PANELISTS Anne Egger, Central Washington University Ashanti Johnson, Institute for Broadening Participation; University of Texas at Arlington Chris Keane, American Geoscience Institute Lyndsey LeMay, Thomas Nelson Community College Cathy Manduca, SERC Steve Marshak, University of Illinois at Urbana Stephen Mattox, Grand Valley State David McConnell, North Carolina State University Dave Mogk, Montana State University Steven Whitmeyer, James Madison University

20 Questions and Discussion If you would like to speak, press the raise your hand icon on the webinar control panel. If you would rather type, you can use the chat/questions box.

21 Heads & Chairs Webinar Series Schedule Join us for the next webinar When: Friday, April 18, from 1-2 pm EST Topic: The Future of Field Camps Register for this webinar and others at:

22 Wrap-up Audiovisual recording of todays webinar will be available in the coming weeks. If you have additional questions or comments about the webinar series, or would like to join the AGU Heads and Chairs listserv, or participate in the workshop at the AGU Fall Meeting, please contact Pranoti Asher at


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