Regional Network Development
Goals for changes in the regional network
- Develop a contact database of North Carolina 2YC geoscience faculty for sharing ideas and workshop information
- Build collaboration and communication among regional educators interested in 2YC geoscience education to enable discussions on topics such as student success, enrollment trends, and transfer pathways
- Share information between regional 2YCs and 4YCUs on transfer requirements and articulation agreements
- Develop relationships between regional 2YCs, 4YCUs, and professional societies to support student participation in research, internships, and professional socialization
We began developing our database of North Carolina 2YC geoscience educators by going to every North Carolina community college website and searching for geology classes and instructor contact information. We update the list each year to make sure that we are communicating with as many full- and part-time faculty members as possible.
Our workshops have been designed to cover all three strands of the SAGE 2YC project, including increasing student success, supporting transfer pathways, and increasing diversity in geoscience. Specific topics we have covered include metacognition, backwards design, making classes accessible for students with a variety of disabilities, as well as reducing implicit bias in our classrooms. We also discuss issues specific to North Carolina, such as our statewide articulation agreement. A lot of what we have covered has built from year to year because many of our participants have attended multiple workshops. All of our workshops have utilized active learning techniques to model good pedagogy for the participants. We have also used the workshops as a platform to share successful partnerships between different institutions around the state. Here are links to our previous workshop programs, where we have made a lot of our workshop materials publicly available:
- 2016 North Carolina Regional Workshop: Empowering 2YC Geoscience Faculty to Improve Student Learning
- 2017 North Carolina Regional Workshop: Pathways to Success: Course Design, Improving Diversity, and Transfer Opportunities in Geoscience
- 2018 North Carolina Regional Workshop: Taking the Leap from Studying Best Practices to Action: Propelling our 2YC Geoscience Students to Success
- 2019 North Carolina Regional Workshop: Education Showcase: Sharing Best Practices and Strategies for Teaching Geoscience
Our workshop participants have included faculty from several different North Carolina 2YCs and 4YCUs, current and former Wake Tech students, and the education specialist from the North Carolina Geological Survey. Our end of workshop evaluations are always very positive, and we take constructive feedback into account when we plan each new workshop. The fact that we have so many faculty members returning for multiple workshops has let us know that the time is well spent. There is interest among many of the faculty members to continue running workshops after the SAGE 2YC project ends.
As an offshoot of our work on the SAGE 2YC project, Wake Tech faculty members have started collecting a database of successful classroom activities that we have used with our students. We hope to share the database with our regional network so that it can grow and become a resource for even more faculty.
Our regional connections have led to interesting partnerships and opportunities for our students, including research projects with our partners at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and professional socialization activities with members of the Carolinas Chapter of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists.