Teaching Geoscience in a Changing Climate: it's hard to teach students who aren't in your class

Poster Session Part of Wednesday Poster Session


Sharon Browning, Baylor University
Joe Yelderman Jr., Baylor University
Stacy Atchley, Baylor University
Wayne Hamilton, Baylor University
Societal views impact curriculum changes at all levels, and changes in K-12 curriculum can affect career choices. World events such as a pandemic, the price of petroleum products, and climate change also affect career choices. This presentation identifies challenges facing geoscience education and documents problems that indicate a need for changes in geoscience recruitment at the university level.
Baylor University (BU) is addressing these challenges using informational recruitment strategies and curriculum changes. Geoscience classes are not required in many core curricula and geoscience is not on everyone's career radar like doctor, lawyer, or merchant chief (business). Therefore, there is a need to inform students about geoscience outside the classroom to encourage them to opt into a class. Examples of recruitment strategies include targeting undecided freshmen, working with admission and advising departments on talking points- including the development of class and departmental flyers, and partnering with community colleges and K-12 teachers. Although partnering with K-12 teachers has low direct returns (students enrolling at BU), it is an important long-term strategy that should benefit the larger geoscience community. Baylor faculty also developed changes to the geoscience curriculum to better represent geoscience subdisciplines that apply to a growing variety of careers. The new curriculum should also allow enrolled students who experience geoscience to change their major with fewer delays in graduation schedules.