David Mogk

2000 Excellence in Earth and Space Science Education Award Winner

David W. Mogk was awarded the 2000 Excellence In Geophysical Education Award at the AGU Spring Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on June 2, 2000, in Washington, D.C. The award acknowledges a sustained commitment to excellence in geophysical education by a team, individual, or group.


“David W. Mogk is one of the most energetic leaders in the geosciences today. One should be careful when signing on to work with someone who runs marathon-length races over mountain ranges with no trail Dave’s work in the classroom, community, professional societies, and the National Science Foundation has had a major impact on science education in this country. His accomplishments range from implementation of lecture-free learning and alternative assessments in his own classroom to mentoring junior faculty, to major advisory roles in systemic K-12 science education reform, to leadership in establishing the geosciences as a central player in science education. You can do a lot with the stamina gained from running ridges.

“Dave is both a leader and a visionary in geoscience education. In 1995, Dave became the first geoscientist in the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). His energy and vision brought a geoscience perspective to a large array of programs while substantially increasing the visibility of geosciences in the division. He has also served in leadership roles in other geoscience organizations. Dave’s most far-reaching accomplishment to date has been marshaling representatives from the entire geoscience educational community to formulate a unified vision of Earth science education. Recognizing that the Earth sciences could not play a central role in science education if they did not work together as a group, Dave urged the AGU to draw together educators from all of the disciplines in its membership to craft a vision for the future of undergraduate Earth science education. The resulting report, published in 1997 and titled Shaping the Future of Undergraduate Earth Science Education–Innovation and Change Through an Earth System Approach, has influenced changes on scales from individual classrooms to nationwide programs.

“A major outcome of the Shaping the Future report is the newly founded Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE). This community-based effort is bringing together those involved in geoscience education at all levels–K-12, undergraduate, and beyond–to build a digital resource in support of learning about the Earth. The recommendations of Shaping the Future and the bridges between DUE and the Geosciences Directorate (GEO) established when Dave served at NSF were fundamental to initiating this effort. As might be expected, Dave has been involved from the outset, coauthoring the first paper describing the library, helping with a workshop process to develop a community vision of the library, editing the DLESE Community Plan, and hosting the first annual DLESE Community Meeting.

“Equal in importance to Dave’s vision are his efforts to assist faculty in implementing effective teaching practices. John Brady, co-organizer of the Teaching Mineralogy workshop held in 1995, notes that Dave ‘was the moving force behind the whole project.’ This workshop had a major impact in changing instruction in mineralogy, one of the most criticized courses in the geology curriculum. Dave has been a Distinguished Speaker for the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and is a leader in the NAGT Workshops for Early Career Faculty. In light of the expanded role for Earth science education recommended by the National Science Education Standards, Dave has been particularly concerned that the geoscience community provide high-quality instruction for future teachers and has worked closely with the Montana Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation.

“Dave leads by example. His teaching skills have been recognized by Montana State University with two awards. He has effectively implemented field experiences, service learning, inquiry-based instruction, computer-assisted learning, and alternate assessment in his courses. To bring inquiry-based instruction using modern analytical techniques to his mineralogy and petrology students, Dave raised funds and installed both standard analytical equipment for the geosciences and a highly sophisticated laboratory in conjunction with the Chemistry Department. “A summary of Dave’s accomplishments would not be complete without mention of the role model he presents for students and colleagues. Dave is an exciting leader at the same time that he is an excellent collaborator. He is dedicated to both scientific research and education and has served tirelessly as a volunteer for the good of these communities. He is an outstanding teacher and a friend to all. We congratulate him on receiving the AGU Excellence in Geophysical Education Award.”

—R. HEATHER MACDONALD and CATHRYN A. MANDUCA, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va., USA; Carleton College, Northfield, Minn


“It is with heartfelt thanks that I accept the American Geophysical Union Award for Excellence in Geophysical Education. Education, in a broad sense, is at the core of all of our professional activities—in our publications and presentations at national meetings, on our field trips and at short courses, in formal classroom settings, and through informal communications in the public discourse. Education adds value to the scientific enterprise through the sharing of new discoveries and new knowledge with broader audiences, it serves to prepare the next generation of scientists, and it informs a skeptical public about the relevance of the products of our scientific investigations. Education is essential to the health and well-being of our community of geoscientists.

“I’d like to thank the geosciences community for its support of my own efforts on behalf of geoscience education. As I reflect on my career path, I’m thankful for the investment that this community has made in my professional development, and I’m thankful that I’ve been able to return some of that investment with interest. In particular, for so many diverse opportunities, I’d like to thank my parents, who took me on hikes and let me fill my pockets with stones; my middle school science teacher, Jim Ireton, who let me use the lapidary equipment before class; high school teacher, Jack Edwards, who first let me actually do science; my mentors at the University of Michigan, Don Peacor, Eric Essene, and Rob van der Voo, who provided the fundamentals; advisors at the University of Washington, Bernard Evans, Stu McCallum, and Tony Irving, who further helped me along the path of scientific discovery; colleagues at Montana State University, Bill Locke and Steve Custer, who helped me experiment with new classroom activities; and my students for their forbearance as these experiments unfolded. Most important, with respect to this award, thanks to my colleagues in geoscience education, Heather Macdonald, Barb Tewksbury, Ed Geary, Frank Ireton, and Ed Mathez—each continues to help me learn more about learning. I have had the good fortune of working at NSF with Mike Mayhew and Dottie Stout, who have enabled new opportunities for geoscience education. The two most important contributions I’ve made to geoscience education, Shaping the Future of Undergraduate Earth Science Education, and now the Digital Library for Earth Science Education, simply could not have been done without the shared vision, energy, and support of my coconspirator and partner, Cathryn Manduca, and to her I am especially grateful. And finally, thanks to my children, Dylan and Emily, who keep me young, and to my wife, Gwendy Stuart, for her patient understanding.

“The activities in geoscience education that I’ve engaged toward earning this award have really been a community effort. And the best is yet to come! I am indebted to the many friends and colleagues who have made so many contributions along the way. On their behalf, I proudly accept the AGU Award for Excellence in Geophysical Education.”

—DAVID MOGK, Montana State University, Bozeman