Earth Educators Rendezvous > Previous Rendezvous > Rendezvous 2017 > Program > Oral Sessions > Monday B: Geoscience Workforce Development: University and K-12

Monday B: Geoscience Workforce Development: University and K-12

Monday 1:30pm-4:00pm Northrop Hall: 340
Oral Session

Session Chairs

Kyle Fredrick, California University of Pennsylvania
William Hoyt, University of Northern Colorado
1:30pm
Broadening Participation of Minorities in the Geoscience Workforce in the Absence of a Geoscience Department
Janet Liou-Mark, CUNY New York City College of Technology
Reggie Blake, CUNY New York City College of Technology
Hamidreza Norouzi, CUNY New York City College of Technology
Viviana Vladutescu, CUNY City College
Laura Yuen-Lau, CUNY New York City College of Technology

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Although the shortfall in the geoscience workforce through 2024 has been reduced from 135,00 to about 90,000, and although there has been increasing enrollment and graduation trends from geoscience programs nation-wide, there is still an urgent need to find alternative pathways to increase the geoscience workforce pipeline. A minority-serving technical college in the Northeast, without an environmental science department, is piloting a model to recruit underrepresented minorities majoring in a STEM discipline who are interested in the geosciences and to intentionally train them for the geoscience workforce. The Exposure, Preparation, Apprenticeship, and Experience (EPAE) model proposes key program activities necessary to produce well equip and knowledgeable undergraduates for the geoscience workforce through an undergraduate research program and a geoscience internship experience. The project is supported by NSF IUSE GEOPATH grant #1540721.
1:45pm
Assessment of 21st Century Professional Competencies of Undergraduate Students
Dave Gosselin, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Alison Creeger, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Ron Bonnstetter, TTI Success Insights

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Business and political leaders are increasingly asking higher education to develop student's abilities related to "21st century skills" or "21st century competencies" because they are the foundation of individual and collective success in the workplace. These competencies include skills such as innovation, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, self-management, among others. To assess the extent to which students are developing these competencies, the Environmental Studies program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has partnered with TTI Success Insights (TTISI), Ltd. to use their TriMetrix® DNA instrument to gain insights into the development of professional competencies among its majors. The Personal Soft Skills Indicator (PSSI), one of three parts of the instrument, assesses 23 skills in the context of what skills an individual has exhibited in their lives. A comparison of data collected from 90 students who took the assessment initially in an orientation course (pre) and then in the final senior thesis course (post) indicates a statistically significant (p<0.05) improvement in the student's ability to: lead others effectively (leadership); possess the desire to continue to learn (continuous learning); and utilize diplomatic methods to communicate and work with others (diplomacy). There were statistically higher scores for males (p<0.05) in their negotiation skills and ability to quickly and effectively make a decision (decision-making). Females had a statistically higher (p<0.05) ability to utilize diplomatic methods to communicate and work with others (diplomacy); and skills to effectively plan a schedule, meeting, or event (planning/ organizing). This exploratory, longitudinal study supports the conclusion that an undergraduate program that can have an impact on the development of 21st century competencies using pedagogical approaches and educational practices that promote student independence, self-directed learning, self-reliance, and interactions with the community.
2:00pm
Lessons from the InTeGrate Implementation Teams: Synthesizing Real-World Experience
John McDaris, Carleton College
Cailin Orr, Carleton College

