Geoscience in Two-year Colleges > Teaching Resources and Perspectives > 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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Supporting Student Success part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
David Voorhees, Waubonsee Community College
The reason I became a geology instructor is that I want to instill the passion I have for the earth in my students. I want to be able to give to my students some of the understanding of how the earth works, because they are to become the stewards of this planet long after I am gone. I feel that I am not able to bring this passion and understanding to many of my students, and I continually try to engage all of my students, just as the geosciences engage all of them in their everyday lives. Most all effective instructors have a 'bag of tricks' through which they engage their students that evolves, as it should, as we get different populations of students in our classrooms. As most of my General Education, Survey of Earth Science students are millennials, engaging them is one of my biggest challenges as a geoscience educator. I have developed several ways that I think, bring to my students the nature of science, scientific inquiry, and along the way, make the content relevant to their lives. They fall into two groups: place-basedintegration and mentoring.

Beginning a Geoscience Program at a Two-Year College part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Brett Dooley, Patrick Henry Community College
I teach at Patrick Henry Community College, which resides in a fairly rural and economically depressed part of Virginia. Many of our students are first generation college students and are coming back to school for retraining after having lost a factory job. With the exception of earth science (GOL110), which is not a transferrable science course for general studies students and thus never had any significant enrollment, PHCC has only offered geology classes for four years. Having started the geology program at PHCC, there are three main areas upon which I am focusing to support geoscience students: introduction to the value of geoscience and access, transfer and career option, and training with workforce and transfer skills.

More than the Classroom at Trinidad State Junior College in Southern Colorado part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Debra Krumm, Trinidad State Junior College
Debra Krumm, Trinidad State Junior College Download this essay (Acrobat (PDF) 13kB Jun13 13) Addition of new faculty plus the receipt of U.S. Department of Education STEM grants has allowed for the expansion of ...

Local Rock Outcrop Project in Physical Geology & Historical Geology part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Susan Conrad, Dutchess Community College
One way I get Physical Geology & Historical Geology students in my mid-Hudson Valley community college to apply new concepts is by giving them the option of studying a local rock outcrop for their final project. The process is really a mini-independent study as students apply what they learn in class about minerals, rocks, maps, geologic processes, and plate tectonics to "their" outcrop. I visit many of the students at their outcrops. Students can also share their own videos and photos of their site visits with me. The geology of most of the outcrops has not been recently described or interpreted in the geologic literature, or even in local hiking guidebooks, in any meaningful way, so students really must make their own observations and interpret them in order to unravel the geologic history of their outcrop.

A New Geoscience Program in Energy and Sustainability Management part of SAGE 2YC:Supporting Student Success:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
Kim Frashure, Bunker Hill Community College
In 2012, I co-designed and launched a new certificate program in Energy and Sustainability Management (ESM) at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC). BHCC's mission statement highlights sustainability and, the goal of the ESM certificate program is to enhance marketability of graduates for jobs in the emerging fields of "green" facilities operation and renewable energy services. BHCC is a large, urban campus located in Boston, Massachusetts, with a current enrollment of 13,504 students (1). We are among the most diverse institutions in New England with 830 international students from 94 countries speaking 75 different languages (1). Opportunities exist at BHCC to recruit and develop a largely under-explored, new pool of diverse geoscientists. However, urban community college (CC) students who are interested in a geoscience career often possess challenges such as academic deficiencies in mathematics & English, and a lack of awareness about academic and career pathways, mentorships and resources. The ESM program was designed to include the following to ensure the success of our diverse student population: innovative curriculum and skills in energy and sustainability, an industry-based advisory board, a freshmen science seminar, and accelerated and contextualized learning in English.

2YC / 4YC Collaboration to Bring Geospatial Technology to a Rural Region part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Tora Johnson, University of Maine at Machias
I teach geospatial technology (GST) in two two-year programs shared between the University of Maine at Machias and Washington County Community College, both in beautiful and remote Downeast Maine. The Associate of Science program is administered by WCCC and the certificate program is administered by UMM; all courses are taught by UMM faculty.

Developing meaningful and manageable research opportunities for community college students: lessons learned from semester #1 part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Becca Walker, Mt. San Antonio College
Each semester, there are a handful of students in the science building every day working at the tables outside of the classrooms, dropping by office hours with hand samples, and asking questions after class related to, but beyond the scope of, the topic covered that day. They are the "repeat offenders" who have taken several courses in the department and are hungry for more. But when I say "more", I don't mean yet another rock identification lab or plate tectonics lecture...

Education to dispel the misconception that Cape Cod is a big homogenous sandbox part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Catherine Etter, Cape Cod Community College
Cape Cod Community College offers an A.A. with matriculation agreements for a seamless transfer to 4 year institutions, a technical A.S. in Environmental Technology, and a selection of environmental certificates. Our educational packages support a diverse group of learners from adult students (15 years and up) with no science background to professional scientists/engineers with years of education and work experience...

