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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Kaatje Kraft part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Affective Domain:Workshop 07:Workshop Participants
Kaatje Kraft, Whatcom Community College
Physical Science, Mesa Community College Homepage What are the key issues related to the role of the affective domain in teaching geoscience that you would like to engage at the workshop? The cultural & ...

How CCSF broadens geoscience participation part of Essays
Katryn Wiese, City College of San Francisco
Community colleges are the location of choice for community education (post graduate), job certificates, and future graduates looking for the most affordable educational path. As such, we have the unique opportunity to become an integral part of a community and serve it at all levels. We are educators in a wide range of capacities – and our doors are open to all. We work with K-12 teachers and their classrooms; local science workshops; local news organizations; local parks; municipal services; politicians; and surrounding 4-year institutions to which our students transfer.

Fostering Communication Among 2-year College Geoscience Faculty: Trials and Tribulations part of Essays
John Bartley, Muskegon Community College
Ten years ago, I was a participant in the first planning workshop for broadening participation of 2-year colleges in geoscience education. Since then, some changes have taken place to improve things for 2-year college geosciences, but many of the concerns and problems shared among the participants at that first conference are still with us—limited resources, professional isolation, the absence of a national organization devoted to 2YC geoscience education issues, etc.

Learning from Outside part of Essays
William Van Lopik, College of Menominee Nation
Teaching geoscience in a tribal college has its own challenges and mazes that must be circumvented. These difficulties often relate to the meshing of two different unique forms of teaching and learning. The predominant native student body has a different "way of knowing" than the non-native professor who has been steeped in the objective, predictable knowledge system of western science. These differences are best characterized by the difference between indigenous knowledge and the scientific method. I am not one to say that one is better than the other, only that they are two distinct perspectives. An integration of the two is required in order for students to appreciate and understand the geosciences. The symbiosis between these two ways of thinking is called "integrative science." The challenge for the instructor is to design and teach their class in such a matter that is receptive and interesting based upon the students' way of learning.

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.

Why do we teach geoscience to non-majors? part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Essays
Kaatje Kraft, Whatcom 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Building Success Skills into an Oceanography Curriculum part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Lynsey LeMay, Thomas Nelson Community College
Student success and developing those necessary skills in students extends beyond the geosciences and while I use geoscience topics, I work to address and develop cross-curricular success skills throughout assignments all semester. This is true in all classes that I teach, but I will describe how this has been built into the introduction to oceanography classes at Thomas Nelson Community College.

Steps towards Creating an Engaging Earth Science Curriculum part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Eriks Puris, Portland Community College
When I teach I strive to "put the phenomena first" and to "put observations before explanations" I do this not because I want to, but because I have found it to work. Initially in my teaching I stressed the understanding and appreciation of the basic physical and chemical processes which underlie the workings of the Earth, unfortunately this approach did not get me far with community college students. Eventually by trial and error I found it important to describe what I was explaining before explaining it. In retrospect this is less than surprising, but at the time it was an important realization to me! I have found students to be more likely to 'bite' and engage in learning if I begin with specific examples which are accessible and relevant to the students.

Student Response Devices and Online Homework to Support Geoscience Student Success in Traditional Lectures, Distance Learning and Online part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Bill Richards, North Idaho College
At this institution, the majority of students enroll in a geoscience course to fulfill a laboratory science requirement for the Associates' degree and mostly in Physical Geology (approx. 140 per semester and 40 during the summer session) and Physical Geography (approx. 120 per semester and 30 during summer session). Many 2yc students are not prepared for the level of "active learning" necessary to be successful in content-heavy lecture courses such as Physical Geology and providing students opportunities to become more active in their own learning process is a major focus of my curriculum development. A major activity within my freshmen courses is the use of the interactive student response devices (specifically the Q6 model from Qwizdom).

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...

Preparing Students for Geoscience Careers – CCSF part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Katryn Wiese, City College of San Francisco
After transferring to a 4YC, my 2YC students should feel competitive, confident, and supported. To achieve that goal means setting up a support network of faculty and fellow students and giving them strong foundational skills, knowledge, and experiences. It also means building career and workforce skills. Since I cannot supply all of this myself, I rely on colleagues at 4YCs and research labs and industry and consultants. And I strive to bring part-time faculty into my department who can help us stay fresh in what the workforce wants.

