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Gregory Shafer Dissertation Proposal

April 13 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT

 Utilizing Job Advertisements to Promote Workforce Success of Recent Geoscience Undergraduates

Abstract: Preparing graduates to enter the workforce is a critical goal of undergraduate geoscience degree programs. Well documented efforts by geoscience departments to promote undergraduate success range from providing students with adequate opportunities to practice workforce skills to creating a more inclusive community environment; however, the skills and competencies desired by geoscience employers are under-studied, and it is unclear if efforts by the geoscience community to be more inclusive, particularly regarding persons with disabilities, have translated to geoscience employers. Job advertisements provide direct communication between an employer and potential candidates, and are used to state what skills and competencies are critical for the advertised position. Applicants use job adverts to make inferences about their suitability for a job and about the potential employer. Here, we propose to use a combination of online geoscience job advertisements, employer interviews, and Bayesian modeling to describe initial interactions between geoscience employers and applicants, quantify the most in demand geoscience workforce skills, and model the success of department efforts to prepare geoscience undergraduates for the workforce. Preliminary results show field skills, written communication, planning, and data collection are currently the most in demand workforce skills for bachelor’s level geoscientists. Additionally, preliminary results suggest that geoscience job adverts may cause students to feel disadvantaged, restrict their applications, or dismiss geoscience careers if they have physical limitations. Our goal is to provide the geoscience community with expectations of potential employers for recent graduates seeking a career in geoscience. Furthermore, we hope our results will prompt departments and programs to consider how critical workforce skills are incorporated into undergraduate degree programs, and will prompt employers to explore alternative strategies to promote a more inclusive geoscience workforce.

Advisor: Karen Viskupic

Co-Advisor: Anne Egger, David Wilkins, Mark Schmitz