Learn about the strategic goals of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, as well as our five departments and three research units, that serve to guide our decision-making as we train future leaders and advance earth, energy, and materials sciences and engineering.
The mission of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is to advance knowledge, talent and leadership to elucidate Earth processes and history, harness and sustain natural resources and materials, and develop novel solutions to major challenges in energy, environment and wellbeing. We continue a strong tradition of building deep disciplinary expertise along with interdisciplinary teams that focus on the interfaces of the natural science, social science, and engineering disciplines, where answers to the most pressing problems facing society await discovery.
At the heart of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is a spirit of community, engaging our students and alumni in all that we do, seeking always to create a culture of inclusivity and belonging for all, while reaching out to industrial, governmental, and community partners to identify important problems and design solutions.
The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is a vibrant, inclusive community of faculty, staff and students driven by curiosity to unlock how Earth's systems, energy and materials interact with one another and society. Our vision for the future is that EMS is where convergence happens; where students learn to plumb the depth of their chosen field while integrating their understanding across disciplinary boundaries to discover and innovate; where our faculty increasingly translate their scientific discoveries into practice, improving people's lives; where our staff, with a strong sense of belonging, support those efforts and find new solutions as challenges arise. Together with our alumni, friends, and stakeholders, we will be creating a sustainable and inclusive future for society.
The college subscribes to the Penn State Values in addition to our college values.
Penn State Values
- INTEGRITY: We act with integrity and honesty in accordance with the highest academic, professional, and ethical standards.
- RESPECT: We respect and honor the dignity of each person, embrace civil discourse, and foster a diverse and inclusive community.
- RESPONSIBILITY: We act responsibly, and we are accountable for our decisions, actions, and their consequences.
- DISCOVERY: We seek and create new knowledge and understanding, and foster creativity and innovation, for the benefit of our communities, society, and the environment.
- EXCELLENCE: We strive for excellence in all our endeavors as individuals, an institution, and a leader in higher education.
- COMMUNITY: We work together for the betterment of our University, the communities we serve, and the world.
- SAFETY AND WELLBEING: We strive to be University leaders in safety in all settings, including workplace, lab, fieldwork, and classroom striving to ensure the wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students.
- INCLUSIVITY: We prioritize fostering a diverse and equitable community in which each member knows that they belong here and is inspired to succeed.
- SUSTAINABILITY: We strive to model sustainability practices in all aspects of EMS, including our daily operations, and we embrace the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a context for the salience of our mission.
- LEADERSHIP: We strive to be recognized as ethical, unbiased, honest, credible, and collaborative leaders in all aspects of discovery, application, and dissemination of knowledge through our research, education, outreach, service, and daily operations.
- AGILITY: We advance our longstanding tradition of relevance and bolster our resilience by effectively anticipating and adapting to change in the disciplines we encompass, in the needs of our stakeholders and partners, and in the societal challenges we address.
The world is in transition, and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is in transition as well. Basic research continues as the cornerstone of innovation, while our faculty and staff actively pursue the translation of research discoveries and advances to the direct benefit of society, including engagement with local, state, national, and international stakeholders. Interdisciplinary research remains the hallmark of EMS, and its importance is elevated in a world in transition. The ways that we collaborate and the tools that we use to further our mission are also changing, and we need to create new spaces to support these novel approaches. As we manage these transitions, we need to sustain and expand our leadership position, at the University and beyond, drawing upon those attributes and traditions that make EMS great: agility, creativity, interdisciplinarity, collegiality, inclusivity, and an unwavering focus on quality. In all that we do, the safety and wellbeing of our community must be a precondition for excellence.
Global climate is changing, and society is responding through mitigation and adaptation; among those measures is a shift from a reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy. Now more than ever, a deep knowledge of the Earth system and its human dimensions, including the impacts of climate-related extreme events, of the integration of energy systems, renewable and non-renewable, of energy and environmental risk management, and of the sources and pathways of utilization of raw and recycled materials for innovative technologies are needed to guide planning for a sustainable future.
The transition to the information era has been rapid and continues to accelerate, presenting new tools and opportunities for research and education in artificial intelligence, quantum materials and computing, and big data analytics. Through immersive experiences, we can explore data in new ways and increase the accessibility of our field expeditions and training.
Global population is increasing, and in the United States, a predominant white majority is being replaced by a more diverse population, while issues of racial, social, and environmental justice rise in prominence. Now more than ever, the connections between environmental and social change, human health, food supply, education, and economy need to be revealed and the vulnerabilities they create addressed. As we strive for a more healthy, diverse, equitable, and inclusive college, we support efforts outside the University to achieve these same objectives.
Educational modes and pedagogy are also transitioning from a lecture-dominated, content-focused approach to a more engaged mode of instruction, both inside and outside the classroom. We are experiencing an increased use of high quality, intentionally designed online modalities for resident and distance instruction and a focus on transferable skills, often gained through beyond-the-classroom engagement. Our students have an increased focus on their future careers and look for guidance and training that helps them achieve those career objectives. We need to help support student progress toward on-time degree completion by offering excellent academic advising to avoid unnecessary cost and loan burden and do so while maintaining a healthy mind and body.
These transitions demand a new, innovative strategic plan for the college, one that stays true to our mission, manages our own transitions, and guides those of our stakeholders. The plan is centered on four principal goals:
- Promote curricular and co-curricular innovation to grow active, engaged and competency-based learning with a focus on career readiness.
