Title: Enhancing Geoscience Curriculum Design: A Comparative Analysis of Critical Workforce Skills and Dispositions in Undergraduate Geoscience Programs
Abstract: This study aims to identify trends in undergraduate geoscience course instruction and assess its impact on students’ development of critical workforce skills and dispositions, with the goal of utilizing these data to enhance curricular design. The following questions will guide our research: How frequently do faculty incorporate opportunities for geoscience majors to practice desired workforce skills in their courses? To what degree do undergraduate geoscience students practice workforce skills across their degree program? How would modifying the undergraduate geoscience curriculum impact student development of workforce skills? To address these questions, we developed a synthesized list of critical workforce skills, edited and created new questions for the National Geoscience Faculty Survey (NGFS), and administered the survey to faculty in undergraduate geoscience programs at two state universities in the Pacific Northwest. I will use these data in a statistical model to assess the number of times a student in their degree program is likely to practice each skill, and investigate various geoscience curriculum design scenarios. The analysis could serve as a model for other undergraduate geoscience programs seeking to evaluate their effectiveness in preparing students for the workforce and improve their curricular design accordingly. We aspire to offer valuable insights to the broader geoscience community on how student employment and workforce needs may be better addressed by higher education.
Advisor: Karen Viskupic
Committee Members: Mark Schmitz, Anne Egger