Research Challenges in Geoscience Education Research

Tuesday 3:00pm-4:15pm Student Union: Acoma A and B
Round Table Discussion

Leader

Heather Petcovic, Western Michigan University
This discussion will explore issues in geoscience education research such as finding collaborators, starting projects, securing funding, publishing your work, and defining and sustaining your research agenda. Come ready to share your challenges, strategies, and successes.



Research Challenges in Geoscience Education Research -- Discussion  

This discussion broke into three topics: (1) challenges in early career - graduate student and early career faculty transitions; (2) challenges in starting GER - entering GER from disciplinary geoscience research; and (3) evaluation of GeoPaths projects - challenges in collecting and evaluating data for intervention projects.

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Notes from the group discussing 'transitions into geoed research' (from other sciences):

Some questions:
How can you serve broader university mission by switching directions?
How can you establish yourself (coming in mid-career)?

Pathways into GER (or reasons for wanting to do GER):
**SoTL - involvement in curriculum development
**Wanting to work with science educators
**Involvement with SERC/NAGT/InTeGrate, etc.
**Wanting to integrate social problems/diversity into science
**Wanting to support diversity and science
**Asking questions about how students learn - begin collecting data through classroom action research
**Share preliminary work at local or campus conferences - get feedback
**Become involved in SoTL groups on your campus
**Outcomes assessment for department/school or program review - could evolve into scholarly research
**Funding not really necessary for classroom research - makes this research attractive
**Wanting to support junior faculty in scholarly classroom endeavors
**Switching gears to adapt to program/university changes
**Joining larger collaborations (participating in research or data collection, but not having to drive it)
**Finding mentors in GER (perhaps this could be organized at EER - better web connections to people's profile pages on SERC site?)

Challenges:
**Learning the language of GER
**Publishing outside of your field
**Finding colleagues (EER helps)
**Earning recognition of colleagues (for ann review or promotions)
**Not having the right tools(?)

What do we want:
**Database to connect people - novices & experts in GER
**Networks (webinars, workshops) connecting people who are new to GER
**Continued support of a range of options for publication (e.g., In The Trenches for interesting ideas...all the way to JGE for rigorous research - need to make all these options more explicit)

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This post was editted by Heather Petcovic on Jul, 2017
Evaluation of GeoPaths projects take-home messages:
- Value of qualitative data in small-scale (small number of participants) projects; most of these projects target 10-15 students per year; how can we make the best use of the student experience to show
- Importance of making connections with others in the field - need to meet & greet other PIs, other diversity projects that are geographically close by

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Discussion points:
- What can we do at the EER to move forward what these groups talked about? Need for an informal meeting of graduate students and early career faculty to network; need for a listing of postdoc opportunities, people looking for graduate students, etc. distributed prior to the meeting

- What can be done to support DBERs/GERs at research institutions negotiate hiring, tenure, and promotion?

- Need for intentional use of Linked In to build community

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