Regional Network Development
Goals for changes in the regional network
- Connect with local 4 year transfer institutions for geoscience pathways
- Provide students with knowledge of geoscience career opportunities from local professionals
- Exchange information and build connections with local high schools, community colleges, and 4 year colleges / universities
We are developing articulation agreements to make it easier for students to transfer successfully to 4-year colleges. Our department has also worked with the STEM transfer officer to provide student tours and engagement activities with the local 4-year colleges, such as student participation in symposiums.
We have added information about geoscience career opportunities to our courses to increase student awareness of these opportunities. One strength of our program is that both of us have experience working in industry, and Audrey is currently employed as a GIS Analyst for the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project. Before coming to Cape Cod Community College, Catherine has worked in diverse environments such as Superfund sites, wetlands, OSHA trainings, aquaculture, and analytical laboratories for Analytical Balance Corp., Clean Harbors, New England Testing Lab, Barnstable County Extension Services, Jacobs Engineering and Springborn Lab. She worked on Native American public health issues, hazardous waste problems, aquaculture, and paleontology projects in coastal Massachusetts and the Southwest for the Wampanoag and Navajo tribes.
We invited over a hundred science faculty from the local high schools, community colleges, and 4-year institutions to our first workshop, Science by the Sea, during our state's STEM week. A dozen educators were able to participate and they all were enthusiastic and shared educational strategies and activities. As we write this, we are planning our second regional workshop, Science for Everyone.
Catherine's participation on Massachusetts' Department of Higher Education committees has increased our awareness of some of the current student challenges statewide. We have consequently made some changes to address the high cost of textbooks, including using OERs (open educational resources). We have also reached out to instructors in other disciplines about the benefits of OERs, Universal Design, and accessibility issues.
We have a higher percentage of students from the high schools, so our average student age is decreasing. We have increasing retention rates in some of our improved geoscience courses. We seem to have increased engagement, but we still need to get the results from the college's student survey to confirm this. We have anecdotal accounts of more students' success in their transfer process. Since we have revised our geosciences courses we have filled the seats quickly. This spring's enrollment in the geoscience courses we revised and offered were filled. This summer's geoscience foundation course filled and so another different geoscience course was added, and it has filled. We are working on scheduling a formal program review.