Strategic Plan Education Pillar - Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences - Purdue University Skip to main content

Strategic Plan Pillars: Education

Building a Better Educational Experience

Undergraduate Adriana Brown with her NGRREC poster, presenting her findings at the annual Intern Symposium.

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences has a reputation for excellence in undergraduate education in geology & geophysics and atmospheric, environmental, and planetary science, producing students who are sought after by graduate programs and employers. Though we have ample reason to be proud of our program, we also recognize that these fields are evolving, and with them the knowledge and skills necessary for success, including the ability to work in and help promote a diverse culture. EAPS is committed to increasing the diversity of Under-Represented Minorities (URMs) amongst its students and promoting an equitable and inclusive educational environment that will enable everyone to reach their potential. The implementation tasks to accomplish diversity and equity goals are outlined in the Diversity Pillar. Here we introduce initiatives where our program can evolve to improve the experience of our students by enabling our educational program to be more interdisciplinary, efficient, and expansive.

Improve the Undergraduate Majors’ Experience

EAPS is committed to producing undergraduate students who are well-trained in theory and practice within their chosen field, competitive for employment or graduate school, and who recognize the interrelationships among Earth and planetary processes. Though our program is already strong in these areas, realization of these goals can be increased through improvements to our curriculum and more opportunities for out of the classroom experiences.

Key Implementation Tasks:

  • Continue to evolve undergraduate curriculums for clarity and efficiency to reduce overlap and find opportunities for consolidation, enable expansion of material covered, foster smoother transitions between related courses, and enable students to complete requirements earlier in their academic careers.
  • Encourage cross-discipline courses to broaden student backgrounds, promote more interactions and opportunities for collaboration between research groups, and increase enrollments.
  • Maximize field experience by developing revenue streams to provide the necessary funding, including field oriented educational proposals and funds raised from alumni and industry partners.
  • Ensure accessible field experiences for undergraduate students by providing communal field equipment and accommodating those with disabilities in field experience design and implementation.
  • Provide experiential (community integrated) opportunities to connect students and department with local and other targeted communities.

Improve the Graduate Student’s Experience

EAPS is committed to producing graduate students who can do independent, interdisciplinary world-class research, become leaders in the field, be highly qualified for employment in industry, research, or academia, and address societal grand challenges. Though our program is already strong in these areas, realization of these goals can be increased through improvements to our curriculum and more opportunities for out of the classroom experiences.

Key Implementation Tasks:

  • Encourage cross-discipline courses to broaden student choices and backgrounds, promote more interactions and opportunities for collaboration between research groups, and increase enrollments.
  • Maximize field experience by developing revenue streams to provide the necessary funding, including field oriented educational proposals and funds raised from alumni and industry partners.
  • Ensure accessible field experiences for graduate students by providing communal field equipment and accommodating those with disabilities in field experience design and implementation.
  • Provide experiential (community integrated) opportunities to connect students and department with local and other targeted communities.
  • Provide competitive graduate student salaries.
  • Provide robust professional development (e.g., grant writing, science communication).
  • Facilitate a healthy and inclusive research environment.

Increase Faculty Teaching Efficiency

A key to an effective educational program is the efficient utilization of faculty time as they seek to balance teaching, research, and outreach responsibilities. To that end we will implement tasks that recognize that the best balance of faculty time is dependent on the level and interests of the faculty and the teaching needs of the department.

Key Implementation Tasks:

  • Reduce teaching loads for junior and research active faculty while increasing loads for faculty who prefer a teaching-centric program; recognizing that all rolls are of equal importance to the department.
  • Increase co-teaching to better enable faculty to balance non-teaching commitments, provide redundancy for unplanned absences, and provide students with a broader spectrum of expertise.
  • Maintain a robust core of Professors of Practice to alleviate teaching loads of junior and research active faculty.
  • Determine the optimal structure for graduates and undergraduate TA support for department courses and develop a consistent revenue stream to afford that structure.
Goals/Metrics:
  • 90% of undergraduate and graduate students employed in field or graduate school upon graduation.
  • 70% of undergraduates gain research/presentation, field, and experiential experience prior to graduation.
  • Design and conduct exit interviews with graduate students
  • Minimize overlap between course offerings.

 

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