Initial Publication Date: July 10, 2019

Program/Department Development

Goals for change at the program/department level

  • Create opportunities for geoscience students that will increase student recruitment, retention and completion rates.
  • Develop classroom strategies that will engage all students in gaining a better understanding of the geosciences and their role and relationship with their environment.
  • Create educational opportunities for the community that we serve in order to enhance their understanding of and impact to their environment.


The Institute of Marine and Environmental Studies (IMES) was created in 2010 to serve as an umbrella under which all geoscience courses and programs would be contained. Today, IMES provides new gen-ed courses in oceanography, geology and environmental science. Students can also complete their AA Degree in Marine Science, Environmental Science, Marine Biology, Geology and Ocean Engineering or an AS Degree in Environmental Science Technology. IMES faculty are dedicated to promoting these courses and programs within the college community and have partnered with Daytona State College Office of Student Advising to assist in this effort. In addition, to increase student recruitment, retention and completion rates for students enrolled in IMES majors, we created various strategies based on research and evidence-based practices. For example, research suggests that student retention and completion rates are positively impacted when students are given opportunities to interact with their peers and faculty. With this, we designed an orientation and required that all geoscience majors participate. Research also indicates that offering students opportunities to experience career practices early-on in their academic careers enhances completion rates. Therefore, we started an undergraduate research lab where students were given the opportunity to design and execute their very own scientific research plan. To broaden undergraduate student opportunities, increase high school student recruitment rates, and provide learning opportunities to the community, we then created two events: ShORE (SHaring Our Research with Everyone) and the Arts & Sciences Colloquium.

Classroom strategies that engage Geoscience students were expanded to the department level. Students who have declared a major in Geoscience are also required to take gatekeeper courses such as biology and/or chemistry. Ideas and classroom strategies were shared at a department level meeting to encourage and engage faculty in active learning. At the college-wide level, the establishment of the Arts and Sciences Colloquium provided an opportunity for faculty outside the IMES institute to collaborate and engage students in active learning.


Today, hundreds of students annually enroll in one or more of the geoscience courses now offered at Daytona State College. Data that Karen has collected indicate that the required IMES Orientation resulted in an increase in geoscience-student retention rates (80%) when compared to overall student retention rates of the college (61%). Students reported that the biggest benefits of participating in the orientation was hearing from former students who had previously participated in the undergraduate research lab (64%). A survey taken by the participating students indicated that 30% of them had heard about our program via the ShORE event.

The ShORE event is now in its fifth year and has been a local success. Annual attendance is well over 400 and includes scientists, politicians, students and community members. Undergraduate students representing Daytona State College have competed with undergraduates from public and private universities locataed around the state; we have had winning poster and/or oral presenters every year. Typically, up to 5 local high schools have brought students interested in the geosciences to the event and a few have actually competed in the oral and/or poster competitions.