Clark Atlanta University

Institutional Context

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) was formed though the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African-American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation's first institution to award graduate degrees to African-Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation's first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African-American student population. Building on its social justice history and heritage, Clark Atlanta University is a culturally diverse, research-intensive, liberal arts institution that prepares and transforms the lives of students. CAU is committed to academic excellence, character-building, and service to others. The University will achieve its mission by cultivating an environment of honesty, kindness, mutual respect, self-discipline, school loyalty, trust, academic integrity, and communal pride.

Existing Student Supports

Strategies to create pathways

Student Interests and GA Needs

To inform the direction of programs, deans survey students, alumni, and faculty about the interest present for the development of certain programs (particularly faculty) and for a certification in that area (students). Within education specifically, deans consider existing areas of need within Georgia schools. Data from the GA Department of Education and K-12 schools also supports this process.

Incorporating Geosciences into other Disciplines

There are a number of courses within the physical sciences which provide students with the opportunity to learn about geosciences or which cover overlapping concepts. Additionally, through the AUCC (described below), students are able to access courses, including geoscience courses, at member universities.

Professional Preparedness Upon Graduating

An important factor in the development of the School of Arts and Science is preparing students for a diverse scientific workforce. Practically, this factor necessitates supporting students in building the skills for career paths that they may explore upon graduating from CAU.

Specialized Support and Instructional Strategies

Sequences of Courses

The deans and faculty in School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education have experience in collaborating to develop sequences of courses that provide students with the opportunity to develop expertise in particular areas. One such example of this is the bioinformatics sequence which supports students in the bioinformatics certification. This is invaluable experience as CAU develops additional course sequences to support students and Georgia in key knowledge areas and specifically has illuminated key considerations in the developmental phases such as faculty expertise and adequate content for the courses.

Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education

The Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE) brings together Atlanta Universities and nonprofit community partners to build awareness of the campuses collective scope, impact, and value and to help them share strengths through cooperative programs. It also works to strengthen public support for higher education, to promote economic and community development, and to support the member institutions and organizations leveraging their individual strengths in collaboration.

Atlanta University Center Consortium

The Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) is comprised of four member institutions: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College. The AUCC is a vibrant intellectual community with a long tradition of scholarship, service, and community engagement. It operates on behalf of its members to advance each institution's mission and strategic goals by fostering collaboration, managing center-wide initiatives, offering services that benefit students and the community, and leveraging shared resources. Additionally, the AUCC enables students to cross-register for courses, which provides an opportunity for geosciences as students can choose from a broader number of geoscience courses.


Geoscience Awareness and Opportunities: First Years

An important piece of broadening participation in the geosciences relies on building awareness of geoscience career paths. CAU has found success in building first year students' awareness of different career paths in other disciplines, which has provided students with more information as they make decisions about their futures. This is a strategy that could translate into the geosciences.

PD for K-12 Educators: Expanding STEM Education Certifications

The School of Education is in the process of expanding the number of STEM Education Certifications it provides coursework to support. This is an area in which the geosciences could be supported in K-12 education.

Financial and Resource Supports

As CAU continues to develop high quality, high integrity courses and programs that support students in developing key professional skills, a high level of funding and resources are necessary to support administration, faculty, and students. Currently, deans and faculty submit NSF proposals for course, program, and sequence development, which is a potential avenue for similar funding within the geosciences.