Change Agent Cohorts
Cohort 1 (2016-2019)
Cohort 1 (C1) teams were identified in the project proposal and had their first workshop in March 2016. This cohort was made up of 11 teams spread geographically around the United States: Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Southern California (1 & 3), Northern California, and Oregon. These teams were involved in the program for four years.
C1 met face-to-face annually in the summer for intensive multi-day professional development workshops from 2016-2019. These workshops were opportunities to learn from each other and thought leaders on issues related to the strands of the project (broadening participation in Geoscience and STEM, facilitating students' professional pathways, and supporting the academic success of all students) as well as leadership development. During each academic year, C1 participated in virtual professional development opportunities such as journal or book clubs, discussion groups, and webinars.
C1 teams ran annual regional workshops, beginning in 2016, to pass on what they were learning to colleagues at their own and neighboring institutions. These workshops were designed and implemented by the Change Agents with support and guidance from project staff and leadership. In addition to formal workshops, many teams also ran book clubs, discussion groups, and other kinds of activities for their regional communities.
Cohort 2 (2017-2019)
Cohort 2 (C2) was formed in 2017 through an application process. Six teams were selected: Michigan, Massachusetts, Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area, and an additional team each from Southern California (2), Oregon, and Western Washington. In some cases, leaders of C2 teams had been participants in events led by C1 teams. Cohort 2 teams were involved in the program for two-and-a-half years, concurrently with Cohort 1.
C2 was designed as a dominantly virtual professional development experience. Change agents spent the first year in extended fall and spring virtual workshops with weekly or bi-weekly sessions stretching over 3 months, followed by a week-long virtual summer workshop. In the second year, the teams participated in virtual activities along with C1 and also ran their first regional workshops.
Cohort 3 (2020)
Supplemental funding was received from NSF in 2019 to form the third cohort of change agents (C3). This cohort was structured differently to include faculty from any STEM discipline as long as there was at least one geoscience faculty member on each team. The teams were involved for a single calendar year (2020) and would be focused on department, program, and institutional change rather than regional change. This effort also included 13 Peer Leaders from the Change Agents in Cohorts 1 and 2. These Peer Leaders acted as mentors and also designed and led some of the professional development experiences for C3. The 16 teams in C3, selected through an application process, more than doubled the number of individual Change Agents involved with the project.
C3 was envisioned as an entirely virtual experience. C3 teams received virtual professional development during spring and fall terms similar to what had been provided to previous cohorts but condensed and focused on developing their expertise around the three project strands. During June 2020, they participated in a virtual workshop similar to the week-long in-person workshops of previous cohorts, but with sessions distributed across a three-week period. The length of the workshop allowed sessions to be offered more than once and reduced the number of people in each session. The teams finished their project participation by running a workshop or series of mini-workshops for their campus communities. The teams were very creative in devising these events to suit the particular needs of their context.
The all-virtual design choice was fortuitous as the COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the academic landscape in 2020. The project was able to continue with relatively few disruptions throughout the year. The necessary changes involved the Change Agent teams moving from running primarily in-person workshops for their campus communities to running virtual ones.
Cohort 3 Leadership Extension (2021)
Building on the success of the virtual professional development for Cohort 3, additional funding from NSF provided a 6-month extension for selected C3 Change Agents to engage with the Leadership Development aspects that had been part of the project for Cohorts 1 and 2. The Cohort 3 Extension (C3X) runs from January to June of 2021 and includes a 10-week virtual professional development series and a virtual summer workshop. Working independently or in teams, the change agents will conduct engagement activities on their campuses to further their programmatic goals and enrich their leadership experience.