Skill Qualifications

Introduction

By design, academic curricula emphasize theory, critical thinking, and problem solving. These are vital educational aids in the career of a hydrologist. However, hydrology is a professional practice that includes specific skill sets that can only be obtained and mastered through demonstration, practice, and play. Developing skills leads to basic professional proficiency, but high-level critical thinking by a professional hydrologist actually requires a mastery of practice hand-in-hand with a mastery of theory. Academic programs generally have no specific framework aimed at developing professional skills.

Scientific research spanning decades has shown that people learn more effectively when challenged with more frequent, smaller assignments. For example, a study of dental students taking introductory radiology found that the 36 students who took frequent quizzes performed significantly better on the midterm and final exam than an equivalently sized control group that did not (Geist and Soehren, 1997, J Den Edu 61:339). They also assessed course content and the instructor more positively. The more people work on something and receive recognition for their efforts, the more invested they feel, and the more satisfied they are.

Throughout society there exist sequential progressions that recognize and reward attainment of objectives and experiences. Ranks, merits, promotions, and achievements are four examples of such rewards. For example, professors in the University of California system receive “merits” for incremental progress and “promotions” for cumulative significant accomplishments. Frequent small rewards are also imbedded in many programs aimed at changing behavior as well as retaining participation and attention.

On the basis of these considerations, HSGG has instituted Skill Qualifications (SQs) that reward professional development. This program began July 1, 2013.

Purpose

To provide an incentive-based mentoring framework for graduate students to learn and gain experience in a breadth and depth of skills necessary in professional hydrologic practice.

Categories of Skill Qualifications

There are seven categories of Skill Qualifications available.  Each one has its own web page listing the individual SQs. The categories include field, lab, modelling, data analysis, scholar, benefactor, and holistic.  This diversity reflects the breadth of skills used by professional hydrologists.  Many times an individual project will require a mix of skills, but a good starting point is to develop each skill individually.

Types of Skill Qualifications

Skill Qualifications falls into two distinct types: experiences and challenges.  Experience SQs recognize and reward students for hard work and cumulative effort.  Experience promotes wisdom (e.g., recognizing practical constraints and opportunities in performing professional activities) and confidence (e.g., knowing that one is capable of accomplishing the task at hand).  Challenge SQs recognize and reward students for skill and productivity, which also build confidence.

Procedures

All SQs listed below are available for students to work on, except those highlighted in yellow that are pending development. A graduate student may begin working on an SQ at any time.  Current students may use past activity to receive pins, but must document the activity per the requirements below.

Graduate students are encouraged to earn SQs through volunteerism in aid of the research of their peers. Progress toward SQs or even whole SQs may be attained as part of academic courses.

To earn an Experience SQs, a student must document the activities they perform in writing (include photos, graphs, etc. when appropriate) and submit that documentation to their faculty mentor (aka major professor) along with any assigned products for an SQs, preferably in digital format.

Use the MS Word SQ evidence template file to compile all the information for your SQ submissions.  Use one file for each SQ submission- do not put multiple SQs into a single file. If some of the eivdence does not fit into this file, then save the additional evidence as a PDF file and submit it along with the template file.

Your faculty mentor will review the documentation and approve it by submitting it to the Graduate Group (if s/he does not approve, then no submission will occur). The Graduate Group will review the digital documentation, append it to a certificate, lock and digitally sign the certificate, and send the final certified SQ outcome to the student.  This yields a permanent record of the work done to achieve the SQ along with the certificate itself.  Students may provide these certifications to potential employers to demonstarte their skills and experience.

To earn a Challenge SQs, a student must document the activities they perform in writing (include photos, graphs, etc. when appropriate) and submit that documentation in digital format to the HSGG faculty member that hosts the challenge.  The host faculty member will evaluate the performance and if it meets the expectation of the challenge, then s/he will approve it by forwarding it on to the Graduate Group.  The Graduate Group will review the digital documentation, append it to a certificate, lock and digitally sign the certificate, and send the final certified SQ outcome to the student. This yields a permanent record of the work done to achieve the SQ along with the certificate itself.  Students may provide these certifications to potential employers to demonstarte their skills and experience.

SQs and the names of the people who have earned them will be listed on an HSGG web page as soon as possible at the convenience of the Grad Group web programmer.

Some SQs may require mentoring, supplies, money, or equipment from faculty. Faculty may not be able to participate or help out, depending on individual circumstances. Please be respectful in seeking assistance.