Initial Publication Date: April 13, 2011

Why are Two-year Colleges Important?

Two-year colleges (2YCs) play a major role in geoscience education in the United States and Canada. In the U.S., nearly half of the students who take introductory geoscience do so at a 2YC. Students take geoscience at 2YCs to meet their science degree requirements, to begin coursework towards a bachelor's degree in geoscience, to receive an associates degree or certificate in geoscience or geoscience technology, to receive science education for K-12 teaching, or for continuing education as part of life-long learning. At some public universities, over half of the geoscience majors start their geoscience coursework at a 2YC and many institutions are beginning to see the value in using their local 2YCs to recruit new majors.

Two-year College Projects in Other Disciplines

Two year colleges are important to other disciplines as well and there are several efforts afoot to strengthen teaching and learning at the 2YC level.
  • Supporting Community College Faculty Across the STEM Disciplines - This interdisciplinary project addresses the isolation of community college instructors and their lack of engagement with discipline-based professional associations and NSF-funded projects. The project aims to improve student learning across STEM disciplines by increasing community college faculty use of existing resources. This NSF-funded project provides information about the various efforts undertaken by different disciplines to engage and support faculty in community colleges as well as materials developed by participants in interdisciplinary workshops.
  • Economics at Two-Year Colleges - This NSF-funded initiative aims to promote the use of innovative economic education resources by community college economics instructors.
  • SPIN-UP/2YC - Strategic Programs for Innovation in Undergraduate Physics at Two-Year Colleges (SPIN-UP/TYC) is a project to find exemplary physics programs at two-year colleges from which a large number of minorities and women enter science, technology, engineering or math programs at a four-year college or university.
  • AMATYC - The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges was founded in 1974. It is the only organization exclusively devoted to providing a national forum for the improvement of mathematics instruction in the first two years of college.