VoiceThread for On-line Courses part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Bob Ford, Frederick Community College
I wish I could write a concise, but elaborate statement describing all the wonderful things we are doing to prepare our students to be successful in geoscience degree programs and careers, but I cannot. We are a small to moderate sized school. Most of the students taking our science courses are non-science majors satisfying general education requirements or students trying to get into one of our allied health programs...

How do we prepare the next generation of geoscientists in this technology-driven world? We need to attract them in the first place. part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Suki Smaglik, Central Wyoming College
First of all, we need to have geoscience students in our classrooms in order to start to prepare them. Therefore, we need to start young. Kids love rocks; some collect rocks from the time they can crawl. The question we might ask is: Why does this interest stop rather than expand? Only a few of us who discovered our connection to Earth at a young age become geologists. We need to make it known that being a geoscientist is a good career. Geoscientists with an emphasis on environmental issues will always be employable, from field technicians to industry consultants. We have spent nearly two centuries despoiling North American resources. Problems related to resource extraction will take at least another century to set right. It is geoscientists who will be leading the way.

Successful academic transfer, job-ready skills lacking part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Renee Faatz, Snow Colleg
Snow College has a longstanding reputation for producing geology majors that are well prepared for transfer. The strengths of our little geology program (I am a one person department) include recruiting good students and major's courses that are rigorous and focus on fieldwork. In addition, maintaining good relationships with four-­‐year institutions assures that my students succeed after transfer.

Big Changes and New Directions for a Small Program part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Christine Witkowski, Middlesex Community College (MA)
Middlesex Community College is one of the smallest of the twelve community colleges in Connecticut, with about 3000 credit students per semester (1700 FTE). The Science, Allied Health & Engineering Division offers many 3- and 4-credit science courses in support of the General Studies and Liberal Arts A.S. degrees...

A Moveable Museum part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Roger Steinberg, Del Mar College
Del Mar College (DMC) is a two-year college in Corpus Christi, Texas. We have a lot of the pieces in place needed to create a strong program in support and preparation of students for transfer to four-year colleges, the geotechnical workforce, or geoscience careers - but we could use some new strategies for putting the pieces together.

Strategic Advisement for Career and Transfer Success part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Amanda Colosimo, Monroe Community College
While Monroe Community College (MCC), in Rochester, NY, has grown significantly in the past decade, it has also seen tremendous faculty turnover, as professors with 30 years tenure have been replaced by less experienced but enthusiastic new faculty. Administration has been largely supportive, frequently funding experimental projects and professional development opportunities for junior faculty members...

Engaging Students Through Research at a 2YC part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
I can honestly say that for the past six years of teaching full-time I have been excited about going to work every day. The prospect of having the opportunity to introduce something new to a group of students, or explain something that they take for "granite" everyday gives me as much excitement and contentment as my regular morning tall Starbuck House Blend coffee! I like to think that all college professors had that one instructor, professor, or advisor that made them want to go down the path of education and forgo the path of fame or fortune in the geosciences.

The AGU, its Fall Meeting, and a niche for two-year colleges part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Pranoti Asher, American Geophysical Union
The American Geophysical Union is a not-for-profit society of Earth and space scientists with more than 61,000 members in 148 countries. Established in 1919 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., AGU advances the Earth and space sciences through its scholarly publications, meetings, and outreach programs.

A Geologic Pathway to Success part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Tania Anders, Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi
Among the geoscience community, geology is increasingly referred to as "the science of the 21st century". The general public isn't as aware of the importance of geology and career options in the field...

A "Jobs in Geosciences" Speaker Series: Addressing What Geologists Really Do part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Lynsey LeMay, Thomas Nelson Community College
The geology department at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) recently initiated a program to bring geologists employed in a variety of fields to campus. Noted both anecdotally and through survey data collected about perceptions and careers in geosciences, students often have misconceptions about what geologists actually do in their various job functions. To address these misconceptions, the "jobs in geosciences" speaker series was started. This was funded by a small grant from the TNCC Educational Foundation.

Pairing 2YCS with research-focused universities part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
John Taber, IRIS Consortium
Given the value that has been shown for early research experiences for undergraduates, including for students who have yet to decide on a major, IRIS would like to partner with other organizations to develop, or help build on a student research program that integrates research opportunities at two-year and four-year schools. We have experience running a national distributed REU program for upper-level students with math, physics and/or geoscience background, but need to learn more about the needs and interests of first and second year students, as our current program has evolved into one where most participants have completed their junior year...

More Questions than Answers: Identifying Geoscience Career Opportunities part of SAGE 2YC:Workforce, Transfer, and Careers:Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers:Essays
Cheryl Emerson Resnick, Illinois Central College
Illinois Central College is located along the Illinois River in Peoria, Illinois. We currently serve approximately 12,000 FTE students. Our three full-time faculty teach sections of introductory Earth Science, Physical Geology, and Meteorology. We also teach a two week field course each summer that takes students out west for hands-on learning. The faculty who teach physical geology require multiple field trips to local and regional locations, teaching students basic field observation techniques...


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