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The InTeGrate project supports the teaching of geoscience in the context of societal issues both within geoscience courses and across the undergraduate curriculum. The work of InTeGrate has included supporting 16 teams of faculty around the country that used InTeGrate materials to effect change on their campuses. These Implementation Programs represented an array of institution types and had a variety of goals for transforming teaching about Earth in their contexts, but they all learned important lessons in attempting to achieve those goals. As the teams wrapped up their work under the auspices of the project, representatives from the teams met to learn from each other and document lessons learned in five key areas: recruiting and supporting diverse learners; teaching Earth across the curriculum; building connections to strengthen K-12 teaching; supporting transitions to the workforce, transfer, and careers; and making change happen on the large scale. The resulting resources are captured on the InTeGrate website (http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/programs/implementation/index.html) and provide linkages between best-practices from the literature and ground-truth from the actual experiences of the teams. The guidance put forward on these pages is supported by examples from the teams that demonstrate how work on particular issues influenced and was influenced by specific circumstances and contexts.
2:15pm
EarthConnections
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
Donna Charlevoix, UNAVCO
Barbara Nagle, University of California-Berkeley
Rajul Pandya, AGU
John Taber, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology
Felicia Davis, Clark Atlanta University
Sally McGill, California State University-San Bernardino
Mark Benthien, University of Southern California
Kathy Ellins, The University of Texas at Austin
Norma Neely, The University of Texas at Austin
Garry Harris, Center for Sustainable Communites

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To develop a diverse geoscience workforce, the EarthConnections collective impact alliance is developing regionally focused, Earth education pathways. These pathways support and guide students from engagement in relevant, Earth-related science at an early age through the many steps and transitions to geoscience-related careers. Rooted in existing regional activities, pathways are developed using a process that engages regional stakeholders and community members with EarthConnections partners. Together they connect, sequence, and create multiple learning opportunities that link geoscience education and community service to address one or more local geoscience issues. By intertwining Earth education with local community service we aspire to increase the resilience of communities in the face of environmental hazards and limited Earth resources.
2:30pm
Break
2:45pm
Getting (and Keeping) Northern Colorado Students in the Door: Broadening Participation by Attracting and Supporting All Students
William Hoyt, University of Northern Colorado
Byron Straw, University of Northern Colorado
Cindy Shellito, University of Northern Colorado
Julie Sexton, University of Northern Colorado
Steven Anderson, University of Northern Colorado
Graham Baird, University of Northern Colorado

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Strategies to broaden participation in geosciences are varied. Many in the geosciences know we can do a better job, but how? The InTeGrate implementation program at the University of Northern Colorado (UNCo) included components to recruit and retain more diverse geoscience students through visits to regional high schools and community colleges, as well as summer recruiting field trips. Moreover, to help with retaining students through to graduation, we developed and delivered a faculty workshop on advising underrepresented students who often bring cultural traditions that are unfamiliar to faculty. We established connections with eight local high schools and community colleges, and visited with a total of 918 students. Faculty participating in this outreach effort highlighted their own applied scientific research and student employment prospects in environmental science, geology, and meteorology. Of those 918 students, 60 indicated interest in UNCo. We also ran four field trips in Colorado during the summer of 2016. The trips attracted 54 participants in total, including high school students, community college students, university STEM majors from fields other than environmental science or geoscience, K-12 teachers, professionals from our Dean's office, and students from underrepresented groups. Though enrollment factors are complex, we are excited to report that in fall 2016, we doubled the number of students admitted to Earth Science majors from 30 incoming students in 2014 to 60. Building a Diversity Awareness workshop allowed STEM faculty and administrators opportunities to discuss factors that promote retention of underrepresented minorities and women in science, and best practices in student advising. Many cited the use of recruiting/retention information as very helpful, and also commented favorably regarding the opportunities for discussion among colleagues. Faculty identified how they would apply this workshop to their teaching and advising of all students.
3:00pm
Geoscience Methods and Local Geology: Urban Teachers Engage in Authentic Experiences to Make Sense of Local Phenomena
Candace Penrod, Salt Lake City School District

