Explore AGI Federation Activities in the Latest Issue of AGI Connections

The newsletter highlights AGI news and upcoming events from across the geoscience federation. Help us share important geoscience events by contacting Geoff Camphire, AGI Communications.

In this Issue

Leadership Forum Eyes Next-Generation Solutions

Today’s geoscience society leaders are working to effectively address an array of emerging challenges — in areas including membership, meetings, publications, governance, collaboration, inclusion, mentoring, skills development, and communicating value — as demonstrated in the presentations and discussions encompassing “The Next Generation of Geoscience Societies: Views from Early- and Mid-Career Geoscientists and Leadership,” the AGI Leadership Forum held virtually on March 28-29.

“Among the insights shared by early- and mid-career professionals, inclusivity and a sense of belonging were identified as two main attributes of geoscience societies that attract membership,” says AGI Executive Director Jonathan Arthur. “Society leadership recognize that change must occur, and it’s important to reach out to underserved demographics and help members engage, lead, and develop new skill sets.”

To help geoscience professionals and organization leaders explore the role of societies, the international forum allowed participants to engage in open and inclusive roundtable discussions with invited speakers. Panelists included early-, mid-, and late-career professionals, representing emerging leaders as well as senior leadership of geoscience societies. Presenters shared key information and perspectives.

“Professional societies need to do more to ensure that they are creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members,” said Blair Schneider of the Kansas Geological Survey and the American Geophysical Union. “As an early-career scientist, I expect that my professional society affiliations align with my values — those that don’t are the ones that I am no longer a member of.”

“There is a lot of value in sharing ideas across organizations,” said Anne Egger, executive director of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. “It can define common challenges, of course, but also help define how and why different organizations exist, and how different organizations are complementary, and how we can work together.”

The Leadership Forum is an event hosted annually by AGI. Learn more online about Collaborative Leadership in the AGI Federation and additional AGI membership benefits.

Geoscience COVID-19 Study Informs Next Steps

How is the coronavirus pandemic reshaping the geosciences? In May 2020 AGI launched its National Science Foundation-funded (#2029570) Geoscience COVID-19 Study to measure the pandemic’s impact on the geoscience workforce and academic programs. Through ongoing longitudinal surveying, the study has identified numerous impacts and changes in the way geoscience is practiced and taught.

"The current pandemic has changed the way we approach our daily lives, and collecting data on the response can aid academic institutions and professional workplaces for success," said Keri Nutter, AGI Board of Directors member and past president of the American Institute of Professional Geologists. "It is critical to understand how our educational system, workforce, and the geoscience profession responded to sudden remote work and how to better prepare and respond in the future."

Through AGI’s Geoscience Currents data briefs, the study has communicated its ongoing findings about changes to geoscience business operations and staffing, geoscience student progress during the pandemic, and coronavirus-related impacts of work and research. For example, in February it was reported that plans for temporary and contract staffing have been more variable than those for permanent staffing throughout the pandemic, though by last December both permanent and temporary/contract staffing expectations began to return to pre-pandemic conditions. And by March, one-third of geosciences departments reported delivering these courses in multiple modes, usually combining in-person instruction with hybrid and/or virtual formats.

The National Science Foundation has provided a third round of support for the grant, which will now continue to collect data through December 2022. This final phase of the study will focus on identifying permanent changes to the geoscience workforce and educational systems though surveying, focus groups, and oral histories.

Learn more online about the Geoscience COVID-19 Study and additional programs of AGI’s Geoscience Workforce Department. For more information, contact AGI Geoscience Profession and Higher Education Director Dr. Christopher Keane at keane@americangeosciences.org.

Earth Science Week Expands Opportunities

As the geoscience community’s annual public-awareness campaign turns 25 this year, Earth Science Week builds on longstanding collaborations and a growing list of innovations to offer more than ever for program partners, as well as participating students, educators, and geoscience professionals. Earth Science Week 2022 celebrates the theme of “Earth Science for a Sustainable World” with an array of activities, resources, and opportunities for engagement.

Last year, in addition to the traditional Earth Science Week Contests in art, photography, video, and essay writing, AGI worked with the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) on a new video contest inviting members of AAPG Student Chapters in the Asia Pacific Region to create and submit videos focusing on the theme “Water Is Part of Life Around the World.” The annual Earth Science Week Webinar Series offers thought-provoking presentations on the annual theme, including talks on the geoscience of sustainability. A partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey and additional organizations makes possible Geologic Map Day, a “focus day” of the week that promotes understanding of the uses of geologic maps, which this year focuses on soil types around the world. And the Earth Science Week Online Toolkit offers an ever-expanding compendium of visually rich resources including posters, calendar pages, and activities.

One of the most exciting successes of Earth Science Week has come in the area of international collaboration, with many nations — including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Japan, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom — conducting education and outreach events promoting geoscience awareness. AGI makes program resources such as the logo available for translation into languages other than English. Earth Science Week’s annual video contest now invites participants from around the world. Event locations and dates are flexible to allow maximum participation. Today, Earth Science Week’s Global Sponsors, such as the International Raw Materials Observatory and ExxonMobil, also provide significant support to the program, gaining visibility for the important work they do.

