Letter from the President: A Look Back at 2013
Susan Buhr Sullivan, University of Colorado at Boulder, NAGT president, 2013
When I closed the Geoscience Education Luncheon at the 2012 Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting with a bang of my new gavel, the notion of serving as NAGT president was daunting. I knew the role that NAGT has played in supporting and advocating for geoscience education since 1938 — and the critical need to maintain that work. Due to the efforts of members throughout the organization, I believe we succeeded in continuing to meet that challenge in 2013.
NAGT saw a great increase in membership last year — over 300 new members — due to efforts to reach out to lapsed members and new links between NAGT and the On the Cutting Edge professional development program. We saw a great influx of student members, too; we must now ensure that they experience the value of being part of our community. GSA has become a sponsor for On the Cutting Edge, an exciting new collaboration, and the set of NAGT workshops is now being managed as a coherent program, which means program elements can work together for success and sustainability.
The 2YC Division has been joined by the Teacher Education Division and the Geoscience Education Research Division. We look forward to seeing the vibrant communities that will form within them. (To join any or all of them, visit your member portal page at https://nagt.org/members/.)
The editorship of In the Trenches transitioned at the end of 2013 from founding editor David Steer to Lucinda Shellito. The Executive Committee commends Dr. Steer for his leadership in establishing In the Trenches and welcomes Dr. Shellito. Meanwhile, the Journal of Geoscience Education continues to support scholarly writing among members under the direction of editor Dr. Kristen St. John.
The new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have put Earth and space science on a parity with life and physical sciences at the pre-college level. As a critical stakeholder, NAGT reviewed the draft versions of the NGSS and signed on in support of the final standards. Action now moves to the state level, where each state's educational policy body will decide whether or not to adopts the standards. By reaching out to teacher organizations, state decisionmakers, and local districts, NAGT members can be a big part of what results. Look for more news and opportunities about NGSS in future communications.
I am grateful to the support and friendship of my colleagues at NAGT, especially that given by the Executive Committee and Executive Director Cathy Manduca. With a new sense of appreciation for our venerable organization, I welcome Aida Awad in her term as new NAGT president.