How COVID-19 is driving concerns within geoscience academic departments

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In August, we surveyed how much the COVID-19 pandemic was driving concerns about education, employment, work­place safety, and financial stability. Among geoscience aca­demic departments, faculty and students, workplace safety was listed as the top COVID-19 concern.

The top COVID-19-related concerns for geoscience depart­ments included workplace safety, the financial outlook of the department or institution, and the ability to attract and retain students (68%, 61% and 48% of departments, respectively). In addition, 45% of departments stated that the ability to hire new employees and the agility of the department to adapt to new methods of instruction were also concerns driven by COVID-19.

Three-quarters of geoscience faculty reported workplace safety as being a concern moderately to extremely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, while 50% of geoscience faculty reported that concern about maintaining academic rigor in their programs was moderately to extremely driven by the pan­demic. Less than a third of faculty reported other concerns as being moderately to extremely driven by the pandemic.

DB_2020-018 chart01: Current concerns of geoscience departments, August 2020 (credit: AGI, data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

The top concern of geoscience students was the availability of employment opportunities, with 70% of students reporting this concern being moderately to extremely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplace safety and job security were the next two top concerns moderately to extremely driven by the pandemic (66% and 40%, respectively).

DB_2020-018 chart02: Current concerns of geoscience faculty, August 2020 (credit: AGI, data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

While 50% of geoscience faculty reported concern about maintaining academic rigor, only 34% of students reported the same. In addition, 32% of students reported concerns over the availability of educational opportunities as being moderately to extremely driven by the pandemic.

DB_2020-018 chart03: Current concerns of geoscience students, August 2020 (credit: AGI, data from AGI's Geoscience COVID-19 Survey)

We will continue to provide current snapshots on the impacts of COVID-19 on the geoscience enterprise throughout the year. For more information, and to participate in the study, please visit: www.americangeosciences.org/ workforce/covid19

Funding for this project is provided by the National Science Foundation (Award #2029570). The results and interpretation of the survey are the views of the American Geosciences Institute and not those of the National Science Foundation.

Date updated: 2020-09-04
Data Brief 2020-018
Written and compiled by Leila Gonzales and Christopher Keane, September 2020

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