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James Myers, University of Wyoming Department of Geology and Geophysics professor, is serving a one-year term as president of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NGTA).
He was elected two years ago as second vice president, served as first vice president last year and takes the reins as president this week at the Geological Society of America national meeting in Vancouver, B.C.
Founded in 1938, the NGTA works to raise the quality of and emphasis on teaching the geosciences at all levels. Members include K-12 teachers and college and university faculty members as well as educators at outlets such as museums and science centers. The organization has more than 1,300 members from the U.S. and around the world.
“Our three main goals are to improve geoscience education, to emphasize the relevance and cultural significance of the earth sciences, and to disseminate knowledge to educators and the general public,” Myers says.
He says this is accomplished through professional development opportunities, publications, scholarship and awards and sponsored sessions and events, including organizing the technical program in geoscience education at every Geological Society of America annual meeting.
At UW, Myers conducts research involving igneous petrology (the study of the origin of igneous rocks particularly in the volcanic Aleutian arc), geological carbon sequestration and geoscience education. He has conducted professional development programs on the energy and environment for Wyoming K-12 teachers as well as university and college faculty from across the nation.
He says today’s students face a job market in which they will likely change jobs many times during their careers.
“Consequently, students need communication, critical thinking and problem solving skills,” he says. “A class is more valuable if it provides students with the opportunities to learn these skills.”
Myers received a B.S. degree (1973) at the University of Rhode Island, and M.A. (1977) and Ph.D. (1979) degrees at Johns Hopkins University.