Initial Publication Date: April 13, 2020

Program/Department Development

Goals for change at the program/department level

  • Increase geoscience enrollment and engagement
  • Increase student retention and success in geoscience courses
  • Increase student awareness of Geoscience transfer and professional pathways


  • Review and complete overhaul of curriculum / certificate programs, which has resulted in dependably offering transferrable geoscience courses
  • Use evidence-based strategies to improve all students' academic success  

The first thing we did was re-think and overhaul all of our courses and programs to align better with current student interests and demographics, funding, and institutional priorities. This meant revising or retiring 20 courses that had been in our course catalog!  We also retired 6 of our 7 certificate programs, leaving only the Coastal Zone Management program. Now the courses we offer are filling up. Even as we have retired some courses, the courses we still offer have been revised to attract more students.  

The dean, department chair, and most of the faculty reviewed the SAGE 2YC website for tools and resources, which we then discussed at a department meeting. We have incorporated student-centered learning strategies and provided more resources about careers to increase student engagement in lectures and labs. We also use supplemental peer instructors to increase one-on-one assistance. We are building an emphasis on the connections between course topics, personal relationships, and global issues within our remaining courses. Students have expressed their enjoyment and appreciation of these revisions. We have documented these changes in our institution's tracking system and shared our revised curriculum and labs with other instructors. We are also continually assessing and re-revising to improve these teaching materials. In addition, we are working to adopt best practice strategies for student advising. We are also conducting a program review.  


The geoscience courses that are being offered are filling shortly after registration opens so more sections of the improved courses are being added to the schedule. Rates of student retention and successful course completion have improved. We will continue to track these kinds of assessment data to measure our progress.