President's Cornerpublished Oct 2, 2009 12:08pm
The time has once again come for us to review NAGT's major goals and objectives while assessing what has worked well (and not), to think about what we have done over the past several years and to plan for the future. Yes I know – many of us join in a collective yawn when we discuss such things as strategic planning at our respective institutions. However, for a primarily volunteer organization such as ours, such planning is essential for responding to the ever-evolving education landscape and to remain cognizant of your needs. This President's Corner is intended to open that dialog as the Executive Committee and Council reengage in these discussions over the next year. I encourage you to provide input as we revise our National Action Plan and Priority Action Agenda that was last approved in 2004. If you are interested in the details of the existing Strategic Plan and supporting documents, you can find them under the "NAGT Organization" button on the main NAGT site. In this article I will briefly review what is in the Strategic Plan and potential actions we will take to update those guiding documents.
The Strategic Plan was developed over a two year period beginning in 2002 as a guiding document that includes a Vision and supporting Mission that is to be fulfilled through four broad goals with supporting objectives. Most of you are familiar with the educational goals that deal with dissemination of quality curricula and teaching practices, advancing effective pedagogies, emphasizing an earth systems approach and promoting workforce development. Several other advocacy goals focus on engaging K-12 audiences, informing the broader community of the importance of quality geoscience education and promoting deeper public understanding of our profession. At the institutional level, goals focus on sustaining our vibrant and engaged members, supporting sections and stewardship. There appears to be little need to modify these goals and objectives because of the quality work done by our predecessors. Rather, we need to reflect on how well we have met the goals and objectives and where we should place emphasis in the future.
Three supporting documents in the Strategic Plan will be updated and revised for the future. The first of these is the Summary of Current NAGT Activities Relating to Strategic Goals and Objectives. Since the plan was approved, new national level initiatives have been added (e.g. Geoscience Teachers in the Park, Robert Christman Distinguished Service Award, a soon-to-be published Environmental Science textbook), others have languished and some no longer exist. As has always been the case, much of NAGT's organizational success will be credited to its sections and their many programs. Sections will have the opportunity to highlight their achievements during this update. The National Action plan and supporting Priority Action Agenda require the most scrutiny, updating and input from our members. The National Action Plan focuses on successful programs, essential products and identifies needs. The Priority Action Agenda then sets priorities, develops benchmarks and assigns responsibility. As we move forward we may explore merging these two more general guiding documents into a single 5-year action plan. Whatever form this planning document takes, it will set the course for the next several years, be consistent with established goals and objectives and be designed to promote geoscience education. We look forward to getting your input regarding NAGT's future plans to enhance educational programs, to improve advocacy programs and to better support our organization.