Professional development has been a pillar of the CSEG mandate ever since the society was founded in 1949. I’d like to take this space to recap some of the education highlights of the year, mention some of the changes that are happening, and reflect on some of the challenges facing our society in the future.
The convention technical program was strong again this year as we continue to work through the challenges of the joint convention framework. We can only benefit by integrating the disciplines in a public forum and a few years of growing pains are well worth the investment. Meanwhile outreach, rejuvenated by an active committee over the past few years, has done great work in promoting the CSEG and the career of geophysics with new career material, the ambassadors program, the Honorary Address, outreach to the schools and much more. Finally the DoodleTrain, CSEG’s continuing education week, is entering its 6th year. It now attracts experts from around the world to give short courses in Calgary for 5 days in November. Twenty six courses will be offered this year and none will be cancelled due to lack of interest. But many will be sold out well before the registration deadline of October 13.
What’s changing (and working)?
The CSEG scholarship program has encouraged and contributed to the educations of many aspiring geophysicists, myself included, since 1956. This year both the scholarship program and the Canadian Distinguished Lecture program are being operated not by the CSEG, but by the CSEG Foundation. The Foundation is a charitable trust – CSEG’s own “heritage fund” – which will eventually grow to be a self-sustaining endowment for the promotion of geophysics.
The programs I’ve mentioned are all going well, but we have our challenges too. For example – how do we support geophysical research in Canada? It’s a big country, and I can’t help but notice that students are a lot more likely to show up at the convention if their university is within driving distance of Calgary. Is there something we can do about that? Should we consider subsidizing their trip if they’re presenting a paper?
I have also been involved in selecting the CSEG Best Paper Award. That’s not as easy as it sounds. The award is reserved for published work done in Canada by a CSEG member. We no longer have a refereed journal (The Canadian Journal of Exploration Geophysics perished in 1998) and some of the good articles in the RECORDER are not eligible. For instance the article may review the work of others, be written by a non-resident, or even worse from the judges point of view, be written by a Canadian resident who is not a member of the CSEG! We could relax the restrictions – but they are there for a reason – to promote exploration geophysics in Canada. If you have ideas I’d be glad to hear them – I see the promotion of healthy geophysics programs and research at Canadian universities as a key to the future of our profession.
In closing, it has been a pleasure to serve you as director of education this year. Next year Petra Buziac takes over as education director and her enthusiasm for people and education will give a great boost to this job and the executive committee.
And don’t forget: this society runs on volunteers. If you like to meet people or you want to put something back into the society please give the office a call. Volunteer for the society – it’s very rewarding. As my mother used to say, “Many hands make light work.”