Impact of Societies and Professional Development on Early-Career Underrepresented Minority Faculty

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The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) held a professional development workshop (see Currents 75) that included sessions involving professional societies, teaching techniques and campus leadership.

Attendees’ involvement with professional societies increased slightly following the workshop and over the course of the following 13 months. In general, the frequency with which attendees served on professional society committees, attended society meetings, received funding from a society, or attended a lecture sponsored by a professional society increased following the workshop over the following year.

Although attendees’ knowledge of effective teaching techniques was above average before the workshop, it increased following the workshop and remained higher over the course of the 13 months. In general, the frequency with which attendees used inquiry-based techniques, lectures or active learning techniques increased as did the frequency of emphasizing Earth Science literacy to students.

Attendees rated themselves slightly above average in exhibiting leadership on campus before the workshop. Although in general the frequency of serving on an institutional committee or seeking advice from others did not substantially increase after the workshop, attendees indicated they mentored other faculty more frequently over the course of the year and rated themselves as more confident in mentoring others after the workshop and over the course of the year.

Respondents at each survey time viewed Guidance from Professional Societies and Instructional Guidance as valuable to their careers, both immediately following the workshop and over the course of the next 13 months.

Although the session about Campus Leadership was viewed as valuable immediately following the workshop, its perceived value dropped over the next 10 months before rebounding at the 13-month follow-up. Overall, respondents sought advice from mentors at least yearly both prior to and following the workshop, with the percentage of respondents seeking advice at least several times a year increasing over the 13 months following the workshop.

For more information about the workshop and highlights of the sessions, visit:, click "Sort by Network" and choose "AGI Diverse Professoriate".