Many of the core activities of a professional association are directed towards the education and academic development of its members, the broader groundwater community and the general public. For IAH, this has historically included our congresses, books and journal publications and the work of our commissions, together with events and activities of our national chapters. In recent years, however, we have become aware that more could be achieved to meet individuals’ expectations, particularly given advancements in technology.
In response to the Forward Look, member surveys and comments raised from the trial of IAH’s mentoring scheme, as well as the introduction of our new web platform, in 2013 a working group was set up to undertake a feasibility study of the options for provision of training courses and educational materials overall. The group (in alphabetical order) consisted of:
- Bruce Misstear, Ireland (Chair; IAH Executive)
- Daniel Nkhuwa, Zambia (African Groundwater Network)
- Suzanne Pierce (US National Chapter)
- Viviana Re, Italy (Early Career Hydrogeologists’ Network)
- Andrew Stone, USA (Commission on Groundwater Outreach)
- Andrzej Witkowski (Polish Chapter)
The group’s activities included a survey of on-line training resources and web-based educational materials,
and seeking member’s views via the newsletter and an on-line survey in April 2014.
A report on the group’s work was presented to Council in Marrakech (September 2014), with recommendations which included the following:
- Creating a separate “Education and Training” banner on the IAH website home page, for easy identification
- Preparing a list of hydrogeology degree courses available around the world, with links to course information from the IAH website
- Listing short courses, field courses and webinars organised by national chapters
- Developing an IAH YouTube channel
- Linking with existing webinar providers to produce IAH-branded talks
- Compiling an international panel of experts willing to give their time to contribute to short courses organised by national chapters
- Preparing IAH-branded educational materials
- Developing a series of short thematic papers on key strategic topics to increase awareness of groundwater issues
Council warmly thanked the working group for its productive work and comprehensive report, and accepted the recommendations. The findings of the working group were also outlined to members at the Annual General Meeting in Marrakech and in the December 2014 edition of News and Information.
Under the overall Forward Look Action Plan, a small budget was established which will be used over the next three years to take up and implement these recommendations. Each of the proposed products or resources will require careful attention and efforts to define target audiences.
Training and educational sessions are already taking place at IAH congresses organised by IAH’s Early Career Hydrogeologist’s Network (ECHN), as well as by IAH’s topic based commissions and networks, and regionally via some of our National Chapters. You may have read reports from these in our newsletters and online. IAH will continue to encourage these and welcomes comments and suggestions.
After a period of “bedding in” for IAH’s web platform, we are about to engage in further stages of development, with educational and professional development at the fore.
Your help and support needed
IAH’s plans are ambitious. Even with an active working group, these cannot be realised without the support and participation of our members and the groundwater community. If you have suggestions, or would be able to offer some of your time towards any of the recommendations listed above, please do get in touch.