Program/Department Development

Goals for change at the program/department level

  • To improve instruction within our Earth science classes through the integration of active learning and metacognition methods.
  • To better support students from traditionally underrepresented groups in the geosciences in our Earth science classes.
  • To foster greater collaboration amongst our faculty in the ongoing development of curriculum and instructional improvement.


As a team we have closely worked with our two other faculty members in the Earth sciences at De Anza College. This included close collaboration by our Change Agent Bridget James with two different faculty in developing and improving online classes. Additionally faculty from our departments have been including and testing various active learning approaches in geology and meteorology classes on campus. One other strategy that has been ongoing since the beginning of our involvement with the SAGE 2YC project has been developing and analyzing new collaborative testing models in our classes.


Improving instruction, integrating ongoing active learning approaches, and metacognition are hard to assess. It may be that the impact slowly develops or that we may need special evaluation methods to parse out their impact from other things in our courses. Student response to these approaches seems favorable and they have been mentioned in student evaluations. As for our ongoing work in collaborative testing, a three year study of success rates in target populations within our classes showed an improvement of 3 to 4% per year. These targeted populations at the college are ethnic minorities who as a group have been below the college's average in success rates in all classes. The trend over three years put these groups' success rates in our Earth Science classes ahead of success rates for the college as a whole. We are continuing to monitor this trend.