Unearth Your Future: An online module about geoscience careers using DEI by design
Overview of the online career module elements with tips for integrating it into undergraduate courses. Attendees will be given supplemental materials to prepare them to facilitate often sensitive conversations around DEI topics such as implicit bias, microaggressions, or privilege.
This is a 4-hour online, asynchronous module about geoscience careers using diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by design. The module can accompany existing introductory curriculum to introduce students to a wide range of geoscience careers early in their education. It uses the lens of DEI to encourage students to think about how to craft a career path that is unique to their skills, interests, and social identities.
The module has five main objectives: (1) summarize geoscience concepts, (2) demonstrate how geoscience impacts society, (3) highlight a wide variety of careers,(4) describe skills for geoscience careers, and (5) connect careers with students' diverse identities.
Faculty using the module will be given supplemental materials to prepare them to facilitate often sensitive conversations around DEI topics such as implicit bias, microaggressions, or privilege.
The target audience is early undergraduate students, typically in regular introductory geoscience courses. It can be used outside of class as homework or extra credit. Instructors can also choose to include elements of it during class. Students can also complete the online asynchronous module entirely independently.
Why It Works
Prominent geoscience education literature shows that, despite decades of efforts, there has not been progress made in increasing diversity for the past 40 years. Traditional recruitment tactics failed to move the needle meaningfully, in part since marginalized students often enter geoscience academic programs with unwelcoming or toxic cultures. These environments are difficult to navigate and students are not usually given adequate support to tackle pervasive challenges, such as implicit bias or microaggressions. In addition, information about geoscience careers outside of academia has been historically left out and when it is included, it does not tap into the other parts of students' social identities to show they "belong" in the profession. This online module uses the lens of DEI to encourage students to think about how to craft a career path that is unique to their skills, interests, and social identities.
We piloted the module with 10 students located at a Historically Black College and University to gauge the effectiveness of the content on learning outcomes. We used pre- and post-surveys, self-reflection assessment questions, and discussion forum responses to evaluate the module. Preliminary data show discussion forums engage students to think critically about how their experiences relate to the geosciences and help students apply DEI topics to school and the geoscience career content. As a result, 2-3 non-geoscience majors have cited increased interest in the discipline and are considering pursuing a major or minor in the future.