Texas A&M University’s College of Geosciences has teamed up with the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin and the American Geophysical Union Office of Education and Career Services in a project to improve geoscience education for Texas high school students.
The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is known as “Diversity and Innovation for Geosciences in Texas” (DIG Texas). Led by the university’s two geosciences deans — Kate C. Miller at Texas A&M and Sharon Mosher at the Jackson School — the group has worked together to establish a community of geoscientists and educators across Texas.
“The collaboration is designed to improve opportunities at the graduate and undergraduate level by joining geosciences departments across Texas into a coherent network, and also to work toward improved geosciences literacy among Texas high school science teachers,” says Eric M. Riggs, assistant dean of Texas A&M’s College of Geosciences.
The University of Texas has a model earth and space science “capstone course” that is an option to fulfill the fourth year of science required for graduation under the state’s recommended graduation plan, explains Kathy Ellins, a geoscience education researcher at the Jackson School of Geosciences’ Institute for Geophysics.
“DIG Texas aims to boost the capacity of Texas schools to offer Earth and space science through effective teacher professional development programs that provide highly qualified earth science teachers,” she adds.
More details regarding the project are available here.
The two universities also will jointly host educators from across the state as part of long-established student recruitment programs. Texas A&M’s event is Aggieland Saturday, an open house scheduled for Feb. 18 offering information session, campus tours and other help for prospective students and their parents.
DIG Texas network representatives will be at Texas A&M Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18, for Aggieland Saturday and to learn more about the university’s graduate and undergraduate programs, meet geosciences faculty and talk to current students. Some of the DIG Texas group also will bring students with them.
In return, Texas A&M will participate in the University of Texas’ recruitment weekend, planned for March.
Organizers with the College of Geosciences say this collaboration gives Texas A&M the opportunity to showcase its collective programs and present a unified vision of the geosciences in Texas.
They add that the partnering universities have the flagship geosciences programs in Texas and are recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in both science and education. In addition, the American Geophysical Union sets a national standard of excellence in geosciences research and education.
Both institutions have long histories of initiatives to enhance diversity in geosciences, officials note, and DIG Texas representatives say they expect to lead to a network of professionals excited about working for a more diverse and better prepared population of students entering geosciences.
Media contact: Karen Riedel, College of Geosciences, at (979) 845-0910; Tura King, Division of Marketing &Communications, at (979) 845-4670; Eric M. Riggs at (979) 845-3651; Kathy Ellins, Jackson School of Geosciences, UT-Austin