Support the Whole Student
Build a Sense of Community
Research shows that students who feel they 'belong' have a higher degree of intrinsic motivation and academic confidence ([Freeman, Anderman and Jensen, 2007] [Anderman and Leake, 2005] ). Establishing this sense of community in a class or in a department is one of the most important recommendations coming out of the 2011 report from the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine - Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.
- NAS et al. (2011) p. 184
Stereotype Threat and Solo Status »
The SAGE 2YC program has developed a resource to help faculty recognize the negative effects of these two related issues and how to mitigate their impacts on students' success.
There is much that educators can do to increase students motivation to succeed on an assignment, in their course, in a degree program, and in the profession. Particular strategies that have been shown to be effective include:
- Make the learning real and relevant for the students.
- Provide students opportunities for choice, either in what or how they learn.
- Help students strategize a path to success when they are struggling.
- Connect students to the profession through speakers, research experiences, or project based learning
Affective Domain: Motivating Students »
The On the Cutting Edge program developed an extensive resource on motivating students as a part of its module on the Affective Domain in the Classroom.
Integrate Professional Preparation into your Program »
The Building Strong Geoscience Departments project showcases strategies for mentoring students as they imagine and then prepare for a career path.
Many students struggle in STEM disciplines because of gaps in their academic preparation including those from underrepresented minorities. Without assistance these deficits can be insurmountable. Institutions of higher education need to concern themselves not only with supporting the students that are already on their campuses, but also in strengthening the pipeline that brings students into STEM disciplines.
Targeted outreach and recruitment activities can help institutions cultivate underrepresented minority students who are interested in science and math and might aspire to careers in these areas. Examples of the kinds of activities involved would be summer camps or programs in science, math and engineering for high school students; active engagement of faculty and graduate students in local K-12 schools to help spark students' interest and keep them interested; or bridge programs who help high school students adjust to the college experience.
The Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation report also suggests ways that institutions can better support the students they already have.
A great deal of education happens outside of formal coursework, through mentoring, advising, internships, student research experiences, and many other activities. These resources from Building Strong Geoscience Departments can help faculty and students make the most of these opportunities.
Research experiences provide a wide array of benefits for students including:
- Pre-professional training on how to "be" a scientist
- Initiating students into the "community of practice" through access to key knowledge, skills and the value system of a responsible investigator
- Helping them identify and choose a good career track
- ...and many others.
In collaboration with the Council on Undergraduate Research, On the Cutting Edge has developed extensive modules that aggregate community knowledge, experience, and resources that make the case for research as a valuable method of teaching in the geosciences.