How does your program fit into the world and work your students will experience? Geoscientists are good at looking at the past to understand the present and predict the future Earth. We need to use those same skills to envision what the future will hold and how our departments and programs fit in that future. This activity will help foresee the kinds of knowledge and skills future graduates will need and how your department will contribute to filling this need. This core session will produce a set of touchstone ideas that will guide later sessions.
- Build a department team
- Develop a coherent articulated program where success depends on everyone's engagement
- Think beyond the problems at hand
To prepare for the workshop, we ask all participants to reflect on the current state of the department, and to become familiar with recent initiatives related to GEO/STEM education:
Session I: Envisioning Your Program
8:00-8:15 Introductions, Background of NAGT Traveling Workshop Program, Goals of Workshop, and Thanks to our Sponsors (NSF)
8:15- 9:45 AM - Envisioning Change: Consider the changing nature of the Geosciences, the geoscience workforce, your students, and the department role in the institution. Introduction to the Characteristics of Strong Departments with a discussion of what the department thinks it does well. Consider also Connect to the Future of Geoscience
10:00-11:00 AM - Planning for Change:The facilitators will lead the group through a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) analysis in the context of current challenges and the future envisioned in the previous activity.
11:00 AM-12:00 PM - Strategic Foci for Action Planning: A primary outcome of the workshop will be an action plan for the program developed by the group through the workshop activities. The first section of this plan presents the strategic foci for the plan. Reflect on the opening envisioning activities as well as the reasons for requesting this workshop, then convert the list of key ideas into a final list of strategic foci for departmental action and record in the first section of the Action Plan.
Session II: Program Design
1:00 -2:30 PM - Identifying Skills, Experiences, Content, and Values: What do you want your students to be able to do? Participants will develop a list of goals for their students, first individually and then collectively. The session will produce a set of measurable and assessable program-level learning outcomes.
2:30-3:30 PM - Developing a Program Matrix: How do students meet the program goals? Building a program matrix can help the department visualize where students are or could be building their knowledge, skills, and values.
Image of the Earth Science Course Matrix (Acrobat (PDF) 147kB Sep4 14) for Montana State University.×
3:30-3:45 PM Break
3:45-4:30 PM - Using the Matrix: The program matrix is a powerful tool for asking questions about where students are getting the important experiences we want for them as well as for hypothesis testing when student outcomes are not what we anticipate. This process is analogous to what scientists do all the time - generate a hypothesis, test it, and then using that information to feed back into the next round of hypothesis generation.