Critical Skills Necessary for the Development of Undergraduate Geoscience Students

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Over the past two years, the working group behind the NSF-funded Summit on the Future of Geoscience Undergraduate Education has engaged a diverse spectrum of the geoscience academic and employer community in a comprehensive review of the skills, competencies, and conceptual understandings needed in geoscience undergraduate programs, the best methods of producing these learning outcomes, and how to best broaden, recruit and retain undergraduate geoscience students, especially underrepresented groups. One effort included a survey aimed at anyone in the geoscience community to offer their opinions on the priorities for improving undergraduate geoscience education.

The survey yielded 455 responses -- 78% from the academic community, 17% from industry representatives, 13% from government representatives, and 12% from representatives of professional societies and other organizations. The skills have been split into two groups: skills needed by any science professional and skills specifically needed by geoscience professionals in the workforce. The employer community provided more detail on the technical and non-technical skills needed and ways to develop these skills in students.

To learn more about the survey results and the further development beyond the survey, please tune in to the AGU/AGI Heads and Chair Webinar: Impacts from the Summit on Undergraduate Geoscience Education on Friday, October 9, 2015 at 1 pm eastern time. To register for this webinar, please visit

The survey is still open for responses. Please visit to provide your input on geoscience undergraduate education.

Date updated: 2015-09-23
Data Brief 2015-011
Written by Sharon Mosher for AGI, September 2015

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