Round Table Discussions
Afternoon Round Tables are open to all participants registered for that day (not reserved ahead of time).
Moderators: Samuel Cornelius Nyarko (Indiana University-Purdue University) and Grant Fore (Indiana University-Purdue University)
The Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education and Geoscience employers have increasingly called for student competency in three sets of skills: technical, field and soft skills. Geoscience teachers already do a good job training technical and field skills, but often do not embrace teaching the "soft" skills such as teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, communication and ethics employers desire. In this roundtable discussion, we seek to bring together researchers, educators and industry players doing work in this area of need to have a focus group discussion that will inform future plans and decisions regarding soft skills training in the geosciences and STEM. We anticipate that through this discussion, we will be able to put together best practices for teaching these skills in geoscience classrooms, laboratories and field settings.
Moderators: Ellen Metzger (San Jose State University), Morgan Disbrow-Monz (Geological Society of America), and Gregory Wessel (Geology in the Public Interest)
The pivotal role of the geosciences in addressing problems stemming from our interactions with the natural world is reflected in recent discussions of the future of geoscience education and how it could be a much larger part of primary education. Specifically, there is an increasing number of students looking for practical ways to apply their education, which is creating a critical need to refine teaching practices to incorporate an applied approach. Too often, students do not understand the breadth of the geosciences, and therefore the practicality of geoscience education. We need to better prepare students to apply their skills and knowledge of the Earth system in interdisciplinary collaboration with others to help solve challenges to sustainability including climate change, environmental degradation, and resource depletion. Community-based applications will help attract more students and encourage broader participation in the discipline of geosciences, which ultimately will be the foundation for solving these greatest challenges. For this roundtable session, we propose an interactive gallery-style activity to help stimulate a guided discussion about best practices for developing and instituting applied geosciences in our teaching and outreach efforts. We'll also learn about organizations that can help provide geoscience resources beyond those already available, including mentors and curricula-specific assistance. These organizations, including the Global Network for Geoscience and Society, seek to strengthen cooperation and catalyze actions to support the global geoscience community in working with others around the world to foster resilience and sustainability. This all requires improved geoscience education.
Moderators: Perry Samson (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor) and Bradley Bergey (CUNY Queens College)
The attrition of students belonging to populations traditionally a minority in STEM disciplines remains a national priority for undergraduate education. Arguably a critical inflection point for many college students is their first exposure to a STEM discipline that occurs in large entry-level survey courses. In these courses student inquiry is often negligible with many students uncomfortable posing verbal questions, stemming in part from a lack of confidence, fear of looking foolish and discomfort in disrupting the class, and is particularly pronounced for students traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. Accordingly, such climatic factors are considered critical to addressing STEM college student attrition. A relatively novel approach to addressing large-class climatic features is the use of in-class anonymous "backchannels" as a 'social layer' to improve student classroom engagement. This roundtable will present and discuss the educational foundations for the use of backchannels in large courses and results from the NSF study. Participants will learn the benefits and challenges of including a backchannel in class and how they can conduct a study of backchannels in their own classes.
Moderator: Kyle Fredrick (California University of Pennsylvania)
Undergraduate Geology courses beyond the introductory level often depend upon quantitative concepts with which students are unfamiliar or at least uncomfortable. The success or failure of a lecture, activity, or entire course may hinge on the preparation of the students, even if they have demonstrably satisfied the course prerequisites. Faculty have had varying degrees of success incorporating remedial math and physics concepts into courses, but often at a cost to the content they set out to teach. This roundtable discussion will invite instructors from across the undergraduate and high-school spectrum to share their frustrations, ideas, and success stories. Goals: Identify the critical quantitative concepts and skills geology students must master before graduation. Determine modes of learning (independent, in-class, project-based, etc.) best-suited to address those critical concepts Create a personalized plan for remediating at least one critical concept in an upper-division course Participants should expect to come away with... (1) methods for measuring students' readiness for content-related quantitative problem-solving; (2) specific examples of active learning strategies that highlight quantitative applications and reasoning; (3) out-of-class, student-centered methods for improving quantitative problem-solving; and (4) a network of like-minded teachers to share ideas and results into the future.
