Geoscience in Two-year Colleges > Essays

Essays on Geoscience at Two-Year Colleges

Participants in several workshops have contributed essays touching on various challenges and opportunities of teaching at two-year colleges.


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Turning challenges into opportunities: Teaching geoscience at a two-year college part of Essays
Karen Kortz, Community College of Rhode Island
There are many challenges with teaching geoscience at a two-year college, including, among others, lack of funding, lack of time, few (if any) courses beyond the introductory level, and the diverse student body. Although I could write about all of these challenges, I will focus on the diverse student body and how I use that challenge and turn it into an opportunity to better teach geoscience.

Supporting 2 Year College Geoscience Education part of Essays
taber@iris.edu
John Taber, IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) has over 100 member research universities and institutions dedicated to monitoring ...

Addressing 2YC Challenges at Portland Community College part of Essays
Frank Granshaw, Portland Community College
Challenge #1 Networking among community college geoscience educators Challenge #2 Supporting new and part-time faculty Challenge #3 Addressing the needs of the "average" student now taking our courses Challenge #4 Encouraging students interested in careers in the geosciences

COSEE - Pacific Partnerships part of Essays
Jan Hodder, Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, University of Oregon, COSEE
I am the director of one of the National Science Foundation funded Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) www.cossee.org. One of the goals of my center, COSEE Pacific Partnerships, is to increase the opportunities for community college faculty and students to learn about the ocean.

Comprehensive Earthquake Monitoring Assignment to Address Earth Science Literacy part of Essays
Pete Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College
Most students enrolled in my geology courses may never take a science class ever again, yet I find it likely that the will discuss a scientific topic at some point in their life. Therefore, I feel very strongly that students gain experience communicating moderately technical information to a variety of audiences. One challenge with my courses is that it is not until the latter third of the semester that we focus on more charismatic aspects of geological carnage and processes more obviously related to everyday life beyond igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. In response to maintaining students' interest and understanding of fundamental geologic principles and their broader implications to Earth processes, I've created an earthquake monitoring project that lasts for several weeks and culminates with a final paper. By the time the assignment is delivered, students have learned about minerals, rock forming processes (including the three major rock types) and Plate Tectonics, and they are starting to delve into learning about earthquakes. This project requires students' interpretations to be built upon the information covered earlier in the semester, to compile information regularly from the United States Geological Survey, and to practice communicating technical information to a range of audiences.

The Role of Geoscience Courses in Maryland's Associate of Arts in Teaching Degree part of Essays
Richard Gottfried, Frederick Community College
What better way to encourage greater participation of two-year colleges in geoscience education than to be a part of the teacher training process. Universities and four-year colleges have historically shouldered the responsibility of training teachers. But the number of qualified instructors has not kept up with the demand, especially in the STEM subjects. In response to this situation, Maryland has identified the two-year colleges as partners in teacher education. The result is the Associate of Arts in Teaching degree. This degree is set up so that students can articulate into a four-year program seamlessly.

The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts part of Essays
Amanda Palmer Julson, Blinn College
When I started teaching at Blinn College in the summer of 1996, I was the second of two part-time Geology instructors. Our classroom/lab was located in a converted strip mall, we had an institutional collection of about two dozen rocks stored in baby-wipe tubs, and we approached each new semester with anxiety, hoping that our classes would make.

Collaboration through Coordinated Studies Courses part of Essays
Robert Filson, Green River Community College
Many two-year college (2yc) geoscientists constitute a single-person department within a larger division of other science, math, or engineering colleagues. For many years I was the only geoscientist at Green River Community College (GRCC). We now have two full-time geoscience instructors and three adjunct instructors, but I have found that teaching with colleagues from other departments has been very rewarding and interesting.

Getting Them To Love Rocks part of Essays
JoAnn Thissen, Nassau Community College
One of the best ways to promote earth science literacy is to immerse students in their learning, to put them in situations where they must learn, not just the concepts, but also the language of science and the process of science. I teach two standard lecture/lab courses and one field course. None of these courses have prerequisites but students have previous learning as part of their Earth Science Regents level courses taught in New York State junior or senior high schools. When they come into my classes they have already been exposed to the language of science but have no real idea what it really means. They just wanted to pass the Regents exam so they could graduate. Now they're challenged to use this previous learning to apply it and become active participants in their learning. Now they are challenged to see the world they live in.