Learn more online about how you can partner with Earth Science Week and other programs of AGI Education and Outreach. For more information, contact AGI Education and Outreach Director Dr. Edward Robeck at ecrobeck@americangeosciences.org.

GeoRef Bibliographic Database Spans the Globe

AGI’s GeoRef, the premier bibliographic database for the geosciences, spans both time and space — not only enabling researchers and students to understand the entire historical record of research on a given geoscience topic, but also reaching around the planet.

According to a recent internal analysis, GeoRef, which boasts more than 4.3 million total references, has covered publications in 60 languages that were published in 160 countries over the past 20 years. While the majority of publications covered by GeoRef were written in English, more than 10,000 articles were published in each of the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.

Multi-national commercial publishers account for about one-fifth of the more than 1.5 million publications covered in GeoRef in the past two decades. More than 20,000 publications originated from each of the following nations: United States, Russia, Poland, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Australia, and China.

Learn more online about GeoRef and additional programs of AGI Scholarly Information. For more information, contact AGI Scholarly Information Director Sharon Tahirkheli at snt@americangeosciences.org.

Preparing for the 2024 Election with the Next Critical Needs Document

Every presidential election cycle, AGI collaborates with its member societies to develop a Critical Needs Document which demonstrates the role geosciences can play in addressing the top policy issues of the day. This document is provided to all key candidates at the federal level and sees continued use well after the election by policy makers, agency leadership, and geoscientists.

This summer, AGI is preparing to engage with member societies to form the next writing committee. This early formation is part of the goal of having the 2024 Critical Needs Document available before the primaries in early 2024. An important evolution of the approach will also be introduced this year based on input from policy makers. Rather than organizing around geoscience topics, the document will be framed by recognizable societal challenges, and the myriad of geoscience inputs and how they interact with other social and economic issues will constitute the narrative approach. So, rather than discuss mining and mineral resources, the document will address the ongoing challenge of a secure and robust supply chain, which not only touches on mineral resources, but also water, energy, waste management, and other geoscience topics.

Leading geoscientists such as Colorado State Geologist Karen Berry attest to the usefulness of this consensus document. “Colorado is a top-five state most at risk from a natural disaster,” points out Berry, who helped draft the document. “It averages $464 million in damages statewide each year with a single wildfire or hailstorm resulting in billions of dollars in losses. Colorado is actively working to reduce losses and protect public safety. However, many people are unaware that geosciences play a vital role in building resilient communities. The Critical Needs Document has been a great communication tool to help bridge this gap.”

Learn more online about the Critical Needs Document and additional programs of AGI’s Geoscience Workforce Department. For more information, contact AGI Geoscience Profession and Higher Education Director Dr. Christopher Keane at keane@americangeosciences.org.

New From AGI

  • The new Status of Recent Geoscience Graduates 2021 report details the demographics, activities, experiences, skills development, employment, and plans of geoscience degree recipients in the United States during the 2020-21 academic year.

  • The Directory of Geoscience Departments, 57th Edition is the most comprehensive source of information about geoscience departments and geoscience researchers available. The new edition is $54.95 (members of AGI Member Societies can receive a 20% discount when purchasing directly from AGI). Buy from AGI or Amazon.com.

  • The Earth Science Week 2022 Toolkit, now available for advance orders, offers a variety of printed materials to help you explore geoscience topics relating to the Earth Science Week 2022 theme of “Earth Science for a Sustainable World.” See the AGI Store for special pricing on a Multi-Pack of Three Toolkits addressing various geoscience topics.

  • Webinars hosted by AGI, available for viewing in real time and beyond, focus on issues essential to the geoscience profession. Recent titles include “Questioning How We Recruit Students From Historically Marginalized Communities,” “Geoscience COVID-19 Study Update: Examining Impacts and Resilience Within Academia,” and “Addressing Critical Mineral Supply Chain Vulnerability: A Transatlantic Conversation” (co-hosted by SAFE's Center for Critical Minerals Strategy, the International Raw Materials Observatory, and AGI).

  • Geoscience Currents data briefs illuminate geoscience profession, workforce trends, and career paths. Recent titles include “COVID-19 Impacts on Geoscience Business Operations Through 2021,” “Geoscience Student Progress During the Pandemic,” and “Geoscience Employment Growth Continues Through 2021.” Subscribe for free.

  • AGI’s Working Together: 2021 Annual Report is available online, highlighting many of the impactful activities of AGI from October 2020 through September 2021 and providing a detailed statement of financial position covering the past three fiscal years.

Geoscience Event Calendar

Where the previous issue of AGI Connections featured a listing of upcoming events, this issue introduces a new resource designed to be even more effective for tracking in-person, virtual, and hybrid events sponsored by geoscience organizations of the AGI Federation: AGI’s Geoscience Event Calendar.  

See what events are scheduled in the coming months and years, and plan your organization’s future events with the help of a resource that showcases the major national and international geoscience events on the horizon. Events will be added to the calendar regularly. Already you can find information on events such as these:

Posting events on the calendar is an exclusive benefit of membership in the AGI Federation (contact AGI Communications’ Geoff Camphire at gac@americangeosciences.org to learn more), but anyone can view the calendar for free. Check out the Geoscience Event Calendar today to find out about the geoscience community events of tomorrow.