AGU Education Section News

2021 Education Section Goals: Views from President-elect Kristen St. John

By Stacie Bender posted 16 days ago

K. St. John, AGU Education Section President-elect, 2021-2023
K. St. John, AGU Education Section President-elect, 2021-2023

2021 AGU Education Section Goal: Strengthen the Earth and Space Science Education and Research Community

I’m happy to be joining the Section leadership team as the new president-elect. Since November, I participated in sectional executive committee meetings, as well as AGU Council meetings. Those opportunities showed me how much support there is for the Education Section, and how much potential there is for our Section to help advance Earth and space science education and education research initiatives. 

The Section membership comprises a broad community: Earth and space science educators from across the graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 levels; outreach specialists who serve the public-at-large; scholars who develop and test curriculum and instruction methods; and discipline-based education researchers who integrate cognitive, behavioral, social, and educational theories and methods to study Earth and space science teaching and learning. The knowledge and skills within this community are diverse and deep, and therefore so is the potential to learn from each other. Enhancing the ability for members to connect with and learn from each other, and building bridges between our Section and other geoscience organizations are goals we can propel forward this year.  

Here are some small and large concrete ways we hope to make progress in the new year:

  • Strategies and resources for Earth and space science student recruitment: The Earth and space sciences is the least diverse of all of the STEM disciplines. This is a complex cultural, educational, and workforce development challenge that needs to be addressed. One step towards addressing this challenge is establishing a sense of belonging for all current and future students in Earth and space science. We would like to compile your strategies on student recruitment and sense of belonging to share with our community. 

  • Strategic planning for Education Section sessions at the Fall 2021 meeting: We are interested in coordinated Education Section sessions under a number of big umbrella themes to group and draw attention to important education topics. Let us know what themes you want to see.

  • Connecting and learning from each other throughout the year: We want to develop opportunities to extend community benefits beyond the Fall meeting. One possibility is to offer webinars with Q&A sessions around topics of interest (e.g., strategies for diversity, equity, and inclusion; career paths outside of academia). What other topics would be of interest to you? 

  • Connecting with other education and education research organizations: We are interested in building bridges with other organizations to design and co-host activities on topics of mutual interest. For example, organizing a conference about pedagogy through the AGU Chapman (and GSA equivalent) conference program is one avenue we plan to explore. If you are members of other education organizations and would like to help be a ‘bridge-builder’ please let us know.   

I look forward to working with the rest of the Section leadership team and Section members on these and other initiatives for the new year. I also welcome your comments and suggestions (stjohnke {at} jmu {dot} edu). 

Kristen St. John

President-Elect, AGU Education Section