Teaching For Diversity

Thursday 1:30pm-4:00pm REC Center Medium Ice Overlook Room
Oral Session

Session Chairs

Aisha Morris, National Science Foundation
John McDaris, Carleton College
1:30pm
Geoscience Workforce Development Activities at UNAVCO
Aisha Morris, National Science Foundation
Donna Charlevoix, UNAVCO

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This presentation focuses on the ongoing efforts at UNAVCO to meet the needs of students and faculty dedicated to broadening participation in the future geoscience workforce. The geosciences lag behind other STEM fields in increasing the diversity of participants, and shifting the perspectives of those both inside and outside of the field requires intentional attention to ensuring undergraduate success. UNAVCO is well-situated to both prepare undergraduate students for placement in geoscience technical positions and advanced graduate study and to provide mentoring resources for faculty engaged in supporting undergraduates from diverse backgrounds. UNAVCO is a university-governed consortium facilitating research and education in the geosciences, and operates the NSF geodetic facility. For the past decade, UNAVCO has managed Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS), an NSF-funded multiyear geoscience research internship, community support, and professional development program. The primary goal of the RESESS program is to increase the number of historically underrepresented students entering the geosciences, whether continuing academic studies or moving into the workforce. In 2015, UNAVCO broadened its internship portfolio, adding Geo-LAUNCHPAD, an NSF-funded pilot REU Site aimed at involving two-year college students and lower-division undergraduates in projects that prepare them for independent research opportunities. Geo-LAUNCHPAD will assist early-academic career students in understanding and developing the skills necessary to transition to undergraduate research programs or to prepare for positions in the geotechnical workforce. Developing confident, capable geoscientists from diverse backgrounds requires, among many variables, the development of confident, capable mentors to help guide and support students along the path to professional positions. In order to ensure a continued student support structure, UNAVCO and IRIS will co-host a one-day workshop at the 2015 EarthScope National Meeting. The Faculty Institute for Research Mentoring Excellence (FIRME) will develop participants' mentoring acumen, with particular focus on supporting students from non-traditional backgrounds.
1:45pm
Engaging students from diverse backgrounds through summer research experiences in the atmospheric sciences
Rebecca Haacker, NCAR/UCAR
Rebecca Batchelor, UCAR
Valerie Sloan, NCAR|UCAR
Scott Landolt, National Center for Atmospheric Research

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The geosciences have had a chronic problem of underrepresentation of students from diverse ethnic, racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds. Students from diverse backgrounds often face isolation in their home institution, and lack role models and guidance as they navigate through the academic system. Continuous and individualized support can greatly strengthen a student's performance and chance of staying in the field. Early involvement in research, and exposure to the culture of science and a scientific work environment are recognized as some of the most effective ways to engage undergraduate students from all cultural backgrounds in STEM fields. This presentation will share experiences from four different programs managed by the SOARS Center for Undergraduate Research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. Our programs involve students ranging from high school juniors to college seniors in summer experiences. We will address program design, scaling of projects, remedial courses, as well as managing mentor expectations and supporting two-year college students. We will highlight successful approaches of retaining diverse students in the geosciences and discuss how we can support each other in the community to provide such resources.
2:00pm
Research Opportunities for 2YC Geoscience Students Through a Partnership with a 4YC
Adrianne Leinbach, Wake Technical Community College
Gretchen Miller, Wake Technical Community College

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Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech) is the largest two-year college in North Carolina and has a highly diverse student body. Most of the ~700 students who take our geology courses each semester are completing a natural science credit for their Associate in Science (AS) or Associate in Arts (AA) degree. The state has a Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA), which governs the transfer of students between institutions in the North Carolina Community College and University of North Carolina Systems. While our department has grown from one instructor to eleven over the past 15 years, the number of geoscience majors in our program was not increasing at the same rate. In order to create more interest in geoscience and form a transfer pathway for our diverse students, we began collaborating with the geology faculty at North Carolina State University (NC State) in 2012. Wake Tech instructors identify students who display an interest and aptitude in our introductory geology courses and provide them individual mentoring. Some of these students are provided with the opportunity to participate in paid summer research internships at NC State. The students present their research projects at a poster session at the end of the summer. If these students choose to continue their studies at NC State, they are given additional opportunities for research and mentoring. Interest in this program grows tremendously each year. In addition, Wake Tech students receive opportunities to meet practicing geoscientists, attend local professional meetings, and participate in field activities.
2:15pm
Break
2:45pm
Bridging divides through earth education: Tying field observation of soils to broader understanding in science education
Stephanie Ewing, Montana State University-Bozeman

