Initial Publication Date: September 9, 2019

Individual Growth and Development

Team and Institutional Context »

The Faculty as Change Agents program sought to support faculty Change Agents' growth as instructors and leaders so that they could have a greater impact on their students and in their programs, departments, institutions, and regional networks.

Daina Hardisty, Mt. Hood Community College

Although I was already making changes in many of my classes in order to increase student engagement, retention and learning, I think my knowledge of how to go about this was limited. My main change was in my G202 Physical Geology surface processes course, from a detailed trivial content focus to a broader, more useful "What a Geologist Sees" landscape analysis that was more student-centered. Despite this change, I was very tentative about these alterations, and made small changes with great uncertainty. After starting my participation with SAGE 2YC, and becoming a change agent, I have started making these changes within this course with more confidence as well as really starting to become more excited about the "unknown" and less tentative. Not only have I made greater leaps in changing the G202 course, I have also added a large number of active learning strategies into my other courses as part of the supporting student academic success portion of the project. My classes definitely have become more active learning environments by incorporating gallery walks, jigsaw, think-pair-share and any variation I can come up with, just to mention a few.

Although the Oregon team has led & attended workshops on active learning strategies, my own personal achievement in this area has been to share this information with the rest of my colleagues at MHCC. I really didn't think that what I've been doing, hasn't already been done by others at my institution; however, it seems to be in small pockets. During our most recent SAGE 2YC workshop in Albuquerque (2018), I brought an "administrator" with me who is part of our Teaching and Learning Communities group. Melissa Gonzales-McNeal really urged me to share the active learning strategies I have been using as well as others with the rest of the faculty at Mt. Hood Community College. So during our Autumn In-service, I hosted a well-attended session in a gallery-walk format on 5 prominent active learning strategies. This session had many positive comments such that several folks approached me about doing additional sessions to spread the word. I led a similar session at the end of Autumn quarter and am scheduled to lead another one this upcoming Spring quarter. So, essentially, I have become a catalyst for change at my institution and that is gratifying that I have something to give to my fellow MHCC faculty.

Andy Hilt, Portland Community College - Rock Creek Campus

Each term, I am increasing the use of active learning strategies as an attempt to shift the focus of my classes from instructor-centered to student-centered. One major example of this is the development of a capstone collaborative final for my G203 course. The collaborative final incorporates the jigsaw learning strategy, and has improved significantly since my involvement with SAGE 2YC. Students have mentioned that this activity highlights what they have learned in an interesting and enjoyable manner. Several mentioned that it is not like any other final they have ever taken, and they enjoyed the combination of independent work and group participation. One art student in particular came to me immediately following last year's collaborative final and asked me about opportunities in Geology. She told me that she only took G201 during the fall term because she did not want to struggle with Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. She enjoyed it enough to come back for G202 and capped it off by taking G203 as well. While I did not convert her to Geology, she has not completely given up on STEM programs, and has now returned this term to take my Introductory Astronomy course. This term I am excited to implement the regional case study of the Vanport Flood as part of my G202 course. This culturally relevant local case study will include a gallery walk/jigsaw similar to the activity we used during last year's regional workshop. I have started to share more strategies with other instructors on my campus. In particular, I have been mentoring two new instructors this term. I have been providing them both with all of my teaching materials, including newly developed active learning strategies derived since my involvement with SAGE 2YC. I have helped to develop laboratory activities for two new "on-ramp" courses as part of our attempt to increase diversity within our program. The addition of the new on-ramp course G147 (Geology of the National Parks) has led to the addition of an extra 4-credit lab section at my campus, which in turn resulted in the hiring of another part-time instructor. I have been actively participating with my fellow Trailblazer teammates in the development and implementation of our regional SAGE 2YC workshops and follow-on activities, 2019 NAGT conference, and chairing a session at the upcoming 2019 GSA conference. It is not difficult to see change taking place in my career when reflecting on the last few years.

Eriks Puris, Portland Community College - Southeast Campus

Participation in SAGE 2YC has changed the style and content of my teaching as well as expanded the focus of my practice as an earth science educator. My classroom sessions are now punctuated by active teaching methods, especially by doing quick assessments of student's factual knowledge prior to instruction and think-pair-shares to develop understanding of concepts. I include earth science career information early in my courses and constantly stress how topics relate to hazards, resources and global change. I highlight the community impact of geologic events; for example, how the Vanport Flood lead to greater integration in Portland due to the displacement of African Americans from Vanport into some of Portland's neighborhoods and the impact of the Missoula Floods on the geography of radon hazard and wineries in the Willamette Valley. I now invite a faculty member from our local four year institution to come into my class in the fall to highlight their geology program and have promoted REUs on a campus level as well as supported students in independent study projects. My collaborations with others on and beyond my campus have created a greater sense of engagement with the larger regional community and lessened my feeling of isolation. Overall SAGE 2YC has made me think bigger about what I can accomplish and has encouraged me to try things I would probably not have attempted without the examples and support of the SAGE 2YC community.