Georgia State University-Perimeter College Change Agent Team

Deniz Ballero, Geology
Polly Bouker, Geology
Pamela Gore, Geology

Team Activities

Individual Accomplishments

Deniz Ballero

I have:

  • Created a folder of all SAGE workshop methods for faculty teaching with the template.
  • Implemented several active learning strategies (exam wrapper, minute paper, concept sketch) 
  • Increased sense of belonging by incorporating scientist spotlights, implementing interventions.

Polly Bouker

I have:

  • Produced "how to learn" materials for students and faculty in my course template
  • Actively looked for opportunities to help students with their sense of belonging and to see our coursework as something they CAN DO.  
  • Made a greater effort to incorporate active learning strategies and opportunities for reflection throughout the semester.

Pamela Gore

I have:

  • Added Scientist Spotlights to my online courses
  • Added Post-Midterm Reflections to the online Discussion Board to function as an Exam Wrapper.
  • Turned a Gallery Walk into an online Discussion Board assignment 
  • Added several active learning assignments from an InTeGrate project into my online lab course.

Team Accomplishments

Strengthening our Department/Program

Accomplishments/Action Plan:

  • Employ active learning strategies in each Geology course
  • Utilize intelligent agents in LMS to remind about upcoming assignments, to increase engagement
  • Faculty workshop for colleagues (Active learning strategies, UD, and other strategies) 
  • Instructional scaffolding and chunking of content where possible in Physical Geology online course (has the largest enrollment and most room for improvement).
  • Target underserved student groups, based on institutional data through STEM posters.
  • Publicize careers in geology in and outside of courses
  • Offer more online sections of geology because they attract more students

Next Steps: Continue improvement of our courses and analysis of new course level data as we move out of this pandemic period. While there are aspects of our action plan that have not been implemented yet, they are still very much in our future plans.

Developing our Campus Community

Engaging our Colleagues:

Fall Workshop with Geology faculty: 

  • Participation from all full time geologists at Perimeter College. Communications with participants after the workshop through the semester so far, with suggestions or questions related to workshop content.
  • We have shared strategies learned in the SAGE2YC project with others in our various science disciplines.

Other: Advertise Geology courses to academic advisors, military outreach and financial aid.  Add STEM Webex guest speakers including faculty from under-represented groups.

Next Steps: We plan to host an online workshop with full-time and part-time Geology faculty, and will invite faculty from other disciplines.  
At our next Faculty Development Day, we will hold a workshop about active learning strategies, and use materials from "Teach Students How to Learn".  

Team Members

Deniz Ballero

Deniz has been teaching biology, geology, and environmental science at GSU Perimeter since 2003. She has been teaching exclusively online since 2007. She is the associate department chair for online sciences, an administrative position, and still teaches. Deniz and Polly Bouker are redesigning the delivery of all online geology courses (physical, historical, and labs for both), creating lab templates, and developing an online digital database of 2D and 3D specimens for both online labs and face-to-face courses. Deniz has been an active member of GSA for many years and was a Georgia Governor's Teaching Fellow 2014.


Deniz teaches both lectures and labs of Geology I: Dynamic Earth (commonly known as Physical Geology), Introductory Geology II: Earth and Life Through Time (commonly known as Historical Geology), and Environmental Science.

Polly Bouker

Polly has worked at GSU Perimeter College since 2001, and has taught at the Lawrenceville, Rockdale, Newton, and online campuses. She is working with Deniz to revamp the online geology labs, eliminating the need to purchase a textbook, adding quality photographs of samples typically provided in mail-order kits, and reorganizing content into smaller "chunks" in an effort improve the performance of students overall. Polly also took her first two geology courses at Perimeter College, although it was known as Dekalb College at the time. She is a photographer in her spare time.


Polly teaches both lectures and labs of Introductory Geology I: Dynamic Earth (commonly known as Physical Geology), Introductory Geology II: Earth and Life Through Time (commonly known as Historical Geology).

Pamela Gore

Pamela is the author of the Historical Geology Lab Manual, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in 2014 and is working on the 2nd edition. She is also the first author of the Roadside Geology of Georgia, published by Mountain Press in 2013. Pamela started the online Geology program at the College, and has been teaching online Geology courses for more than 20 years, in addition to teaching in the college and university classroom for over 30 years.


Pamela teaches both lectures and labs of Introductory Geology I: Dynamic Earth (commonly known as Physical Geology), Introductory Geology II: Earth and Life Through Time (commonly known as Historical Geology), and Environmental Science.


Georgia State University – Perimeter College is a two-year college within the Georgia State University System that serves over 18,000 students in Atlanta. Sixty percent of the students at Perimeter College are part-time, 45% are black or African-American. Nearly a tenth of the Perimeter College students are residents of a foreign country. Perimeter College consists of 5 campuses in the Atlanta suburbs, plus an online campus. The main Georgia State University campus in downtown Atlanta does not offer 2-year Associates degree courses. Perimeter College became a part of GSU in 2016, and was formerly known as Georgia Perimeter College.


Geology Pathway, Department of Life & Earth Sciences, Science Division

Program Courses: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Policy/Studies, Environmental Science, Geology, Physics, Integrated Science: Life & Earth Science (for Early Childhood Education majors).

Students in Program - Each Geology faculty member typically teaches about 100-350 students per year. We have about 25 students on the Geology "Pathway" working toward their 2-year degree. Most will probably transfer to the main GSU Atlanta Campus to work towards their 4-year Geology degree.

Number of Faculty - Currently have 10 full time faculty and 4 part-time faculty.

Program Fit in College Structure - Geology is not a major or a program, but rather a Pathway. Geology is in the Department of Life & Earth Sciences, which is part of the Science Division, along with the Department of Physical Science (Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy).

Institutional demographic data is from IPEDS the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, U.S. Department of Education, typically for the 2018-19 year as available.