Affiliated Societies and Divisions
The American Geological Institute (AGI) is proud of its long and productive relationship with the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). Not only is AGI an affiliated society of AAPG, but AAPG is also one of 46 member societies that comprise the AGI federation. These member societies provide the governance and steer the direction of AGI. In addition, our current President-elect, G. Warfield ‘Skip’ Hobbs, was nominated by AAPG after serving in leadership roles for AAPG.
AGI has a number of products, services and activities that address the needs of the broad geoscience community. One issue of increasing concern is the future geoscience workforce. The petroleum industry has referred to this as the ‘Great Crew Change’ but the concern transcends industry and impacts all components of the geosciences. AGI has a major project that has defined status and trends in geoscience employment. The following graphic shows the current demographics within the geoscience profession.
At the request of AAPG leadership, the AGI was asked to expand our workforce analysis beyond the United States and to take on a more global perspective. AGI has partnered with a number of regional and national geoscience organizations to ensure that global information on workforce is comparable and as accurate as possible.
In addition, the geosciences face challenges in retaining geoscience graduates in the profession. Only about 13% of geoscience bachelor recipients end up pursuing a career in the profession compared to about twice that percentage for other sciences and engineering. AGI feels that reducing this attrition is a major step towards solidifying the future of the geosciences, and that mentoring and career education are avenues to success. AGI recently developed an informational packet with AAPG and other societies that is designed to welcome and engage geoscience students into the profession.
Another broad concern of the societies is K-12 geoscience education. One of the central challenges is that most earth science teachers are “teaching out of field.” This means that, although well-meaning, they have neither the depth nor breath of knowledge to instill the excitement of the geosciences into their students. This is, of course, coupled with limited exposure of the earth sciences in the K-12 curriculum.
To address these education challenges, AGI, AAPG, and the Geological Society of America, with support from the National Science Foundation, held an “Earth Science Education Summit” in Houston in February 2010. The summit participants developed a strategy to address the challenges facing K-12. One major need identified was increasing professional development (PD) for teachers. Although outstanding examples of PD activities exist, including AGI-led teacher academies sponsored by BP and ExxonMobil, greater coordination and collaboration among society efforts is needed.
Another area of cooperation between AGI and AAPG is government affairs. The AAPG Director of GEO-DC, David Curtiss is housed at the AGI offices in Alexandria, Virginia. This AAPG presence has enabled many unique and collaborative efforts. For example, the Congressional Visits Day specific to the geosciences was developed cooperatively among AGI, AAPG, GSA, AGU, and SSSA (Soil Science Society of America). The second GEO-Congressional Visits Day was held last fall with approximately 50 participants and the next one is scheduled for fall 2010. It is clear that events like this are increasing the awareness of the importance of the geosciences to Congress. We encourage the membership of all of our 46 societies to participate in the visits.
At the 2009 AAPG Annual Leadership Conference, it was recognized that major geosciences meetings and events were often being scheduled at conflicting times, and thus better intersociety coordination on scheduling was needed. In response, AGI has developed a new geocalendar that not only informs users about upcoming meetings but also can be used as a planning tool to avoid conflicts. This is a tool that AGI is actively promoting with all of the member societies and other major geosciences organizations worldwide.
Cooperation and coordination has been a hallmark of the relationship between AAPG and AGI throughout the years and we foresee continued growth of opportunities to support the geosciences. More information about AGI can be found on our Web site at www.agiweb.org.