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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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Strategies for raising awareness of geoscience related careers at 2-year colleges part of SAGE 2YC:Workshops:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Ben Wolfe, University of Kansas Main Campus
I am single faculty discipline at my campus, part of a large urban multi-campus district in Kansas City, Missouri with a total of three district full-time geology faculty. The overwhelming majority of students at my institution take geoscience courses (e.g. physical geology or physical geography) to fulfill part of the general education requirements of the Associates in Arts degree or General Education certificate for transfer to a 4-year school...

Geospatial-Geoscience Connections part of SAGE 2YC:Workshops:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Mark Guizlo, Lakeland Community College
This is an exciting time for those involved in the geospatial field, with the rapid diffusion of technology and the growing awareness of the power of spatial problem solving across multiple sectors of government and business. Clearly, the geosciences have embraced the use of geospatial tools (Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), remotely sensed imagery analysis, and the integration of these technologies through visualization and web/mobile platforms).

Developing Earth Science Literacy in a 2 year college part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Essays
David Voorhees, Waubonsee Community College
Developing and improving Earth Science and science literacy is one of the key driving motivations of my in- and out-of-class activities. Recent surveys (Pew Center, 2009, National Science Board, 2010) suggest an unreasonably poor understanding of basic geosciences. For example, in the these surveys, 28% of the participants responded that the „sun goes around the earth‟, 31% said that humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, and about half (49%) said the earth is getting warmer "mostly because of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels". Low scientific literacy is just part of the overall poor background that my typical earth science students have when they come into my classroom.

Water Resources Management part of SAGE 2YC:Workshops:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Mustapha Kane, Florida Gateway College
This project is a Water Resources Technology field work at the Suwannee River Water Management District monitoring stations in the Ichetucknee basin in North Florida.

Accepting the Challenge part of SAGE 2YC:Workshops:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
JoAnn Thissen, Nassau Community College
JoAnn Thissen, Nassau Community College Download this essay (Acrobat (PDF) 13kB Jun14 13) Because our department does not offer any type of program in the geosciences it's up to each faculty member to ...

Recognizing Opportunities: Expanding Earth Science Literacy by Understanding the Role of Community Colleges in U.S. Education part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Essays
Wendi J. W. Williams, NorthWest Arkansas Community College / University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Two-year colleges provide a skilled graduate-level educated faculty focused upon teaching. Natural or physical sciences faculty have graduate training in their subject areas. Many 2-year colleges require at least a Master's degree for any faculty science division hire or require a minimum of 18 graduate units in the discipline (depending upon the State and/or institution). A growing number of faculty have earned Doctoral degrees (upwards of 10%, with the greatest number achieved by adjunct faculty; AACC, 2009). Numerous faculty are "shared" by 2-year and 4-year institutions, working combinations of part time and full time at both types of institutions simultaneously (e.g. this author). Community college faculty professional development emphasizes pedagogy and androgogy techniques for diverse populations. These faculty play an important role in the training of students in introductory laboratory science courses by offering smaller class sizes (generally 30 or less students per faculty), and providing more personalized "active learning" instruction. Pre-service teachers, particularly primary-levels, can receive suitable strategies in instruction modeled during content classes (Fathe and Kasabian, 2009). It is interesting to note that participants of the American Geophysical Union workshop on Earth Systems Science (AGU, 1996) grasped that most students begin their college training at 2-year institutions, however many of the articulation agreements for transfer to 4-year programs granting baccalaureate degrees are controlled by 4-year institutions. This has the effect of restricting community college faculty in the use of their collective expertise and ingenuity in delivering contemporary Earth system science curriculum (AGU, 1996).

Kaatje Kraft part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Metacognition:Workshop 08:Participant Essays
Kaatje Kraft, Whatcom Community College
Teaching Metacognition: Preparing Students to Be Successful by Kaatje Kraft, Physical Science Department, Mesa Community College As a faculty member at a community college I encounter a wide diversity of ...

Suzanne (Suki) Smaglik part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Affective Domain:Workshop 07:Workshop Participants
Suki Smaglik, Central Wyoming College
Chemistry & Geology, Central Wyoming College Personal Home Page 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? ...

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 & ...

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 ...

Physical Geology Laboratory part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Essays
Jacquelyn Hams, Los Angeles Valley College
The most challenging aspect of teaching at my institution is that the students span the entire range of preparedness. Some can perform at the level of geoscience majors, and others do not have basic English language skills, and cannot perform simple mathematical calculations. This makes it particularly challenging to teach the introductory laboratory courses which require students to read carefully, follow instructions, and perform basic functions such as graph reading and simple mathematical calculations.

Strategies for a Strong Geoscience Program at Red Rocks Community College part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Essays
Eleanor J. Camann, Red Rocks Community College
When considering the strategies our program has used to meet some of the challenges associated with teaching at a two-year college, our effective use of non-traditional courses and transfer agreements immediately came to mind. I have only been teaching at the community college level for a couple of years, so I was not the first to initiate these tactics here at Red Rocks Community College, but I have found them to be very effective and think they're practices worth continuing and sharing with others who work in a similar setting.

How CCSF broadens geoscience participation part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges: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.

Addressing 2YC Challenges at Portland Community College part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges: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 Geoscience in Two-year Colleges: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.

Promoting Earth science literacy in introductory courses part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Essays
Becca Walker, Mount San Antonio College
As a community college geoscience professor, the majority of my students are non-science majors, enroll in my courses to satisfy a general education transfer requirement, and do not intend on continuing in geoscience. Although I am thrilled when former students return for a second course, I teach with the assumption that for most of my students, this will be their last—and in many cases, only—exposure to Earth system science at an institution of higher education. As such, I believe that promoting Earth science literacy in all of my courses is essential and have thought deeply about how to infuse Earth science literacy into my curricula in ways that my students find intellectually engaging and useful. I have provided a few examples of strategies that I use—some are more time and labor-intensive than others—and forms of assessment.

The Role of Geoscience Courses in Maryland's Associate of Arts in Teaching Degree part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges: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 Geoscience in Two-year Colleges: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.

Earth Science Literacy: It's Happening All Around You. Use It. part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Essays
Paul Cutlip, St. Petersburg College
As with most education, one of the most important aspects of effective geoscience education is making the material relevant to the students' "everyday lives". Without exception the most popular unit I teach each semester is volcanoes (nothing sells quite like death and destruction). But without a doubt, when I am discussing things that the students feel will actually affect them they become much more meaningfully engaged. We are in a unique position in the geosciences, we are teaching topics that are becoming more and more a part of the public policy discussion in this country. From global warming to oil spills geoscientists have something useful to say about a lot of what's in the news, doing so engages our students like little else, and not doing so does them a disservice.

Growing Your Program Out in the Field part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Essays
Suki Smaglik, Central Wyoming College
Its hard to believe that when I arrived at Central Wyoming College ten years ago that geology had not been taught here for almost twenty years, and then only occasionally. Here we sit in the place that many geology camps bring their students to learn their field skills. There were two courses on the books: Physical and Historical. The year prior, the University of Wyoming (our only public 4-year institution) removed the prerequisite for Historical and made them both entry-level courses. While we don't have to follow everything that UW does, it makes transfer easier for our students to transfer if we do follow much of it. As at most institutions, entry-level geoscience courses serve a mixed population of potential majors to general studies, and it is always challenging to make the information relevant to all. (But that is the topic of a different essay.)

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