Geology Transfer Scholars: A GEOPATHS Program Supporting Incoming Transfer Students Through an August Field Course

Thursday 1:30pm Northrop Hall: 116


Kim Hannula, Fort Lewis College
Although many of the Fort Lewis College (FLC) geology graduates (38%) originated as transfer students, they have historically taken an extended time to graduate (on average, 3.7 years at FLC after transferring). The goal of our 2015 NSF-GEOPATHS-EXTRA grant is to improve the persistence and reduce the time to graduation for our transfer students (from both 2- and 4-year colleges). The major activity of the grant is an August version of our sophomore mapping course, which is a pre-requisite for most junior-level geology courses. Because an equivalent course is not typically available at the students' original institutions, this missing course can add an additional year before the students can graduate.

The Geology Transfer Scholars Program provides (1) funding to support students during the August mapping class; (2) a series of field trips and other activities associated with the summer field course; and (3) follow-up activities, including a tutor for fall semester courses, travel funding to attend GSA, and funding to support senior thesis research. The additional summer activities include three field trips (to the most common sites used in FLC freshmen geology courses) led by FLC faculty, introductions to campus support offices (e.g. Financial Aid, TRiO programs, Native American Center), and social activities with local FLC geology alums.

Seven students (three from 4-year colleges; four from 2-year colleges) participated in the first August course. After one semester, only three students (all from 4-year colleges) remain at FLC. This is a lower persistence rate than typical for sophomores or juniors at FLC. Although most students participated in the field trips during the August course, participation in follow-up activities (e.g. attending GSA, utilizing the fall semester tutor) was low. More work is necessary to improve the experience of the community college transfer students.

Presentation Media

Powerpoint: Geology Transfer Scholars (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 113kB Jul18 17)