Call For Posts, Accretionary Wedge #38: Back to School

A post by Anne Jefferson‘Tis the season when professors write their syllabi and lead their first classes, when students decide whether to take that elective in geophysics or the one in hydrogeology, and when professional and armchair geologists…well, I don’t know what they do, because I’ve been a student or professor for as long as I can remember. In any case, it is a time of year that provokes anticipatory excitement, feelings of nostalgia, and wishes for wisdom.

In this spirit, I’m calling for posts on theme of “back to school” for the next Accretionary Wedge. But this carnival isn’t really about curriculum and textbooks, and there won’t be a final exam! Instead, I’m thinking about the things that we don’t often learn or teach in school but that may turn out to be quite important in the real world. I’m envisioning a carnival in which we all get a chance to give and get advice and share stories about geosciences education and careers. I’m hoping that this collection of posts can be a resource for people falling in love with rocks, or water, or maps and trying to figure out how to turn that infatuation into a career.

I’m going to list below a series of the top-of-the head questions that I think fit the theme I’m envisioning, but feel free to add or interpret as you see fit. Please submit your posts by the time you go to bed on Friday, 30 September, and I’ll compile and post the carnival in the first week of October.

If you are a current or future student… what do you want to know about life and careers in the geosciences? Are there things you aren’t getting to learn or do in classes that you think are important? What sort of experiences do you want to get out of school and how do you think school can or should help you prepare for a career?

If you are a professor… what do you wish your students would ask? What do you think they should know, regardless of whether it is formally taught and assessed? Do you think we’re doing a good job preparing our students for think future jobs? What should you and I and other geosciences profs be doing better? Do you want to see more involvement from alumni or others in industry and government?

If you are outside academia… what needs do you see for the rising generation of geoscientists? What skills and concepts are essential? Are there skillsets that we aren’t doing a good job of imparting on students? How important are things like communication and quantitative skills versus specific knowledge about rocks/water/maps? If you could go to a group of undergraduate geosciences majors and give them advice, what would you tell them? What would you tell their professors?

If you are a geology enthusiast but not professional… what do you wish you could get in additional formal and informal education? What would you like from geosciences students, faculty, and professionals that would make your enthusiasm more informed and more fun?

For anyone… if you could go back to any point in your education and do it over, what would you do differently? Why?

Chalkboard with text

What one group of grad students came up with from the prompt "How is science really done"

Categories: bloggery, by Anne

Comments (22)

  1. Brian Romans says:

    this is a great idea … I might actually put the work into participating in this one (I’ve been slacking for several months)

  2. Matt Hall says:

    My favourite Wedge theme yet, great choice. Feeling inspired…

  3. Dana Hunter says:

    Okay. Here ’tis: Adorers of the Good Science of Rock-breaking. This topic demanded more of me than almost any other, and I love you for it. 😉

  4. Ryan Brown says:

    Here’s my contribution to the latest Accretionary Wedge!

  5. Matt Hall says:

    I’m very grateful for the motivation to write something that’s been on my list for a while. Here’s my effort for AW38.

    Really looking forward to reading the others in this thread!

  6. Maitri says:

    Great, deep, insightful topic. This was a real pleasure to write! Kicked myself into gear to keep taking my own advice. Here you go:

  7. denise says:

    Here is my contributions:


  8. Charles says:

    Here’s my contribution to AW-38: What Teaching Has Taught Me About Learning.

  9. Julia says:

    In, hopefully before you’ve started writing the post!

    The Truth About Fieldwork Data Collection on Stages Of Succession.

    Links (6)
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