Geoscience Research Collaborations for Student Success (GeoRCSS)

Wednesday 11:15-11:45am PT / 12:15-12:45pm MT / 1:15-1:45pm CT / 2:15-2:45pm ET Online


Mary Poteet, The University of Texas at Austin
Kusali Gamage, Austin Community College
Meagan Bittner, The University of Texas at Austin
Christopher J. Bell, The University of Texas at Austin
Adam Papendieck, The University of Texas at Austin
Geosciences Research Collaborations for Student Success (GeoRCSS) is a unique partnership between Austin Community College (ACC) and the Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG) at The University of Texas at Austin to develop collaborative peer learning communities (PLCs) in the Geosciences with mixed cohorts of two-year college (2YC) and four-year college (4YC) students. The Jackson School recognizes the importance of diverse voices in the geosciences, and acknowledges the need to create equitable opportunities. ACC has higher representation of non-traditional, low income, and underrepresented students than UT Austin. By partnering JSG with ACC, we hope to 1) increase transfer rates and success of students moving from 2YC to 4YC, 2) increase the diversity of students within the geosciences, 3) generate knowledge about how high-impact educational activities influence transfer student success, and 4) develop an effective research-based 2YC-4YC partnership and innovation model that can be replicated across the nation. In the PLCs, students and peer mentors will engage in tiered learning phases and scaffolded peer mentoring as students gain experience. These experiences start in the students' first year with authentic research or industry internships, individual faculty advising, curriculum alignment between ACC and JSG, and scholarships to help low-income students from both institutions. Knowledge generation activities will characterize the collaborative work and learning involved in the 2YC-4YC transition and relate it to longer term outcomes, including academic performance, graduation, advanced studies and geoscientific career pathways. Although only a few students have been recruited to date, those from ACC have participated in faculty-led research and transferred successfully into JSG (n=2) and Natural Sciences (n=1) at UT Austin. We are more fully implementing the program this year, including an undergraduate mentor to help recruit ACC and JSG students and assessments of student needs and gains during the program.

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