Access and success of students from groups underrepresented in geosciences

Use the discussion thread to record the questions you would most like GER to tackle and answer on your behalf.

Access and success of students from groups underrepresented in geosciences -- Discussion  

Factors that influence recruitment and retention in the geosciences - novelty space, cultural factors, other factors

Adapting learning/teaching strategies to maximize success for underrepresented groups - needs to be better understood and further explored

Expressed that many of these issues haven't been explored in the literature, which should meant that these issues haven't been disseminated well

Issues of personal situation for students coming into the geosciences, working for a living, camping, other cultural, experiential, or life factors that worked against participation

Expense of field and camping gear

Exploring the geological sciences through non-camping activities - use of alternate strategies that don't involve deep fieldwork


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Teaching geology in urban settings

Scientist spotlights - role model portrayals

Poor visibility of the discipline - what do geoscientists do? We are not well known as a field, students don't see it. What do people who get degrees in the geosciences actually do for a living.

Strategies or success in moving students away from other scientific disciplines into the geosciences while maintaining their aspirational identity

Transition from undergraduate to graduate school with students moving disciplines at that junction - use of REUs and other experiential programs

Fort Valley St. University example - start at 8th grade and finish them fast, coupled with specific partnerships with geoscience degree granting programs - exploring similar program structures that make specific articulation pathways - understanding how these function, how they were built and how they work and are sustained.


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Attract and thrive rather than recruit and retain - changes the focus to the student rather than "us vs. them" or them becoming us.

Mismatch of science culture with incoming culture of students - examples of dealing with time, scale, perspective and cultural context differences. Notions of assimilation into science as the "right" way to educate students - need to change into teaching to cultural strengths.

2YC - 4YC transitions for under-represented groups. Example from University of Hawaii, Manoa - indigenous knowledge is more strongly supported at the 2YC level with the larger student populations - research would be on how that is affecting 4 yr programs.

Major urban 2YC systems (Houston CC example) - how to make the early and deep connections into very diverse communities that provide benefits


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Summary Statement:

This group found that there is a continuing need to pay attention to the whole student (culture, family, situation, all other aspects), and the junctures in the pathway to the geosciences that are relevant for supporting student attraction, thriving and success. The many great ideas and cases presented in this discussion can all be connected to the notion of supporting the whole student and build better educational pathways and systems and a stronger geoscience community.


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