Moderator: Susan Meabh Kelly (University of Connecticut)
Research and practice suggests inclusion can be advanced through orienting towards students' interests and identities. As resources and insights from multiple fields are identified and leveraged in order to inform the development of inclusive geoscience activities, the potential contributions of practicing geoscience teachers remain under-recognized and under-examined. This round table is dedicated to envisioning a professionally inclusive geoscience learning ecosystem though which scientists, education researchers, and K-12 teachers may bridge and blur professional boundaries (Kelly & Thompson, 2018) in order to advance change.
Moderator: Amy Weislogel (West Virginia University) and Deon Knights (West Virginia University)
Graduate school is often a stressful endeavor for most stud. For students, it can be a challenge to prioritize mental and physical health during the hard work that graduate school requires. For mentors, it can be hard to identify the best approaches to support the mental and physical wellbeing of your mentees. We will discuss the commonalities of the struggle and brainstorm effective strategies that work to foster a healthy environment for fledgling researchers to thrive.
Advocating for Earth and Space Sciences: Community Conversation about Dual Credit and Concurrent Enrollments as Valued Pathways
Moderators: Wendi J. W. Williams, Ph.D. (South Texas College), Missy Holzer (Rutgers University-New Brunswick), and Suzanne Traub-Metlay (Western Governors University)
Advocating for geoscience education involves being aware of issues affecting K-Graduate Earth Sciences instruction and, in a collaborative effort, speaking up to safeguard or advance learner access to accurate, rigorous, and meaningful teaching. The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Advocacy Committee is currently engaged in reviewing and updating association position statements (please visit https://nagt.org/nagt/policy/index.html). Offering rigorous higher education Earth and Space Science courses to highly qualified high school students addresses critical needs in both geoscience education and future workforce demands. Members of the NAGT in collaboration with the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) advise continuing or establishing strong collaborations between high schools and postsecondary institutions around concurrent and dual credit enrollment Earth and Space Science courses. Through a joint Position Statement released 2015, we advocate for more formal bridging of high school to higher education. This position statement is now being updated and we seek conversation regarding in progress revisions for a new 5-year cycle. Come talk with colleagues and consider how you can support students, educators, and schools who care about robust learning in geosciences. Advocacy is a community need.
Moderators: Cody Kirkpatrick (Indiana University-Bloomington) and Steph Courtney (Auburn University)
Since March 2020, we have been forced to evolve our teaching philosophies and classroom strategies in ways never before imagined. What has worked great for you? What hurdles have you faced, and how have you worked to overcome them? How might your teaching be different in the "post-pandemic" era? At this round table, let's come together to celebrate our successes and mutter about our challenges. Both experienced and new teachers, at all levels, are encouraged to attend and share.
Moderator: Vince Cronin (Baylor University)
We want to open lines of communication between current, past, and prospective users of the AGI/NAGT Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology and its content editor (Vince Cronin). We hope to create a persistent community of geoscience educators who contribute to the positive evolution of the lab manual for the benefit of a diverse population of students. AGI and NAGT receive royalty income from the sale of this resource, which Pearson publishes.
We will provide an overview of the lab manual's history, audience, and current structure and content. We will solicit their opinions about several broad and specific characteristics of the current lab manual in the hope of identifying matters that the NAGT geoscience-ed community thinks are important to consider as the next edition takes shape. We anticipate that participants interested in further participation in the development of the Lab Manual will have the opportunity to do so.
Moderator: Heather Petcovic (Western Michigan University)
What is it that academic administrators like department heads, chairs, deans, and provosts actually do? And why would anyone want these jobs? Leading an academic unit can be challenging, frustrating, and difficult. Yet successful leadership can be deeply rewarding if you want to make a difference in the lives of your fellow faculty and students, leave things better than you found them, grow as a professional, and give back to your institution. This roundtable will explore the ups and downs of academic leadership roles so that perhaps you too may someday want to join the "Dark Side."
Moderators: Amy Weislogel (West Virginia University) and Laura Rademacher (University of the Pacific)
Description coming soon.