Announcing the College of Fellows: A Program to Collectively Support Members in Career Development and Promoting Excellence in the Earth and Space Sciences


Authors: Rana Fine (chair of the COF steering team – moving forward) and Ana Barros (chair of the COF Task Force – creation of the COF)

First and foremost, we’d like to offer our sincere congratulations to this year’s newly announced 2017 Class of Fellows. This year, 61 AGU members joined a distinguished group, receiving an honor that is bestowed each year on an extremely select group (just 0.1 percent each year) of individual AGU members who have made exceptional contributions to Earth and space sciences. The program began in 1962 and today, there are nearly 1,400 living AGU Fellows.

While the title, “AGU Fellow” brings a certain weight and recognition to those who have been honored, there hasn’t been a clear path for AGU Fellows to collectively support education, community engagement and outreach opportunities for AGU members and promote excellence in our science. We recognized that missed opportunity and in April 2016, AGU’s Board convened a taskforce of AGU members to explore opportunities for engaging this highly respected and prominent group of members in ways that could benefit all AGU members. The task force spent a year and three months surveying current living Fellows and developing a mission and goals for this new program. Today, we’re proud to announce the creation of the AGU College of Fellows.

You may be asking, what is the College of Fellows? The College of Fellows program is new in the sense that AGU has formally given the group a name and a mission. The AGU Board recently selected a steering team of 16 fellows who will lead and shape the efforts and responsibilities of the College moving forward. While any member who is an AGU Fellow is automatically a member of the College of Fellows, participation in the College’s activities is voluntary. Ultimately, the College of Fellows aims to support the career development of scientists across all career stages and promote excellence and increased diversity within the Earth and space science community. The task force selected the following primary activities for the College based on input from current Fellows, including:

  • a mentorship program for students and early career scientists; co-chairs
  • a distinguished traveling lecture series; co-chairs
  • participation in Centennial activities; co-chairs and
  • an established Town Hall session at 2017 Fall Meeting co-chairs

Although the full scope of these programs has yet to be completely fleshed out, these efforts will be guided by the above four distinct subcommittees. If you are an AGU Fellow and have any interest in participating in one of the subcommittees, please send us an email. We expect the College of Fellows to bring great value to all AGU members and allow AGU Fellows to lend their expertise and reach out to the Earth and space science community even more broadly. We’ll plan to keep AGU’s membership informed as things progress and, we encourage you to participate in the upcoming Town Hall at 2017 Fall Meeting as one of the first opportunities to engage with the College of Fellows.


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