Northern California Change Agent Team

Chris DiLeonardo
Bridget James
De Anza College

Initial Publication Date: October 7, 2016


We are working to support and grow the numbers of geoscience majors successfully transferring from two-year to four-year institutions within the San Francisco Bay Area. We are currently focusing on developing a network of 2YC geoscience faculty and building partnerships between our institutions. The primary goal for this network is to co-organize field trips and other social and professional development opportunities for our students, thus building a sense of community and science identity among 2YC geoscience students at our institutions. Some of the professional development events for our students will take place at four-year institutions, enabling 2YC geoscience students to network with their peers and potential mentors at those institutions. A secondary goal of the network is to facilitate the sharing of information that is beneficial to all of our majors with our faculty colleagues.


We were motivated in part to undertake this project because of the potential synergy with the large number of two-year colleges within the greater San Francisco Bay region. It is possible that the unique opportunity to collaborate closely could address issues facing potential transfer students in the geosciences and broadening opportunities in the geosciences for our students from underrepresented groups. We also believed that the collective experience of our colleagues at neighboring two-year college departments could be brought to bear on refining methods and techniques in teaching and learning employed in our classrooms. Finally, we thought that this collaboration could be extended to our neighboring four-year universities that act as primary transfer recipients of our students. Developing a network of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the San Francisco Bay region offers unique benefits to both our faculty and our students at community colleges.

Aligning with Institutional Priorities

De Anza College is recognized as a major transfer-oriented 2-year institution. We have high transfer rates and are a recognized leader in innovation in undergraduate education. Engaging in a project focussed on increasing transfer rates in the geosciences and supporting our transfer students aligns perfectly with our overall focus. The sharing of ideas intended to improve instruction fits in with one of our core values, innovation. Additionally participation in a project that is also fundamentally looking at increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in the Earth sciences addresses another core value of equity. We are committed as an institution to strive for a diverse workforce and support the dreams of all of our students regardless of their background or circumstance.

This project description is part of a collection documenting work by teams of two-year college faculty to implement high-impact, evidence-based instructional and co-curricular practices at their own institutions in pursuit of improved STEM learning, broadened participation, and a more robust STEM workforce.

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