Thursday A: Recruiting, Retaining and Graduating our Students & Broadening Participation: Focusing on Student Development

Thursday 1:30pm-4:00pm Northrop Hall: 116
Oral Session

Session Chairs

Julia Nord, George Mason University
Jason Jones, North Carolina State University
1:30pm
Geology Transfer Scholars: A GEOPATHS Program Supporting Incoming Transfer Students Through an August Field Course
Kim Hannula, Fort Lewis College

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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.
1:45pm
Factors that Influence Two-Year College Student Transfer Intent and Geoscience Degree Aspirations
Ben Wolfe, University of Kansas Main Campus

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Colleges and universities are facing greater accountability to identify and implement practices that increase the number of two-year college (2YC) students who transfer to four-year institutions (4YC) and complete STEM baccalaureate degrees. A better understanding of how academic engagement experiences contribute to increased 2YC student interest in these disciplines and student intent to transfer is critical in strengthening the transfer pathway for the geosciences. The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of the influence that background characteristics, mathematics preparation, academic experiences (e.g. faculty-student interaction, undergraduate research experiences, and field experiences), and academic advisor engagement have on 2YC student intentions to transfer to a 4YC with geoscience degree aspirations. Incorporating the conceptual frameworks of student engagement and transfer student capital (Laanan et al., 2010), this study used Astin's (1993; 1999) input-environment-outcomes (I-E-O) model to investigate what factors predict 2YC students' intent to transfer to a 4YC and pursue geoscience degrees. This presentation will discuss the results of this study using data collected from 708 student respondents to a pre-transfer study survey administered in introductory geoscience courses at 27 2YCs. Sequential multiple regression findings revealed a number of factors of increased geoscience transfer intent. These included high school math preparation, having taken an earth science course in high school, the number of science courses taken at the 2YC, student-faculty interaction, faculty and academic advisors discussing physical science careers, speaking with a transfer advisor, and visiting the intended 4YC. The results also substantiated the significant role that field-based experiences have in increasing student intent in pursuing geoscience related majors. These findings reveal that developing practices focused on transfer student capital acquisition can strengthen the pipeline of geoscience degrees and supports the suggestion that 2YCs can serve as an intervention point to broaden participation in STEM related degrees.
2:00pm
Building Pathways to STEM Careers in Geoscience and Environmental Science through the Colorado Community Colleges
Patrick Shabram, Front Range Community College
lesley smith, The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
Anne Gold, University of Colorado at Boulder
Donna Charlevoix, UNAVCO
Aisha Morris, National Science Foundation
Kelsey Russo-Nixon, UNAVCO
Max Miller, Front Range Community College

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Colorado's adult population ranks second in the nation for college degrees and ninth for income levels, yet Colorado's educational achievement gap for low-income, first generation, and minority students persists. Sometimes known as the "Colorado Paradox," the disparity between Colorado's diversified science and high tech employment and the inability to transition high school students, especially underrepresented students, into postsecondary STEM education, Colorado has become dependent on in-migration of a skilled workforce. Further, the American Geoscience Institute 2016 workforce report predicts a U.S. workforce shortage of approximately 90,000 geoscientists by 2024. Two NSF-funded programs were developed to encourage early entry into geoscience and environmental science fields by expanding opportunities, traditionally only open to upperclassman, to Colorado's community college students. The first, Research Experience for Community Colleges Students (RECCS), is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site run by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. The RECCS program was one of the first REUs to focus on community college students. The second, Geo-Launchpad, is a collaborative effort between Front Range Community College and UNAVCO to establish a tiered program that provides community college students in Colorado with experiential learning opportunities. The Geo-Launchpad program creates a point of entry into geo-focused careers through a structured experience, starting with introductory workshops, a one credit course focused on careers, research, and internship opportunities, and for some students, a paid summer internship at UNAVCO. Both programs establish mentor relationships between students and faculty/professionals. Results show promise, as community college students demonstrated their ability to work within a professional, geoscience/research focused setting. Evaluation shows increased interest by students in pursuing STEM focused careers, and many alumni of the programs have moved into other research opportunities. Challenges persist, however, both in student preparation and awareness of the programs, and the introduction of nontraditional curriculum into community colleges.
2:15pm
Service Learning in Field Mapping Techniques
Julia Nord, George Mason University
Lori Mandable, George Mason University
Thomas Wood, George Mason University

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Undergraduate research experiences have been linked to recruiting and retaining students in STEM fields. A base-level understanding of research and inquiry processes are needed for students to succeed in these experiences. At George Mason University, Field Mapping Techniques has been transformed into a Students as Scholars (SasS), Scholarly Inquiry course. SasS courses are designed to help students learn content knowledge and attain the fundamental skills that make them capable of evaluating scholarly work. These courses prepare students to conduct their own scholarly project Field Mapping Techniques is an upper division, required course in several Earth Science and Geography concentrations. It is not designed as a pre-field camp course. Like every SasS class, it is designed around three learning outcomes: articulate a question or problem that is relevant and appropriate; communicate knowledge from that scholarly project through writing, or presenting, appropriate to the audience and context; and, demonstrate attention to ethical principles. In addition, this class meets two other SasS outcomes: it enables students to design and execute a project plan and acquire information or data using credible and applicable strategies. Finally, it is an experiential learning (EL), service learning, and team-focused course. In 2016, students met with a local landowner starting a project to return agricultural fields to forested wetlands. He needed base-line spatial data. Students designed and developed field-based projects that enabled them to collect data and present usable maps/suggestions back to the landowner. In this way, we utilize Kolb-based EL to engage current, real world issues with repetitive, reflective practice. We hypothesized that students would self-identify increased interest, capacity and ability to apply their canonical knowledge, and consequently improve understanding and retention of that knowledge. Several of the students have continued to reassess the maps through this semester in their own time.
2:30pm
Break
2:45pm
Story telling as a tool for long-term learning of geologic terms
Laura Rosales Lagarde, Nevada State College at Henderson
Paige Hall, Nevada State College at Henderson
Kathryn Tucker, Nevada State College at Henderson
Roberta Miranda, Nevada State College at Henderson
Laura Decker, Nevada State College at Henderson

