Acute Demand for U.S. Geoscientists Prompts Call for Higher Ed Action
Boulder, CO, USA – A recent American Geosciences Institute workforce evaluation estimates that by 2021, some 150,000 to 220,000 geoscience jobs will need to be filled. The AGI report notes that at current graduation rates, most of these jobs will not be able to be filled by U.S. citizens.
Citing great concern about the acute need for well-trained, well-educated geoscience graduates to fill the geoscience workforce, Geological Society of America President John Geissman is calling for colleges and universities to recognize the value of strong, adequately supported geoscience departments. High-quality geoscience education, Geissman notes, is essential to understanding and adequately addressing the “very pressing needs of our society,” including sustainability and human-caused climate change, as well as keeping the growing number of geoscience jobs filled by U.S. citizens.
Included in his call for action, Geissman refers to two very recently approved GSA Position Statements that focus on the importance of teaching earth science and expanding and improving geoscience education in institutions of higher learning.
Both position statements are online at www.geosociety.org/positions/. All GSA position statements include suggestions for how to implement and support the call to action.
“The Importance of Teaching Earth Science” recognizes that basic knowledge of earth science is essential to meeting the environmental challenges and natural resource limitations of the twenty-first century and notes that earth-science education should begin at the K–12 level and include advanced classes led by well-qualified science teachers.
“Expanding and Improving Geoscience in Higher Education” calls specifically for robust, well-supported geoscience departments not only to ensure an increase in the number of geoscience students available to the workforce but also to provide the training necessary “to address crucial societal issues that have the potential to impact global economic security and the well-being of human populations” across the globe.
John Geissman is a professor at The University of Texas at Dallas, emeritus professor at the University of New Mexico, and Geological Society of America president through 30 June 2012.
The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in 103 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.