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Programs Supporting Minority Students in Geoscience

There are successful efforts to attract and support diverse students learning about the Earth in many institutions around the country. The profiles in this collection can serve as models and inspiration for departments and programs that aspire to broaden participation in the geosciences.

The browse below makes use of the US Federal Government's classifications of minority-serving institutions (MSI).

MSI Classifications

The federal government classifies US 2- and 4-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions which are eligible for federal student aid programs into seven mutually exclusive categories:

  1. HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities);
  2. Black-serving non-HBCUs: institutions that are not HBCUs/TCUs but in which Black students constitute at least 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment, while students of all other individual minority groups each constitute less than 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment;
  3. Hispanic-serving: institutions that are not HBCUs/TCUs and in which Hispanic students constitute at least 25 percent of the undergraduate enrollment, while students of all other individual minority groups each constitute less than 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment;
  4. Asian-serving: institutions that are not HBCUs/TCUs and in which Asian/Pacific Islander students constitute at least 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment, while students in each of the other minority groups constitute less than 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment;
  5. American Indian-serving: TCUs or institutions that are not HBCUs/TCUs but in which American Indian/Alaska Native students constitute at least 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment, while students in each of the other minority groups constitute less than 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment;
  6. Other minority-serving: institutions that do not fit any of the above categories but in which minority students as a whole constitute at least 50 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment; and
  7. Non-minority-serving: institutions that do not meet any of the criteria described above.

Li, Xiaojie; C. Dennis Carroll (November 2007). "Characteristics of Minority-Serving Institutions and Minority Undergraduates Enrolled in These Institutions: Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Report". Institute of Education Sciences (US Department of Education).

JSU Students in the Meteorology Lab
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Students in the Meteorology Laboratory at Jackson State University.[reuse info]
Provenance: Jackson State University Department of Physics, Atmospheric Science, and Geosciences
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SOLARIS Geo-Ventures Trip
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First SOLARIS Geo-Ventures event of the 2013-14 academic year. September, 2013[creative commons]
Provenance: Joshua Villalobos, EPCC
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SKC Hydrology Stdents
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Students at Salish Kootenai Tribal College doing hydrology activities.[reuse info]
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FVSU Student
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photo of a FVSU student[reuse info]
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2008 LSAMP Scholarship class at UNM
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2008 LSAMP Scholarship class at UNM[reuse info]
Provenance: LSAMP UNM
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Results 1 - 10 of 38 matches

University of California-Riverside
UCR is one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the US, ranked equal 12th by the US News & World Report in 2013. This situation reflects the commitment of the university to promoting and maintaining diversity, as well as the campus location within inland southern California. Overall, 38.4% of the undergraduate population in Fall 2012 identified as belonging to underrepresented ethic minorities (African-American, Latino/Chicano or Native American). The Department of Earth Sciences at UCR has existed, in various guises, since the founding of the university in the 1950s. Today, we have 56 undergraduate majors in our Geology and Geophysics programs.

Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Bayamon
Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón Campus (IAUPRBC) is a private, non-profit Hispanic Serving Institution. The IAUPRBC is the largest private institution of higher education in Bayamón, with an enrollment of more than 5,000 (92.4% undergraduate students). The IAUPRBC serves a broad spectrum of Hispanic students whose learning styles require a variety of experiences in and outside of the classroom. Many require tutoring in one or more basic skills. The student failure rate in gatekeeper courses stands at 57%, hindering advancement to upper level courses and increasing attrition among first and second year students. In response to these challenges, IAUPRBC have been developing activities geared to create the conditions for student-centered education, especially in traditional gatekeeper courses required in engineering, science, and technology programs. Faculty and infrastructure have been reinforced and undergraduate research has been promote as a key factor in STEM fields. IAUPRBC has been implementing distance learning courses and is committed to academic innovation. Currently, IAUPRBC houses an advanced technological infrastructure, with both Internet and Intranet capabilities, on a fiber optic backbone. There are over 600 workstations, with wireless access points strategically placed for users to connect to with their own portable computers. The Campus library has been transformed into the Information Access Center (IAC). A new database integrating all titles in the university system has been implemented and a virtual library can be accessed through the Internet and the university Intranet. Also, IAUPRBC has a Tutoring Center to help students on English, Spanish and Math skills and a "Internship, Exchange and Partial-Employment Office" to support students on their search for these activities to complete their education. The institution offers a Bachelor degree in Environmental Sciences and a Master degree in Environmental Sciences and Ecology.

Wayne State University
Support for our minority students is an integral part of both the Geology & the Environmental Science programs.

Metropolitan State University
Information for this profile was provided by Julie Maxson, Metropolitan State University. Information is also available on the program website. Jump Down To: Context | Keys to Success | Attracting New Students | ...