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Learning geology has been compared to learning a new language due to the abundance of discipline-specific terms unfamiliar to students. This task can be daunting, especially for freshman students. The story telling assignment is designed to promote understanding, holistic long-term learning of geologic concepts and their conceptual relationships. Creating a story addresses the first five categories of Bloom's Taxonomy: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis and synthesis of geologic concepts while it fosters creative and communication skills. The assignment consists on building a story involving 12 geologic terms from the textbook. The tasks required include: a) reflecting on previous knowledge about the topic; b) reading with intent; c) reviewing the meaning of the keywords; d) finding the conceptual relationships between the keywords; e) select a theme of interest to develop the story; f) think of the target audience; and g) peer-review another's student story. The Story Telling assignment resulted from the collaboration between faculty from the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the Writing Center at Nevada State College, Henderson, Nevada. This collaboration pursues writing across the curriculum by bringing in writing and teaching experiences from different backgrounds. This effort is supported by the Writing Center which provided workshops on how to write a story and how to peer-review. The development of this assignment fostered teaching Geology as a Writing Intensive Course. By the time of this conference, three sections of the Exploring Planet Earth class at Nevada State College will have used Story Telling to learn and remember geologic concepts. This class teaches 100-level geology to mostly non-science majors of diverse backgrounds seeking to fulfill their science with a lab requirement. The Story Telling assignment can be a fun alternative way for the students to foster long-term learning of concepts from any class.
3:00pm
Geosciences Assignments in Writing Across the Curriculum
Elizabeth Laliberte, University of Rhode Island

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Writing and critical thinking are essential for student success in college and beyond. "Writing Across the Curriculum" assumes that writing should be an integral part of the learning experience throughout a student's education, not only in writing courses but in all courses. Manageable writing assignments that improve student learning in Geosciences classes will be described. Examples include graphic organizers in which students reflect and brainstorm about what they already understand about a topic, develop questions about what they want to learn before the learning experience, and review what they have learned after it. A written analysis of scientific data for a variety of audiences and a peer-review process for student-written scientific papers will also be considered.
3:15pm
Modeling Collaborative Team Building to Address Wicked Problems: Navigating and Negotiating Dispositional Distance
Dave Gosselin, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Ron Bonnstetter, TTI Success Insights
Schylir Rowen, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

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A big challenge for education is to prepare students to effectively collaborate to address the many "wicked problems" and "grand challenges" facing society. Collaboration is a critical competency, among others, that today's students need to meet future workforce demands. Studies of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams indicate that team members struggle to achieve knowledge integration across disciplines. This type of integration is at the heart of addressing important societal challenges. Part of the struggle with integration is that not only are their differences in conceptual disciplinary understanding, there are differences in the dispositional characteristics of team members. The concept of dispositional distance© is used to describe the differences in the dispositional characteristics (i.e., behaviors and motivational drivers) of team members. The Environmental Studies (ES) program, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL-ES) program has partnered with TTI Success Insights® to focus undergraduate student's on the key attributes to effective interdisciplinary teams. Using an inquiry-based collaborative leadership action model, model-based reasoning, and a business-academia partnership, the UNL-ES program employs assessment instruments to help students understand themselves and adapt (i.e., navigate and negotiate) more effectively to others in the professional world. Output from this instrument provides verbal and visual models about the how, why, and what of individual performance. This instrument provides important information about the student's dispositional characteristics. Assessment output is used for team blending and managing differences among group members. These assessments play a positive role in group dynamics. Certain mixtures of behavioral styles and motivational drivers have been identified that may be problematic to group work. Many students have experienced team projects, but in addition to learning about collaboration and development of a shared-vision for a project, we have taken the opportunity to add an important factor to the process: the science of self.
3:30pm
Leveraging the relationship between student confidence and performance to promote achievement in introductory geoscience courses
Jason Jones, North Carolina State University
David McConnell, North Carolina State University

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Many students don't know how learning happens, nor what they have to do to make it happen. This awareness of how to learn falls under the purview of metacognition and in a process called self-regulation. Domain-general work investigating student self-regulated learning processes has suggested that improving students' knowledge of how they learn can compensate for low initial ability in a discipline. As a result, we sought to help students reflect on their learning and deconstruct mistakes to better identify opportunities to enhance learning in an introductory geoscience course. Towards this aim we developed the Confidence-based Learning Accuracy Support System (CLASS), a web-based tool that allows instructors to measure students' metacognitive awareness via confidence judgements on content-based assessment questions. CLASS is grounded in the findings of educational psychology research and the self-regulated learning theoretical framework and has potential benefits for both students and instructors. Essentially, students take an online quiz and estimate their confidence in each of their responses. CLASS then determines their score, but also communicates results in relation to student confidence and calculates calibration and bias scores - two empirically-derived measures of the gap between student confidence and performance. CLASS quizzing was implemented in a large-enrollment introductory physical geology course as a formative assessment tool providing both students and instructors with a wealth of information regarding the course's teaching and learning processes (e.g., which topics students are over-confident or under-confident about) that could not have been ascertained from traditional assessment techniques.
3:45pm
Discussion