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Field and lecture based soils teaching for diverse populations can illuminate profound cultural divides on the topics of global change and environmental stewardship. These divides follow long-standing schisms among state university student groups from rural and urban or urbanizing backgrounds in the northern great plains and intermountain west. Embedded in discussion of soil disturbance and health are seemingly conflicting values related to the roles and responsibilities of land managers with a diverse range of goals such as wildlife conservation or management, ranch management, support of rural communities, traditional practices, and food production. For students considering these goals and their futures, this university teacher at a small state school is challenged to communicate the practical value of both broader knowledge generally, and independent thinking in the context of education. A few students are extremely receptive; many more are strongly resistant. Moreover, students from diverse communities bring critical knowledge to the classroom and to discussion of land management issues, but are commonly reluctant to share what they know with an unfamiliar audience. Often, field exercises accommodate these diverse views, and this presentation will highlight the successes of a "jigsaw" approach to soils observation in an upper division soils class, in which subsets of students make detailed observations of individual soil profiles and report back to the larger group. Soil profiles are chosen for their relationship on the landscape (e.g., a lithosequence) and subsequent discussion focuses on interpretation of the combined observations in the context of landscape position, plant communities, and land use. Profound revelations tend to emerge in these discussions, yet tying them back to the lecture portion of the class and the broader societal need to evaluate and protect soil resources can be challenging. Strategies for making these connections will be discussed.
3:00pm
The Special Place Project: A Mechanism for Creating a Place-Based Geoscience Course for use with High School and Undergraduate Populations
Sadredin Moosavi, RCTC

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Place-based approaches for attracting students to the geosciences and preparing them for careers involving the Earth have gained attention as a means for involving underserved populations such as Native Americans as well as the broader student population. Place-based approaches range from single day activities for individuals to semester long projects involving the entire class. This presentation will discuss a place-based technique in which an entire introductory geoscience class is placed in such a context. Individual students conduct semester-long personal case studies of a place of their choosing while the class collectively explores a case selected by the instructor. Students use rock samples, maps, Google Earth, and photographs to apply the geoscience content they are learning to explore the class place. Students describe what they are seeing, explore the landscape and use their observations and insights to develop hypotheses explaining the geologic origin of the place, on-going geologic processes altering the environment, make predictions for its future evolution and specify the role that humans have played and will play in the place in the future. Students also speculate on how anthropogenic climate change may impact the place and options for mitigation. The activities conducted by the class serve as a model for the techniques and goals the student is asked to achieve in their individual case studies. While students are not required to visit their places or provide hand samples during the semester, they are assisted in using photographic, map and Google Earth data along with their own memories and insights to develop their case studies. The multi-stage written project demonstrates each student's ability to utilize the geologic content they are learning in an authentic and engaging assessment demonstrating critical skills all colleges strive to build in their graduates.
3:15pm
Broadening Access to STEM and Geoscience through Support for the Whole Student
John McDaris, Carleton College
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary

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Over the last decade, the percentage of students from underrepresented minorities (URM) graduating with geoscience degrees has increased dramatically. But progress has been faster across the whole of STEM and in neither case does the percentage approach the overall demographics of the US. While the reasons why students do not succeed in these majors are often complex and interrelated, initiatives using holistic approaches have shown the most success in supporting students of all kinds, with particular effectiveness in supporting women and students from underrepresented minorities from entry to graduation and/or transfer. These holistic programs address motivation to succeed, sense of belonging and efficacy, and access to and acquisition of disciplinary knowledge. Both Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Two-year Colleges (2YCs) can play an important role in increasing the diversity of geoscience graduates where there are appropriate degree programs or pathways to programs. In both contexts, there are degree options which include elements of geoscience present in many institutions even where there is no "geoscience" department. In addition, the strategies that are bearing fruit at many of these institutions are consistent with the recommendations of the Engagement-Capacity-Continuity framework for supporting the whole student developed by Jolly et al. (2004). In particular, common themes arising in these programs include: Attracting students to the discipline: Proactive marketing around career opportunities and outreach to local feeder institutions Supporting students through graduation: Community building, mentoring and advising, transfer support, academic support, and funding support Preparing students for careers: Research experiences, internships, alumni or industry interactions, and real-world project Web resources with information on supporting the whole student are available via the InTeGrate website (http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/programs/diversity/whole_student.html) and the SAGE 2YC website (https://serc.carleton.edu/sage2yc/whole_student.html).
3:30pm
Broadening Participation through a Community-Building Approach in STEM: Carleton College's Cohort Program Components and Evaluation
Deborah Gross, Carleton College
Ellen Iverson, Carleton College
Gudrun Willett, Carleton College
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College

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Cohort programs supporting students' sense of belonging, support for learning, and drive to succeed have been instrumental in increasing successful completion of STEM majors by members of underrepresented groups at Carleton College. Carleton has designed two cohort programs, Focusing on Cultivating Scientists (FOCUS) and the Carleton Summer Science Fellows (CSSF); each is used to support students from groups underrepresented in STEM fields based on race, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status. The FOCUS program is integrated into the Carleton curriculum and creates a cohort which enrolls in classes together, meets in a colloquium throughout the first and second year, and has multiple opportunities for active advising, mentoring, and support. The CSSF program is a separate research-based cohort which includes two summers of research on or off campus, as well as a credit-bearing colloquium in the terms before and following the research experiences. These programs were designed to support the three aspects of student development mentioned above. Findings from six years of evaluation demonstrate the value of the community of learners and influence of the programmatic features of advising, peer mentoring, colloquium style instruction, and undergraduate research in nurturing students' drive to succeed in STEM fields. Our research also highlighted the barriers faced by cohort students and which challenges persist for all students. This presentation will describe our programs, the theoretical framework we used to inform our research and program improvements, and the findings from surveys, interviews, and observations in our broadening access programs.
3:45pm
Discussion