Assessing the Impact of Department Climate and Redesigned Curriculum on Undergraduate Student Perceptions of Learning and Inclusion

Wednesday 1:30-2:30pm PT / 2:30-3:30pm MT / 3:30-4:30pm CT / 4:30-5:30pm ET Online
Poster Session Part of Posters


Alexandra Snell, Texas A & M University
Julie Newman, Texas A & M University
David Sparks, Texas A & M University

The Department of Geology & Geophysics (G&G) at Texas A&M University recently underwent a curriculum redesign. This study assesses the effect of both departmental climate and redesigned curriculum on undergraduate students' perceptions of learning and inclusion. Undergraduate G&G students are surveyed twice during their college careers (via an early-college career survey and graduation survey). Surveys ask about the students' perceptions of their learning achievement and the department's climate and inclusivity.

The goals of this study are to determine 1. evolution of students' perceptions of achieving learning outcomes, and inclusion within the department; 2. relationships (if any) between students' perceptions of learning and inclusion with independent measures of student success (retention, graduation rate); 3. differences in underrepresented student perceptions, and the causes of any differences.

Results of this study to date include early career and graduation survey data from Fall 2018 (F18) to Spring 2020. Survey results do not include enough demographic data to break out students into categories beyond gender. Survey participants have only selected to identify as male or female (from options: female, male, non-binary, transgender, and other) thus we focus on these two gender identities. Initial analyses indicate that while all students reported a positive perception of inclusion, there are statistically significant differences in levels of inclusion. 60% of graduating women surveyed in Fall 2018 reported high to moderately positive perceptions of inclusion, compared to 86% of their male counterparts (p-value =1.10% to 2.71%). Spring 2019 surveys show no statistical difference in perceptions of inclusion between genders, primarily due to a significant decrease (p-value = 0.21% to 2.06%) in male students' perceived inclusion.

Initial results indicate differences in student experiences based on gender and graduation period. This study continues until 2025, by which time trends within other demographic groups and long-term impacts of the curriculum will be discernible.

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