Individual Accomplishments

Don Barrie

I have:

  • Incorporated metacognition more explicitly into my teaching
  • Modified several interactive exercises based on input from colleagues
  • Made connections with geoscience colleagues throughout my District

Next steps: Add material to our new District Geoscience toolbox

Bulent Bas

I have:

  • Developed interactive learning activities incorporating metacognition
  • Collaborated with geoscience colleagues in reviewing in-class student group exercises
  • Investigated ways to mentor students in pursuing careers in geosciences

Next steps: Continue collaborating with geoscience colleagues and adding more resources to the geoscience toolbox

Waverly Ray

I have:

  • Modified lesson plans
  • Collaborated with colleagues
  • Delved deeper into learning theories
  • Thought about leadership in new ways

Next steps: Continue to coordinate geoscience collaborations

Team Accomplishments

Strengthening our Department/Program

Accomplishments/Action Plan:


  • Equity-minded workshop series for geoscience educators to address persistent gaps for Latinx, African American, Filipino, and first generation students; workshops focused on pedagogies such as active learning that best serve underrepresented student populations
  • Created a geoscience community of practice
  • Create a Canvas "course" called the Geoscience Teaching Toolbox to exchange ideas and materials


  • On-campus field trip activity development paused due to pandemic

Next Steps: Based on feedback from colleagues, we will continue to offer workshops and update the Geoscience Teaching Toolbox

Developing our Campus Community

Engaging our Colleagues:

Nine geography and geology colleagues from our community college district participated in the workshop series. We were able to provide HSI grant funding (~$500 each) for adjuncts at our College. We created a Geoscience Teaching Toolbox in Canvas to share resources and facilitate online discussions.

Average evaluation scores: 9.86 and 9.57 out of 10! Participant quotes:

  • I'm so glad we're doing this! I get something out of every workshop that makes my course more engaging and a better learning experience for my students. I can't wait to see what we learn next!
  • Discussing this material with other geoscience professors has been very beneficial. While I'm familiar with most of these teaching strategies, this workshop provides reminders and motivation that I am in dire need of lately.

Next Steps: Plan workshops and geoscience career panel for Spring 2021

Team Members

Don Barrie

Don has developed the following courses in his career: Earth Science, Earth Science Lab, Introduction to Teaching Science, Physical Science for Elementary Education, Field Geology of San Diego County, and Meteorology. In 2016, he presented a poster Using the Geoscience Concept Inventory to Assess Student Learning in a Partially Online Physical Geology Course at the annual Geological Society of America conference. One of Don's great passions is Iceland. He co-led 10-day trips to Iceland in 2018 and 2019and has given numerous public talks on Iceland's geology. In 2019 and 2020, Don served as a board member with the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, with whom he gives public lectures and leads geology field trips. He is department chair.


Don teaches Physical Geology, Physical Geology lab, Earth Science, Historical Geology, and Field Geology of San Diego County.

Bulent Bas

Bulent teamed up with a San Diego Mesa College colleague to develop an Earth Science Lab course. He has participated in Drones for Educators training workshops and is a veteran of the US Navy, having served 22 years.


Bulent teaches Physical Geography, Physical Geology, and Earth Science.

Waverly Ray

After stumbling into a cultural geography course for a general education requirement, Waverly went on to earn a B.A., M.S., and a Ph.D. in geography. She completed a fellowship at the National Geographic Society as the 2011-2012 Grosvenor Scholar and returned to Washington, D.C. four years later for the E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At San Diego Mesa College she co-chairs the Environmental Sustainability Committee, co-advises the student club for environmental sustainability and conservation, and oversees the campus organic vegetable garden and compost hub.


Waverly teaches Physical geography, Physical Geography Laboratory, Cultural Geography, World Regional Geography, and Urban Geography.


San Diego Mesa College (SDMC) serves over 36,000 students from its campus in the city of San Diego, California. It is part of the San Diego County Community College District, and is often called "Mesa College." Thirty-seven percent of students at SDMC are Hispanic/Latino, and 15% are Asian. About one-third of the students are more than 25-years old.


Physical Sciences Department
At San Diego Mesa College, the Physical Sciences Department (which includes the disciplines of astronomy, engineering, geology, oceanography, physical science, and physics) is part of the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. There are 9 full-time faculty including 7 in physics/astronomy, 1 in engineering, and 1 in geology. The faculty teach Astronomy, Atmospheric Science, Engineering, Geology, Oceanography, Physics, Physical Science, Physical Science Lab, and Physical Science for Elementary Education.

Although the department attracts several geology majors each year, the vast majority of students in the geology program take geology to satisfy a general education requirement.

The Geology and Geography programs co-hosted an NAGT traveling workshop Active Learning in the Geosciences.

Geography program

The geography program is part of the Social Sciences Department, which also includes the programs of history, political science, and philosophy. In the geography program, one full-time, one pro rata, and five adjunct instructors teach Human Geography (cultural, urban, and world regional) and Physical Geography (lecture and lab) courses.

The geography program at San Diego Mesa College offers 15-25 courses per semester. The vast majority of students are taking geography courses for general education credits. In the 2018-19 academic year they served 1,122 students, and 37% of their geography students identified as Latinx, 35% identified as White, 8% identified as African American, 7% identified as Asian, and 4% identified as Filipino. More than two-thirds of their geography students in 2018-2019 were between 18 and 24 years old and one-quarter of their geography students are first-generation. There are approximately 15 geography majors each semester who are typically planning to transfer to San Diego State University.

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.

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