Vision and Change in the Geosciences: Shaping the Future of Graduate Geoscience Education
The “Improving Geoscience Graduate Student Preparedness for the Future Workforce” initiative, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, addresses three critical questions facing graduate geoscience education:
- What universal skills and competencies should be part of graduate geoscience education for doctoral and master’s students in Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences to be successful in the workforce?
- What are the best means of developing these skills and competencies in graduate geoscience programs nationally?
- What implementation strategies can department heads/chairs and graduate program directors use to integrate these skills and competencies into graduate programs and what is the role of other stakeholders?
Since 2018 over 300 geoscientists in the academic and employer communities have collectively developed a vision for Shaping the Future of Geoscience Graduate Education, inclusive of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. A 2023 Vision and Change – Graduate Education report articulates that vision and identifies strategies for transformative change in graduate geoscience education. This vision builds on the previous NSF-sponsored undergraduate initiative documented in the Vision and Change in the Geosciences: The Future of Undergraduate Education (Mosher and Keane, 2021).
Vision and Change – Graduate Education: View the full report online, download a PDF version, and access recommendations for implementing the vision.
[Full reference: Mosher, S., Ryan, J., & Keane, C. (2023). Vision and change in the geosciences: Shaping the future of graduate geoscience education. American Geosciences Institute. 107p.]
2022 Workshops: May 23-24, AGU Headquarters, Washington, D.C. & August 18-19, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
NSF sponsored workshops on Improving Geoscience Graduate Student Preparedness for the Future Workforce were held on May 23-24 at AGU Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and on August 18-19, 2022 at Stanford University near Palo Alto, CA. These workshops were primarily designed for administrative leaders who have the ability to make and lead change and employers of Ph.D. and M.S. students in Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences who are involved in making hiring decisions or setting priorities for their organization. Our goal was to develop strategies for transformative changes in geoscience graduate education.
The workshops addressed these questions:
- What skills and competencies should be part of graduate geoscience education for Ph.D. & M.S. students in Earth, Ocean, & Atmospheric Sciences so they can be successful in future careers? How has this changed since the 2018 Geoscience Employers Workshop?
- What are the best ways of developing these skills/competencies and mentoring students during their graduate career?
- What successes or roadblocks have academic leaders had in implementing development of these skills and competencies in graduate geoscience programs?
- What balance should graduate programs have between developing technical skill sets, research and broader educational goals?
This workshop builds on a 2018 Geoscience Employers Workshop with participants representing broad spectrum of Ph.D. and M.S. geoscience employers, including industry, business, government agencies, non-profits and academic research universities, and a 2019 Summit of Heads/Chairs and Graduate Program Directors in Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.
This 2022 workshop connected geoscience academic leaders and employers for further dialogue about what skills and competencies graduate students need to be successful in the future workforce regardless of their career path and how graduate programs can effectively develop these for graduate students.
Both new and previous participants of the 2018 workshop & 2019 summit attended. Feedback from academic leaders who have started implementing their 2018/2019 action plans was instrumental in helping us develop best practices for creating positive changes to graduate education. Additional employer advice on needed skills and competencies and input on recent workplace changes allowed us to develop robust recommendations for enhancing graduate education to prepare students for a successful future.
Workshop PowerPoint Slides
- Geoscience Academic & Employer Workshop Intro & Logistics
- Status of Geoscience Employment and Graduate Outcomes – Keane
- Outcomes of 2018 Geoscience Employers Workshop & Recent Input
- Outcomes of 2019 Heads Chairs Summit
- 2019 Department Action Plan reports
May 11-13, 2019 – Austin, Texas
Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
A NSF sponsored Summit on Improving Geoscience Graduate Student Preparedness for the Future Workforce was held on May 11-13, 2019 in Austin, Texas. This summit brought together geoscience academic leaders (Deans, Heads, Chairs, and Graduate Program Directors) to discuss the skills and competencies Ph.D. and M.S students need to be successful in the future workforce, regardless of the career path they choose. Only about half of Ph.D. students and few M.S. students in the geosciences end up in academia, yet universal skills needed for other careers are generally not emphasized or developed in graduate school.
The goal of the Summit was to explore how graduate programs can effectively develop these skills and competencies in graduate students in Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. This summit was specifically designed for administrative leaders who have the ability to make and lead change.
- Summit Agenda, Presentations & Webcasts
- AGU/AGI Heads and Chairs Webinar
In October 2018, we held a Geoscience Employers Workshop, with participants representing a broad spectrum of employers of Ph.D. and M.S. students in Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, including industry, business, government agencies, non-profits and academic research universities. This workshop identified the skills and competencies universally needed by graduate-level geoscientists regardless of their field or future career. Employers also discussed effective methods for developing these skills and competencies, and their role in these educational activities. The Summit discussed these results and other national graduate student STEM reports on workforce preparedness. An overview of the workshop results was presented at the 2019 Summit.