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In Utah, a western state well-known for its spectacular geology, many local elementary teachers lack the content knowledge and experience to effectively use geoscience methods to interpret natural landforms, processes and related phenomena. Many are unaware of the local geology that surrounds them that can, and should, be used to generate student engagement in Earth science curricula. This five-day experiential professional development workshop was designed to provide urban in-service elementary teachers in Salt Lake City, Utah, an opportunity to engage authentically with local landforms through a combination of field work and firsthand experience using geoscience research methods. The workshop focused on increasing teachers' awareness of the local geology and fostering an awareness of the accessibility of various sites and landforms for future student interactions. The workshop was held during the summer and teachers meet for 8 hours each day. Content was drawn from local systems and landforms, including: Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon (river-cut vs. glacier-cut canyon), Lake Bonneville shorelines (depositional environments of paleo-Lake Bonneville), and the formation and distribution of local oolitic sand (conservation of mass and cycling of matter). Throughout the week, teachers conducted field work, recorded observations, interacted with scientists, constructed physical and conceptual models, and used modern analogs to compare past processes and construct scientific explanations for local geologic phenomena. Ultimately, urban teachers gained more confidence in using geoscience methods, understanding Earth science concepts and in exploring Earth science topics in their classrooms.
3:15pm
Professional Development For Community College Faculty: Lessons Learned From Intentional Mentoring Workshops
Aisha Morris, National Science Foundation
Donna Charlevoix, UNAVCO
Kelsey Russo-Nixon, UNAVCO

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The Geoscience Workforce Development Initiative at UNAVCO supports attracting, training, and professionally developing students, educators, and professionals in the geosciences. For the past 12 years, UNAVCO has managed the highly successful Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS) program, with the goal of increasing the diversity of students prepared to enter careers in the geosciences. In 2015, UNAVCO added Geo-Launchpad (GLP), a summer research preparation internship for Colorado community college students. The goal of GLP is to prepare students for independent research opportunities, facilitate career exploration in the geosciences, and provide community college faculty with professional development to facilitate effective mentoring of their students. One core element of the Geo-Launchpad program is UNAVCO support for GLP faculty mentors. Each intern applies to the program with a faculty representative (mentor) from his or her home institution. This faculty mentor is engaged with the student throughout the summer through a suite of communication tools. At the end of the summer, UNAVCO hosts the GLP faculty mentors in Boulder for two days of professional development focused on intentional mentoring of students. Discussions focus on the distinction between mentoring and advising and the array of career and professional opportunities available to students. Faculty mentors also meet with the external evaluator during the mentor training and provide feedback on both their observations of their intern as well as the impact on their own professional experience. Initial outcomes include re-energizing the faculty mentors' commitment to teaching, as well as the opportunity for valuable networking activities. This presentation will focus on the ongoing efforts and outcomes of the novel faculty mentor professional development activities, and the impact of these activities on community college student engagement in the geosciences.
3:30pm
A Multiphase Approach to Overwhelmed Students
Kyle Fredrick, California University of Pennsylvania
Daniel Harris, California University of Pennsylvania
Billie Arnold, California University of Pennsylvania

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California University of Pennsylvania has an active geology program boasting successful graduates that have become consistently positive representatives of the University and region. Despite these successes, statewide enrollment declines, reductions in state appropriations, and financial challenges attributed to legacy campus projects have resulted in softened admission standards. The effect has been a noticeable reduction in fundamental skills in math, reading, and writing for incoming students. Most students come from lower-middle class families in neighboring counties. As a mechanism to increase enrollment in our program while maintaining high programmatic curricular standards and produce qualified geology graduates, we have endeavored to emphasize (1) foundational skills, (2) the end goals of the student, and (3) a broader worldview. Unconventional coursework, electives that appeal to students of all grade levels, and a focus on professional development are the main tools to expand learning and develop a sense of community and mentorship. Weaving non-traditional readings, scaffolded presentations, and lab and field skills into the curriculum increases confidence and verbal skills. Mid-level electives target students from sophomores to seniors, and are taught using strategies to establish in-class and extracurricular mentoring. A professional development course introduces the students to career paths and expectations, forces them to begin resume development early in their education, and requires practice interviewing and networking. Though the approach was new for 2016-17, the professional development course is in its second year of implementation. Already there are tangible changes in our community of majors. Communication between new and existing students has improved, inquiries for internships, scholarships, and extracurricular opportunities have increased, and students are more accepting of academic challenges. Recent graduates have offered positive reviews of the changes from past years. Further implementation involves longitudinal tracking of students through each course and the program as a whole.
3:45pm
Discussion