Geoscience & Society
Effectively articulate the definition and the societal roles of the geosciences.
Effect an increase in participation in the geosciences (outreach activities, K-12 courses, student retention, undergraduate scientific pursuits) to reduce the gap of qualified graduates.
Maintain awareness of current geoscience trends and research in the context of informing public policy.
Monitor the changing employment opportunities within the geosciences and allied fields.
Identify and communicate the skillsets that will be required for geoscientists in the future.
RE-FRAMING THE GEOSCIENCE WORKFORCE
The geoscience workforce program has been actively adopting new naming conventions for occupational and sectorial categories for the geosciences, reflecting the rapidly changing nature and distribution of geoscientists in the nation’s economy. The AGI workforce program will continue to adjust its naming conventions away from disciplinary frameworks toward solution-based framing that represents occupational applications and will describe how those applications map to specific U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Moreover, through assessment of the supply and demand parts of the geoscience profession, the intensity and distribution of efforts being applied to selected SDGs will be characterized.
The core motivation of this initiative will be to improve the visibility of geoscience solutions within the economy, better track the evolving role of geoscientists against an action-oriented (solution-based) framework, and support the dialogue of geoscientists about their role in supporting a better and more sustainable future.
The mid- to long-term viability of geoscience depends heavily on the career decisions of our nation’s youth. A major challenge we face as a geoscience community is the lack of exposure to geoscience by the future adults of our society and workforce. Re-framing of the geoscience workforce also calls for fresh approaches to conveying information about geoscience careers to young people. AGI has initiated the development of a “Geoscience Career Explorer,” which is a web-based tool that connects geoscience careers, and other related careers, to the issues and priorities in the SDGs, facilitating a mission-focused consideration of varied opportunities for pathways into geoscience professions.
K-12 EDUCATION AND EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
AGI continues to incorporate elements of sustainability into its education projects (Education for Sustainable Development, or ESD). For example, we recently focused the development of classroom lessons within the NSF-funded Streams of Data research project on local community issues—specifically stormwater management and flooding, which aligns with “SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities” and relates to the flood-resilience of cities. Through this and other projects that prioritize attention to the role of geosciences in sustainable development, we will continue to infuse the SDGs as we apply our capabilities in curriculum design, teacher professional development, outreach activities and other education and outreach programs.
ESD is focused on empowering youth to act in their communities. To support this, AGI’s education and outreach activities focus on the use of real-world data and local relevance so that learners can understand how the SDGs are meaningful in their lives.
AGI continues to reach communities across the globe as it promotes geoscience awareness. For example, the 2022 Earth Science Week theme was “Earth Science for a Sustainable World,” which provided opportunities for readers to enhance their understanding of geoscience — including the professions, technologies, and practices that contribute to the sustainability of the Earth, society, and all of life. AGI desires to expand program resources, including development of digital products and activities to further engage young people and others in exploring the many ways that Earth science can and does help promote a sustainable world.
AGI facilitates the sharing of expertise and experience by geoscience professionals though webinars, face-to-face events, and other outreach approaches that highlight the work of individual geoscientists and geoscience organizations. Such strategies convey those messages to students, teachers, and members of the public across all sectors of society. For example, in 2021 AGI initiated the Earth Science Week webinar series to foreground specific areas of the geosciences related to each year’s Earth Science Week theme. In Fall 2023 AGI will initiate an Early Career Geoscience Professionals webinar series that will demonstrate the vitality and excitement to be found in the geosciences through interviews and presentations by a diverse group of professionals who have recently entered the geoscience workforce. AGI also provides training and supporting materials to professionals who are interested in working in today’s highly standards-driven K-12 classrooms.
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