- Build a more diverse, equitable, compassionate, and inclusive community of scholars, where members share a sense of belonging, and respect.
- Perpetuate and expand the role EMS plays as innovator and leader in signature initiatives at the University and beyond
- Improve operational resilience and critical infrastructure for research, educational, and outreach initiatives
Each of these goals is supported by several objectives and realized through action items that engage our entire community of students, faculty, and staff in advancing knowledge, talent, and leadership in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.
Lee R. Kump
John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
Goal 1: Support student life-long success
Promote curricular and co-curricular innovation to grow active, engaged and competency-based learning with a focus on career readiness.
- 1.1: Enhance undergraduate curriculum and engagement experiences
Enhance undergraduate curriculum and engagement experiences to empower students to solve important societal problems and to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed for the modern workforce.
- 1.2: Complete the restructuring of the EMS Academy for Global Experience
Complete the restructuring of the EMS Academy for Global Experience (EMSAGE, a program with three stages—protégé, practitioner and laureate) to increase and broaden participation, enhance student engagement, and act as a driver of equity.
- 1.3: Identify and reduce barriers to degree and retention
Identify and reduce barriers to time to degree and retention, and examine the overall degree completion rate for EMS undergraduate majors.
- 1.4: Increase career readiness of students
Increase career readiness of students through greater student engagement and alumni mentoring opportunities, greater communication of their experiences, and greater coordination with career services.
- 1.5: Increase research training opportunities and access to institutional resources to promote scholarly activity
Increase research training opportunities and access to institutional resources to promote scholarly activity.
- 1.6: Develop new processes and resources to support adoption of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) methods in EMS curricula
Develop new processes and resources to support adoption of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) methods in EMS curricula.
- 1.7: Grow enrollments and increase the diversity of the student body
Grow first-year enrollments and increase the diversity of the student body at both University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses through targeted recruiting in Pennsylvania, neighboring states and the District of Columbia, and greater use of virtual events and summer programs. Increase outreach to students in the Division of Undergraduate Studies at both University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses to recruit them to our majors.
Goal 2: Diverse, equitable, inclusive communities
Build a more diverse, equitable, compassionate and inclusive community of scholars, where members share a sense of belonging, and respect. Foster inclusive excellence. Reinforce Equity in our policies and practices. Encourage all faculty, staff, and students to have a personal responsibility to engage in efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I)
- 2.1: Create a sense of belonging across the College community
Create a sense of belonging across the College community.
- 2.2: Increase recruitment, hiring, retention, and success of female and URM faculty, and postdocs, and URM staff
Increase recruitment, hiring, retention, and success of female and underrepresented minority (URM) faculty, and postdocs, and URM staff.
- 2.3: Increase recruitment, enrollment, retention, and success of female and URM students
Increase recruitment, enrollment, retention, and success of female and URM students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- 2.4: Foster diversity, inclusivity, and student engagement within and beyond the curriculum
Foster diversity, inclusivity, and student engagement within and beyond the curriculum.
- 2.5: Reflect on and improve policies and practices to ensure equity for underrepresented minority, women, and other diverse faculty and staff
Align administrative policies, practices, and procedures to support diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities.
Goal 3: Global leadership in signature initiatives
Perpetuate and expand the role EMS plays as innovator and leader in signature initiatives at the University and beyond
- 3.1: Increase EMS contributions
Increase EMS contributions to research, education, and outreach for comprehensive, human-centered solutions to Grand Challenges and Sustainable Development Goals for energy, environment and materials.
- 3.2: Provide the roadmap for energy transition
Provide the roadmap for energy transition.
- 3.3: Advance implementation-science in climate change research and become the nexus of climate science research at Penn State
Advance implementation-science in climate change research and become the nexus of climate science research at Penn State.
- 3.4: Advance data analytics, uncertainty quantification, artificial intelligence, and predictive science
Advance data analytics, uncertainty quantification, artificial intelligence, and predictive science.
- 3.5: Expand EMS contributions in earth, minerals, materials and planetary science initiatives
Grow EMS impact on economic development through innovation and technology.
Goal 4: Operational resilience and infrastructure
Improve operational resilience and critical infrastructure for research, educational, and outreach initiatives
- 4.1: Grow, renew, consolidate and transform EMS physical space to be energy efficient and carbon neutral
Grow, renew, consolidate and transform EMS physical space to be energy efficient and carbon neutral.
- 4.2: Expand our safety-centric culture and foster a positive attitude towards health and safety
Expand our safety-centric culture and foster a positive attitude towards health and safety.
- 4.3: Increases awareness and knowledge about sustainability challenges
Increase awareness and knowledge about sustainability challenges.
- 4.4: Expand Business Continuity Planning and Emergency preparedness planning
Expand Business Continuity Planning and Emergency preparedness planning
- 4.5: Enhance the level of employee engagement within the College
Enhance the level of employee engagement within the College. (see also 2.1.1)
- 4.6: Develop IT Support for Research, Learning, and Outreach Activities
Develop IT Support for Research, Learning, and Outreach Activities.
Our Department and Institute Strategic Plans
- John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering
- Department of Geography
- Department of Geosciences
- Department of Materials Science and Engineering
- Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science