Increasing Participation in the Geosciences at El Paso Community College part of Essays
Joshua Villalobos, El Paso Community College
Community Colleges currently serve 44% of all undergraduate students and 45% of all of all first time freshmen in the US1. The combined low cost and flexibility of community colleges has also meant that they accommodate a large percentage of minorities entering higher education. Hispanics now constitute 15% of the general population and 19% of college population in the US1. This increase has led to more Institutions being designated HSI (Hispanic Serving Institutions) by the federal government, where at least 25 percent of the full-time-equivalent students are Latino.

Increasing Earth Science Literacy through Increased Awareness and Relevancy part of Essays
Lynsey LeMay, Thomas Nelson Community College
An earth science class in high school is often the last time students have had any geoscience experience prior to taking an introductory physical geology class at a two-year college. Because of the age diversity at a community college, that last earth science experience can sometimes have been over ten years ago. As a result, in my experience, many students do not recall basic earth science topics, including how earth science impacts their daily lives. Whether preparing future geology majors, or simply promoting earth science literacy, making earth science relevant to students is something that I believe has a lasting impact on all students.

Faculty-Librarian Collaborations part of Essays
Karen Berquist, College of William and Mary
What's a librarian doing at a 2yc Geoscience Workshop? Unlike you, I don't grade hundreds of pages every semester; don't hustle to prep for six or more lectures a week, and don't navigate daily challenges from administration and students. I am a geoscience educator in the broadest sense of the term. You might also call me an 'embedded librarian' in the science departments of a 4yc. There I collaborate with faculty, students, and other librarians to support their teaching and learning. Years ago that job was very collection-oriented. Now we focus on instruction and resources. Collaboration is the keyword. Just this week, the American College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Research Planning and Review Committee listed collaboration as one of the Top Ten trends in academic libraries. (June 2010 College & Research Libraries News vol. 71no. 6286)

Examinations of Time part of Workshop 2012:Essays
Kevin Mullins, Coconino County Community College
Kevin Mullins, Science Department, Coconino Community College I teach several geology classes, a Natural Disasters class and a Planetary Science class as well at a small community college with a diverse student ...

Teaching the scientific method at a community college part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Essays
Pier Bartow, Klamath Community College
Teaching the scientific method at a community college Pier Bartow, Natural Resource Systems, Klamath Community College About 4 years ago our science department at Klamath Community College (KCC) decided to ...

Enjoy making observations and being frustrated? If you answered "yes", a career in geoscience is for you! part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Essays
Becca Walker, Mt San Antonio College
Enjoy making observations and being frustrated? If you answered "yes", a career in geoscience is for you! Becca Walker, Earth Sciences and Astronomy, Mt. San Antonio College Geologists observe and ...

Why do we teach geoscience to non-majors? part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Essays
Kaatje Kraft, Mesa Community College
Why do we teach geoscience to non-majors? Kaatje Kraft, Physical Science, Mesa Community College In a recent homework assignment a student submitted about the nature of geoscience, he cited a webpage that ...

Working Toward a Statewide Transfer Agreement for Geology in Colorado part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Eleanor Camann, Red Rocks Community College
Preparing students for transfer to bachelor's degree programs in geology and related disciplines is one of my primary goals as discipline lead and the only full-time geology faculty member at Red Rocks Community College (RRCC). To that end, I have become heavily involved in curriculum development and revision at the state level in order to strengthen our courses, and have worked with faculty from other institutions to determine course requirements for an AS in Geology degree. I will focus on the latter efforts for this essay.

Identifying geoscience 'majors' at Waubonsee part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
David Voorhees, Waubonsee Community College
I have been teaching Earth Science, Geology, Astronomy and Geography full time at Waubonsee Community College for 10 years. As most of my teaching is the General Education Survey of Earth Science class, a 3-­‐credit lecture course covering physical geology, oceanography, meteorology and astronomy, I don't have many, or know of many, geoscience majors in my classes, although I have identified several over the years using various techniques, four of which are described below.

Providing Career Resources and Opportunities for 2-Year College Students to Bolster the Future Geoscience Workforce part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Heather Houlton, American Geosciences Institute
Two-year colleges play a very important role in preparing and recruiting students for programs at four-year institutions. From AGI's Status of the Geoscience Workforce Report (2011), data from 2008 indicate that nearly 50% of students who received a Bachelor's degree attended a community college, and 20% of those students received an Associate's degree...

Grand Isle Project - Model for 2 YC Research part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Sadredi Moosavi, Rochester Community and Technical College
Over the past few years my research agenda has been challenged by the hurdles facing most faculty in non-tenure track appointments; high teaching loads involving mostly lower division non-major students, lack of access to research equipment, job instability and appointment in departments that devalue teaching and those who teach general education populations by favoring research-oriented upper division faculty with policies that restrict permission to submit grant proposals to tenure track faculty...