Workshop Overview

Jump to: Overview | Workshop goals | Expectations | Application and selection process

Join us for a workshop focused on how we can promote the success of all students taking geoscience courses in two-year colleges (2YCs). The range of students in 2YCs includes the very brightest to the least prepared, a melting pot of cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, many English language learners, military veterans, students with disabilities, single parents, parolees, retirees, co-enrolled high school students, retraining college graduates, and homeless individuals. In comparison to the typical four-year college or university student, the average 2YC student is nearly a decade older, commutes, and is employed more than part-time (AACC, 2012). Students in 2YCs are commonly place-bound, seeking employment or transfer within the community served by the college. Faculty in two-year colleges have both the opportunity and the challenge of teaching students with a wide range of abilities, goals, and preparedness. Below are examples of questions that will be addressed in this workshop

  • What are key findings from research on cognitive science, social psychology, and education and how can they be applied to geoscience education in 2YCs? For example, what is the role of metacognition in learning and how can we get students to become aware of and monitor their learning strategies? What can we learn about the research on supporting first-year success of students in two-year colleges?
  • Who are our students and what are their academic needs? What do we know about teaching students who are English language learners, who are science phobic and have math anxiety, or who want to pursue a geoscience career?
  • How can we best teach geoscience to all students, recognizing that our classrooms include students with diverse abilities, backgrounds, and goals?
  • What can we do to support student success in and beyond the classroom? For example, how can peer tutoring, internships, and student clubs contribute to academic success?
  • How can we determine the effectiveness of our efforts to support student success?
  • What are effective strategies for educating and motivating our full-time and adjunct colleagues about the results of this workshop?

The workshop will include plenary talks, panelist presentations, small and large group discussions, individual presentations or posters, planning/writing sessions, and time for networking, collaboration, and developing individual and collective action plans. Participants will also add materials related to these topics to an online collection of resources.


The goals of this workshop are to:

  • Discuss the implications of current research for supporting student success in geoscience at 2YCs
  • Document current practices for promoting student success (e.g., activities, instructional approaches, programs, support structures)
  • Explore strategies for effectively teaching all students, including distinct subpopulations
  • Develop approaches to engage our colleagues, including full-time and part-time faculty and administrators, in implementing approaches discussed at the workshop
  • Foster the network of colleagues who will implement and disseminate insights from the workshop


Each workshop participant is expected to:

  • In advance of the workshop -
    • submit a description of a course, activity, or program that supports student success; this may be something the participant has done or something that others have done;
    • submit a one-page essay about their approach to supporting student success in geoscience;
    • read all essays submitted by the other participants.
  • During the workshop - participate in all activities from the beginning of the workshop at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 to the end of the workshop after dinner on Saturday, July 20, 2013.
  • Following the workshop - either individually or collectively implement something that has been learned at the workshop and help disseminate insights from the workshop to other geoscience educators.

Application Process and Selection Criteria

Complete the application online and submit it no later than March 4, 2013. All applicants will be notified of the acceptance decision approximately two weeks after this deadline. Prior to the workshop, accepted applicants will be asked to fill out and submit an online registration form to confirm their attendance and to communicate their travel arrangements.

The final list of participants will be established with the goal of obtaining a wide view of strategies for supporting student success in a variety of 2YC settings. Preference will be given to applicants who hold full-time or adjunct faculty positions at 2YCs and who document specific interests in supporting student success in geoscience at 2YCs.

There is no fee to attend this workshop; project grants cover travel for faculty participants as well as double-occupancy participant lodging, meals, and supplies during the workshop. The workshop will be held on the campus of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. Participants will be housed in double-occupancy hotel rooms and will eat meals on campus and in town. A limited number of single occupancy rooms will be available for an additional fee.