Rewarding Professional Contributions
Adopted May 2001; revised May 2009, November 2012
The Geological Society of America (GSA) affirms and supports positive contributions to geoscience, public perception of the geosciences, and the professional stature of individual geoscientists, all of which are derived from the time, effort, talent, and scholarly activity invested by geoscientists in public policy, education, and research on teaching and learning. As such, GSA recommends that geoscientists in academia and government service receive formal recognition and reward for such efforts through positive performance evaluations, reappointments, promotions, and tenure reviews. GSA also encourages support, by means of appropriate reassigned time or travel assistance, to those individual geoscientists engaged in substantive scholarly and professional activity on issues of public policy, education, and research on teaching and learning.
The purpose of this position statement is to (1) encourage members to involve themselves professionally in the domains of public policy, education, and research on teaching and learning; (2) recognize specific efforts by geoscientists directed toward the enhancement of earth science in these domains; and (3) recognize the valuable scholarship and professional activities of those members participating in the domains of public policy, education, and research on teaching and learning.
Efforts by geoscientists directed toward the better understanding of the geosciences in the arenas of public policy, education, and research on teaching and learning constitute valuable scholarship and professional activity. GSA’s recognition and support of those efforts reflect the Society’s mission to promote the geosciences. Applying the results of geoscience research in the arena of public policy and providing education at all levels improves communities and enhances society while showing the importance of public support of research geoscientists. Research on teaching and learning in the geosciences not only contributes greatly to the effectiveness and stature of geoscience education, it is a rapidly maturing research field with many external funding sources, peer-reviewed journals, and a vibrant community. Many, but far from all, academic units in the geosciences are aware of the current state and value of research on geoscience teaching and learning and its important contribution to the geoscience community at large. The Society’s explicit affirmation of the value and importance of its members’ contributions to public policy, education, and the scholarship of teaching and learning will serve to expand and inform personnel decisions based on those activities.
The Society Recommends the Following Actions
Geoscientists are encouraged to
- Engage in scholarly and service activities, including research, publications, and presentations on geology and public policy;
- Participate in policy development related to earth systems and earth processes; and
- Advance geoscience education and curricular reform and produce research, publications, and presentations on pedagogy and curricular innovation.
Supervisors, administrators, institutional/organizational leaders, and department peers are encouraged to
- Be aware of the current state and value of research on teaching and learning in geoscience and its important contribution to the geosciences community;
- Recognize and reward efforts in geoscience public policy, education, and research on teaching and learning through positive performance evaluations, reappointments, promotions, tenure consideration, and awards;
- Support by the appropriate reassigned time or travel assistance those geoscientists engaged in substantive scholarly and professional activity on issues of public policy, education, and research on teaching and learning; and
- Include these areas when establishing criteria for recognition, evaluation, advancement, promotion, and granting tenure.
Opportunities for GSA and GSA Members to Help Implement Recommendations
To strengthen and sustain the professional contributions of its members to geosciences public policy, education, and research on teaching and learning, the GSA recommends that members:
- Value the contributions of their peers in these areas of scholarship;
- Continue to stress the value and importance of contributions in these areas of scholarship to internal and external institutional stakeholders; and
- Serve in positions of academic or organizational leadership in order to recognize and reward contributions in these areas of scholarship.
Position Statements adopted by GSA Council may be used freely in their entirety by members in public policy discussions on the scientific issues to which they pertain.
About the Geological Society of America
The Geological Society of America (GSA), founded in 1888, is a scientific society with over 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA advances the geosciences, enhances the professional growth of its members, and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geologic issues, and supports all levels of earth-science education. Inquiries about GSA or this position statement should be directed to GSA’s Director for Geoscience Policy, Kasey S. White, at +1-202-669-0466 or .