Nurture a Common Community
It takes a village! Overcoming hurdles is easier for students if they are supported by a well-connected, caring community. There are steps that instructors can take to help students build enduring personal relationships with other people, such as:
- 2YC students connecting with other 2YC students going through the same thing,
- 2YC students connecting with current 4YC students;
- 2YC students connecting with their future 4YCU faculty at their transfer institution,
- 2YC faculty connecting with 4YCU faculty,
- 2YC adjuncts connecting to 2YC full-timer instructors, and
- 2YC faculty connecting to other 2YC faculty.
Create Connections Using Regional Faculty GatheringsBringing people together is good. It's hard to connect if you're not in the same place at the same time. So whether an event is conceived of, de novo, as an opportunity to bring 2YC faculty into contact with 4YC faculty, or designed to "piggyback" on pre-existing events, the key is to make it happen.
The Northern California team hosted two spring transfer-oriented events where students from De Anza and other 2-year colleges participated in discussions with local university faculty on transfer requirements, majoring in the geosciences, career opportunities, and research. Featuring graduate and advanced undergraduate student presentations of their own research created enthusiastic discussions and engagement with the assembled 2YC students.
The Virginia team has twice hosted a student-focused career workshop in association with the regular annual Virginia Geological Field Conference, leveraging the preexisting meeting as an opportunity for outreach. This activity connected students potentially interested in geoscience careers with employers and professional mentors.
Conduct Joint 2YC-4YCU Activities
Serving Transfer Students »Collaborations between 2-year colleges and 4-year institutions can be powerful in providing a bridge for transfer students and in nurturing the growth of a network, where each student feels increasingly integrated within the community
- In 2005 over spring break, Foothill College students and San Francisco State University students together visited the Death Valley region and the Colorado Plateau. The ~28 students (half from each school) were able to bond, fostering a sense of camaraderie. Faculty from both the college and the university were there.
- Create shared geology club activities like seminar series speakers between 2YC's and 4YCU's. For instance, Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University share their seminar series announcements with one another, and welcome participation by students/faculty from the other school.
The University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc hosts an annual student research and creative symposium to which students from neighboring institutions are invited. Many who teach at Manitowoc require students to either make a presentation or prepare a poster of their research for the symposium. Classes often work as teams which give them a sense of security. Development of a poster helps students prepare for future professional work.
Border to Beltway was a 2014 "field exchange" between a dozen students at Northern Virginia Community College and another dozen from El Paso Community College. The 24 students engaged in a week of shared travel and field work in west Texas and southern New Mexico over spring break, and another week in the mid-Atlantic region (D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia) 2 months later.
Encourage and Facilitate Campus Visits
Focused campus visits can answer questions, offer perspective, and distribute information to those who need it. Providing a supportive opportunity to explore the campus of a four-year institution where students may transfer can help overcome the fear of the unknown that can keep some students from thriving at a new institution.
The close relationship between Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and James Madison University (JMU) allows regular visits of JMU faculty to NOVA to discuss transfer, culture, curriculum, research opportunities as well as for NOVA students to visit JMU for get familiar with the people, space, and culture of the four-year institution.
Through a number of efforts and projects, the North Carolina team has been able to develop, nurture, and strengthen a strong working relationship with North Carolina State University. This collaboration has enabled field site sharing, shared proposal writing, and committee work.