Stony Brook University
This M. S. in Geosciences Instrumentation operates within the graduate programs of the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook, which include several M.S. tracks and Ph. D. track.

University of Arizona
The University of Arizona (UA) is located in downtown Tucson, Arizona. Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona and is situated about 100 km from the U.S.-Mexico border. Tucson has 500,000 people; the greater metro area has about 1,000,000. The population of Tucson is about 40% Hispanic or Latino, and this group is growing. For instance, in the Tucson Unified School District, Hispanics/Latinos make up about 60% of all students. The UA was founded in 1885 and was the first university in the Arizona territory (that's right, ASU). In the fall of 2013, the UA undergraduate enrollment was 31, 670 students. Approximately 39% of these students were from a minority (undifferentiated). The UA currently offers degrees in 334 fields of study. The Department of Geosciences offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. For undergrads, Geosciences has three tracks: Geology, Geophysics, and Earth Systems Science. There is also a minor in Geology. For grads, the department offers the M.S. and Ph.D. The department is ranked #1 in Geology, #7 in Earth Sciences, and #10 in Geochemistry in the most recent U.S. News and World Report national survey of graduate programs.

CUAHSI is a university consortium of over 100 public and private US universities, and over 20 international and affiliate members. CUAHSI provides research and education support services for the University Water Research community. As part of this, CUAHSI operates a Water Data Center facility, to enable and promote access, discovery and use of water data for research and education. The CUAHSI WDC has a new outreach program that is focusing on engaging tribal colleges. We are specifically focusing on supporting tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to use water data services as part of natural resources and hydrologic curricula offered by many of these colleges. Most, if not all, tribal governments have natural resource agencies for administering tribal lands, so such data skills can lead to careers with tribal governments as well as being highly marketable in the general economy. Place-based education has been shown to be of particularly efficacy with Native American students [17]. Currently our nation awards an average of 30 degrees per year in the disciplines of geosciences to Native American students[18]. Only a small fraction of these students are in the field of hydrology or water resources, despite the importance of water and water rights to many tribes. Historically, in the 1980's there were more settlements, court decisions, legislative actions, and budgetary appropriations related to tribal water issues than in the previous seven decades combined. By any standard, satisfying Indian water entitlements has become one of the major resource challenges facing the American West. We are piloting this program by working with Salish Kootenai College (SKC), the only tribal college in the nation to offer 2- and 4-year degrees in hydrology, to implement training in use of water data as part of tribal college courses. SKC students are typically 80% Native American, and include students from more than 100 federally recognized tribes.

Over the past 9 years, UNAVCO has supported 44 interns through Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS), an NSF-funded multi-year, geoscience research internship, community support, and professional development program. Upper-division students from underrepresented groups spend 11 weeks in Boulder, Colorado during the summer conducting an independent, authentic research project under the guidance of a research mentor and the support of a communications mentor. RESESS interns are also mentored and supported after the summer program, and throughout the academic year by RESESS program staff. The primary goal of the RESESS program is to increase the number of historically underrepresented students entering the geosciences. The alumni of RESESS are 55% Latino/Hispanic, 27% African American/Black, 11% Native American, and 7% Asian American. Of the 30 interns who have earned a BS or BA, 13 are enrolled in a Masters program, and 8 are currently enrolled in a doctorate program. Nine RESESS alumni are working in private industry, five of those in the geosciences.

Calvin College
Calvin College is a comprehensive liberal arts college in the Reformed tradition of historic Christianity. Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the college has 4000+ undergraduate students from Michigan (52%) and other states and countries (48%). 10% of the student population are international students and 13% are AHANA (African-, Hispanic-, Asian-, and Native- American) students. Roughly 55% of the students are female. The Department of Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies (GEO Department) offers 8 different majors including education and group majors. Environmental studies, geology, and geography majors are the most popular majors, enrolling 81 students in Fall 2013. The number of student majors has quadrupled since 2009, indicating a growing interest in the geoscience majors. Faculty numbers have remained the same through that time period; in 2013 there are six male and one female faculty with disciplinary expertise and active scholarship programs.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Founded in 1957, the Department of Geography at SIUE offers an undergraduate major and minor in Geography and a master's degree in Geographical Studies. The department offers a variety of courses in human, physical, and regional geography, as well as geospatial techniques. Our faculty conduct research on a wide variety of topics at the local, regional and global scale. Students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on current, groundbreaking projects or gain experience through internships. Our students are prepared for careers in a wide range of fields. For example, recent graduates have taken positions as park rangers, urban planners, retail location analysts, resource managers, climate scientists, and geospatial analysts. Wherever you want to go, a degree in Geography from SIUE can take you there. A total of approximately 11,341 undergraduate students are currently enrolled at SIUE. Fifty three percent of these students are female, 15% African American and 4% Hispanic. Of the 115 total geography majors, approximately 5 are from minority groups.

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