In a recent article in eCampus News, Laura Ascione lays out ten vital skills that college graduates will need to be successful in the next decade. We are proud to say that all ten of these skills are central to the major and minor programs in the Geological Sciences Department at CCSU:
“1. Sense making: The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed.” Both geology and astronomy excel in this area. Whether you are analyzing a variable star’s light curve, examining a rock under a polarizing microscope, or doing a chemical analysis on a soil sample, your ultimate goal is to put together the complete story of that star or geological formation – you are always searching for the deeper meaning.
“2. Social intelligence: The ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions.” Both the geology and astronomy curriculums are lab-based, and offer myriad opportunities to work as members of a team with fellow students and faculty. This occurs beyond the classroom as well, in research projects, public outreach, and at professional conferences.
“3. Novel and adaptive thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.” All of our students complete at least one meaningful, novel research project before graduation (some have several, with different faculty mentors!).
“4. Cross cultural competency: The ability to operate in different cultural settings.” We are particularly proud of our students’ dedication to public outreach. Students bring science from the campus to the community, sharing their knowledge with school children, families, retirees, and more. Check out examples of this in previous articles on this blog or our sister blog, ccsuniverse.
“5. Computational thinking: The ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data based reasoning.” Not only do students utilize our new computer lab in many of their courses as well as their research, but we have created a new course on Computer Applications to the Geological Sciences!
“6. New media literacy: The ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication.” Students are encouraged to take part in our Department’s social media efforts (like our blogs, Facebook, and Twitter) and to creatively utilize media in their class presentations. Increasingly professional conferences are also utilizing new media in formal presentations, such as “video posters.” We are proud to say that Professor Jen Piatek is a leader in this area!
“7. Transdisciplinary: Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines.” Our students study the natural world through the lenses of geology, astronomy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science, as well as history, economics, politics, and even popular culture! Our students write effectively and communicate clearly. They are ready for any situation.
“8. Design mindset: The ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes.” Lab experiences, field work, and research projects all prepare our students to master this important skill.
“9. Cognitive load management: The ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functions.” Making sense of large data sets, distant objects, or the deep past is essential in understanding geology and astronomy. Our students learn how to organize and connect the nitty gritty details while never losing sight of the big picture.
“10. Virtual collaboration: The ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.” Our students collaborate across multiple virtual platforms, from our Blackboard course management system to attending Skype lectures. Some collaborate on research projects with experts across the country, or on other continents.
If you want to become a part of our GSCI team and be prepared for a successful future, check out our numerous major specializations and minor programs and find the one that is a perfect fit for you!