JoAnn Thissen

Garden City

Physical Sciences

Nassau Community College

JoAnn Thissen is an instructor at Nassau Community College. She co-convened the 2015 workshop Motivating and Improving Learning: Metacognition, Motivation, and the Affective Domain and the 2014 workshop Supporting Student Success in the Geosciences at 2-Year Colleges at Nassau Community College. In her essay "Accepting the Challenge" she describes the challenge of developing and marketing the geoscience program at Nassau Community College and the terrific results she has gotten. In her essay "Getting Them to Love Rocks" she describes building her field geology course.


Thissen teaches Physical Geology (lecture/lab), Historical Geology (lecture/lab), Beaches and Coasts (lecture), and Field Geology (lecture/lab).

Professional Interests

Thissen's educational interests focus on developing and using active, hands-on learning experiences. Her students are semi-urban and rarely go outside of their local environment, and so she uses local and real examples to connect students to the course content, as exemplified by her Beaches and Coasts class and her Field Geology course. Thissen is a geologic oceanographer with a specialization in estuarine and coastal environments. She also specializes in coastal geomorphology. In her research she collected and analyzed grab samples and cores as well as using wide-swath bathymetry. Each year she volunteers for Nassau Community Colleges's Math Department's Y2M day (Say Yes to Mathematics). She is a professional photographer and uses her photos in her lessons.


Nassau Community College the largest single-campus two-year college in New York, and is part of the SUNY system. It serves Long Island, New York and is located in Garden City. Nassau Community College serves over 33,000 students - 20% of whom are African American or Black and 17% of whom are Latino or Hispanic. Five percent of the students receive services through the office of disability services.

Workshop Leader and Participant, Website Contributor

Website Content Contributions

Activities (3)

Geologic Time Resorts part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
In this Geologic Time Resorts activity students do in-depth research on a given geologic time period of the Phanerozoic Eon and create brochures "selling" their time period as a resort destination.

Beach Profiling, Observing and Documenting a Changing Environment, Point Lookout, NY part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
Using quantitative field methods to study shoreline erosion of a barrier beach. Students profile a beach and mechanically process sediment to document the changes along a shoreline.

Digging for Fossils part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
"Digging for Fossils": A student laboratory activity

Essay (1)

Accepting the Challenge part of SAGE 2YC:Workshops:Supporting Student Success in Geoscience at Two-year Colleges:Essays
JoAnn Thissen, Nassau Community College Download this essay (Acrobat (PDF) 13kB Jun14 13) Because our department does not offer any type of program in the geosciences it's up to each faculty member to ...