Alexandria, Va. - Answering a community-wide call from geoscience societies and employers, an American Geoscience Institute inter-society ad hoc committee examined the issue of academic geosciences program accreditation. The committee has concluded its two years of study, and released a report that details three observations regarding the classification of college and university geoscience programs.
The committee's three major observations are about distinctive approaches: program accreditation by a board or community, classification of programs, and student competency-based badging/portfolios. All of these approaches are currently in use for managing academic programs outside of the geosciences, and could be readily adopted for use by geosciences programs. The rationale, benefits, and challenges of each approach are detailed. Much as the formation of this committee was driven by the community, the report suggests that community should determine what combination, if any, of these pathways might strengthen the geosciences into the future.
Numerous previous efforts have been attempted to assess the viability of a formal program accreditation process for the geosciences, but this report is the first that has identified defined possibilities.
The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 50 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.