About the Project

Despite meaningful STEM diversity and inclusion efforts, African Americans remain disproportionately underrepresented in the geosciences. Though national standards introduce the field as early as the 6th grade, many teachers lack the proficiency to develop content or to confidently deliver instruction and career guidance in the Earth Sciences. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) are relatively untapped resources and opportunities to meet these needs.GP-IMPACT: Expanding HBCU Pathways for Geoscience Education proposes to develop and deploy a deep-dive assessment to (1) impact middle school teacher preparation curricula and professional development activities toward the goal of (2) improving African American representation in the geosciences .The systematic approach will result in an Evaluation and Enhancement Tool that will allow the user to assess their institutional approach with evidence-based best practices of HBCUs and other entities in geoscience methods, practices, and outcomes; administrative leadership; and institutional support with particular emphasis on pre-service teacher preparation curricula and programs.  Evaluation and Enhancement are two components of the proposed work, which may be used by institutions to prescriptively address any gaps that are identified. As the 2 stages of the Tool (Evaluation & Enhancement) are developed and then mapped to each other, this team anticipates that voids will be identified for which there are inadequate or missing Enhancement Tools to meet the need.  For example, previous collective experience of the HBCU Pathways group indicates that culturally relevant materials will need to be developed and tested as they are critical in reaching and attracting students from underrepresented groups. These materials would help these student groups see the role that they can fill with a career and/or significant training in the Geosciences.  Each of these steps is essential in systematically determining the path forward for increasing diversity in the Geosciences so that we may more holistically address the environmental issues that exist and that will continue to be revealed in coming years.

GP-IMPACT: Expanding HBCU Pathways to Geoscience Education will develop and test the Evaluation and Enhancement Tool that can be used by HBCUs and other institutions that reach or aspire to attract and support African Americans in the Geosciences, including Geoscience Education.  Because geoscience diversity and inclusion efforts over the past half century have resulted in a less than notable increase, the HBCU Pathways Team will use a range of critical components to supporting the success of African Americans in the Geosciences for the development of the Evaluation component of the Instrument. These include strength of institutional/ programmatic support and capacity for geoscience curricula and activities, while targeting pre-service and in-service teachers. Thus, HBCU Pathwayswill deliver a strategic multidimensional solution (1) to impact middle school teacher preparation curricula and professional development activities toward the goal of (2) improving minority access to the geosciences. This multidimensional and scalable solution was planned and framed during the first year and in year 2 will be more deeply evaluated for its robustness and usability at the 3 core institutions. Using guided self-studies and on-site work, the 3 core HBCUs that have demonstrated success in producing geoscientists, science educators, or both (Savannah State University, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Tennessee State University) will be characterized around the successes and challenges for these institutions around developing African American geoscientists and geoscience educators, from attracting/recruitment to placement in the field. This information will be used to refine the concurrently framed Deep Dive Evaluation Tool, which will be grounded in a mixed model statistical structure. At each stage, Enhancement Resources are being collected, vetted, and mapped to recommend site-specific (place-based) prescriptive resources to fortify efforts by institutions to offer hands-on training, develop geoscience content, and deliver geosciences into HBCU pre-service teacher preparation curricula and programs.

Core interdisciplinary teams and additional partners and advisors, will utilize a theory-driven process of intervention design and evaluation to develop an effective, sustainable, and scalable institutional and programmatic-level intervention. The approach will be used to support the development of interventions by bringing together key stakeholders, particularly Teacher Educators, Regional School-System Representatives, and Geoscientists from the start to scrutinize and address proposed approaches to achieving plausible, feasible, and testable assessment methods and enhancement activities. This will also be aligned with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation standards. Additionally, this focused effort to systematically develop and complete testing of a scalable, interactive, stakeholder-driven deep dive process will assist the HBCU and broader Education community in advancing geoscience education and workforce development by accessing the untapped HBCU community resources and opportunities.