Engaging Rural Alaskan Students in Geoscience part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Todd Radenbaugh, University of Alaska Fairbanks
In rural Alaska, the teaching of university level geosciences at University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) has been limited to a few 100 and 200 level courses offered through the UAF's Collage of Rural and Community Development (CRCD). CRCD has 5 rural campuses across the state that traditionally has focused on English and math instruction, tribal management, and courses to meet community needs.

Utilizing field experiences to create student interest in the geosciences. part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Kelly Bringhurst, Dixie State College of Utah
Dixie 
State
 College
 of
 Utah 
is 
located 
in
 Southern 
Utah 
at 
the 
border
 of 
the 
Colorado 
Plateau
 and
 the 
Basin
 and
 Range. We
 utilize 
this
 setting
 to
 give
 geologic 
field 
experiences
 to 
approximately 
600 
students
 a
 year.
 Field
 trips 
are 
required 
in 
all
 geology 
courses 
and 
range 
from 
local
 6‐hour
 trips 
to 
5‐day 
trips
 to
 the 
National
 Parks.

Texas A&M Geosciences and the increasing role of transfer students part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Eric Riggs, Texas A & M University
Texas A&M University at College Station is the flagship university for the Texas A&M System, and as such is a major destination for transfer students, both from inside and outside the A&M system. The College of Geosciences consists of four academic departments and many organized research centers spanning the core geoscience disciplines of Geology & Geophysics, Geography, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences...

InTeGrate Liaison and SAGE2YC Advisory Board Member from Pasadena City College part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Elizabeth Nagy-Shadman, Pasadena City College
In addition to being an advisory board member for SAGE2YC, I am a co-PI on the NSF-funded, five-year InTeGrate project that aims to improve geoscience literacy and build a workforce that can make use of geoscience to solve societal issues. My role is to oversee the involvement of 2-year colleges (2YCs) and to be certain that issues unique to 2YCs are identified and considered during the program development, testing, and dissemination. As such I am a liaison between the InTeGrate and SAGE2YC groups, and am very excited to be involved in both programs.

Preparing Our Workforce Initiative: Preparing Students at 2-Year Colleges for Geoscience Careers part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Heather Houlton, American Geosciences Institute
Over the past year, I have developed a program called the "Preparing Our Workforce (POW) Initiative", which teaches students about the many different types of career opportunities that are available in the geosciences. I piloted the program by facilitating in depth and interactive discussions with geoscience students at 7 different institutions, including a 2-year college. The presentation emphasized the importance of integrating students' interests, within and outside of geoscience, and their transferable skills to their geoscience career goals, which led to an increased awareness of the diversity of careers in the geoscience workforce. Additionally, I presented pertinent information about geoscience workforce trends, such as enrollments, supply and demand data and salaries of geoscientists. Lastly, I discussed best practices for networking and how to land a job or internship in our field.

A brief consideration of the correlation of pre- and post-testing as an indicator of student success in geology classes part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Joanna Scheffler, Mesa Community College
In the last two years my classes have been part of the GARNET (Geoscience Affective Research Network) project, with which some of the participants in this SAGE workshop are familiar. In this project, students were asked to fill out an MSLQ (Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire) at the beginning and toward the end of the semesters. In addition, the students took a pre-test and post-test of general concept geologic questions. I am by no means a statistician, but MSLQ surveys have not shown much movement between the first and second runs. I had hoped the general concepts pre/post –tests would show big differences, particularly since many students missed half or more of the questions in the pre-test. With few exceptions scores did improve in post-tests, but not as much as I had hoped. This held true in the second year (2012-2013 academic year) of the study, even though I have been addressing some learning strategies directly in my classes. Primarily I have asked my students to reflect on what their goals are for the class and how they intend to achieve those, followed by later assessments of where they stand on those goals. I have discovered that even for this low stakes concepts assessment I have to resist "teaching to the test". I have also been working on making my lecture classes more inquiry-based and less lecture-based.

Teaching Geoscience to Non-Science Majors: Using real-world examples and lecture worksheets part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Marianne Caldwell, Hillsborough Community College
Marianne Caldwell, Hillsborough Community College Download this essay (Acrobat (PDF) 34kB Jun13 13) Teaching geology and earth science to my students can be a challenge, as typically only a few students are ...