Northwestern Connecticut Community College
Tara Jo Holmberg, Northwestern Connecticut Community College Professor of Environmental Science and Biology, has over 18 years of experience as a science educator. A finalist for the national Campus Compact Thomas Erlich award in 2017, and awarded the New England Formal Environmental Educator of the Year in 2018, she has been recognized for having significant influence on student civic learning and development. Over the years, Tara Jo has incorporated a number of different service-learning and civic engagement projects within her ecology, botany, and environmental science classes which also led to her receiving the National Association of Biology Teachers Two-Year College Biology Teaching Award in 2014.
Students in her courses learn about natural systems in the field and give back to the community by monitoring local impaired watersheds over time; collecting information on local forests to identify changes in the forest ecosystems; gathering behavioral data on rare and endangered waterfowl for a conservation organization; and constructing rain, pollinator, and buffer gardens on campus to repair natural habitats.
Tara Jo has developed curriculum with both HHMI BioInteractive and the National Ecological Observatory Network. She has led two successful QUBES/InTeGrate Faculty Mentoring Networks as a mentor in 2017 and 2018. Tara Jo regularly leads professional development training for faculty regionally and nationally as a Center for Teaching - Teaching and Learning Consultant and also conducts intensive Instructional Skills Workshops for faculty interested in a more intensive professional development experience.
In addition to her classes and professional development work, Tara Jo has developed environmental and conservation educational programming for the larger community of the northwest corner of Connecticut. She has been a Board Member of the Northwest Conservation District since 2010, recently became a Board Member for the Farmington River Watershed Association, and volunteers with several other community organization. On campus, Tara Jo recently served as Department Chair of the STEM Department for over 5 years, advises for the Natural Resources program, and chairs several committees on campus.
Website Content Contributions
Course Module (1)
Tara Jo Holmberg: Introduction to Environmental Science at Northwestern Connecticut Community College part of Integrate:Teaching for Sustainability:How the Community is Using InTeGrate Materials:Instructor Stories
As with my first semester using InTeGrate materials, I only used select units that best fit my course and modified the materials somewhat to adapt them to my physical classroom and also the technology available to my students (e.g. no GIS software). Hearing from the participants in the InTeGrate FMN was a wonderful lesson in adaptation. The faculty were very open to suggestions on possibilities as well as techniques and best practices from those who had come before them.
Tara Jo Holmberg: Using the A Growing Concern and Soils, Systems, and Society Modules in Introduction to Environmental Science at Northwestern Connecticut Community College part of Integrate:Teaching for Sustainability:How the Community is Using InTeGrate Materials:Instructor Stories
This course was taught within a newly designed 21st century classroom. The 16 students were from a variety of majors, most taking it as their science elective and 3 as a major requirement. This particular class was one of the most engaged I have ever had. While the personality of the class was unique, upbeat, and engaged, the design of the classroom cannot be overlooked as a contributing factor in the success of this implementation.
Conference Presentations (5)
Thursday B: Program and Faculty Development part of Earth Educators Rendezvous:Previous Rendezvous:Rendezvous 2017:Program:Oral Sessions:Thursday B
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Other Contributions (3)
Tara Holmberg: Using InTeGrate Materials in Introduction to Environmental Science - EVS 100 (Online) at Northwestern Connecticut Community College part of Integrate:Teaching for Sustainability:How the Community is Using InTeGrate Materials:Instructor Stories
As part of my second mentoring of the InTeGrate FMN for QUBES, I chose to focus on my conversion of several resources to an online course format. I've used InTeGrate materials in multiple onground and hybrid courses since Spring 2016. Student achievement gains in objectives related to soils, agriculture, mining, climate change, among others have been measurable through these resources. Beginning in the fall of 2017, and continuing through spring and summer 2018, I began to add InTeGrate modules to purely online courses (Intro to Environmental Science and Earth Science) with the same goals and outcomes.
Monday A: Course Development to Engage your Students part of Earth Educators Rendezvous:Previous Rendezvous:Rendezvous 2018:Program:Oral Sessions:Monday A
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Introduction to Course Design Using InTeGrate Materials part of Earth Educators Rendezvous:Previous Rendezvous:Rendezvous 2018:Program:Morning Workshops:Introduction to Course Design Using InTeGrate Materials
Participants will explore InTeGrate Modules as they develop or redesign their course, using principles of backward design and best practices. Educators will work together to develop their materials and leave with a ...