Geoscience in Two-year Colleges > Essays > Collaboration through Coordinated Studies Courses

Collaboration through Coordinated Studies Courses

Robert Filson, Green River Community College
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One of the major issues identified in the applications submitted for this meeting is the isolation that many two-year college geoscience faculty feel because they are the only geoscientist on the staff. Discuss actions you have taken or your ideas to reduce these feelings of isolation on your campus or with other geoscientists.

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.

The broad range of topics in geoscience makes it easy to find areas of common interest with faculty from other departments. In some cases these coordinated offerings have spanned the range of teaching existing courses with some minor level of coordination to other courses that we developed as entirely new interdisciplinary courses.

Some of the advantages of these interdisciplinary offerings include:

I have heard instructors from other colleges say that this approach is a good idea, but it would not work on their campus. I am sure that there are some situations where this may be true, but there are many different modes of interdisciplinary classes and some of these modes require almost no structural changes to existing courses. Learning communities in coordinated classes are a great opportunity for geoscience faculty to become connected with other faculty in their institution.

Although interdisciplinary courses do not solve the geoscience community collaboration we need, this coordinated studies/interdisciplinary approach is an excellent opportunity for people in one-person departments to work with colleagues and find support within one's own college that ultimately benefits the students.

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