Regional Network Development
Goals for changes in the regional network
- Develop a collaborative network of educators in SoCal to create and offer joint experiences for our students
- Develop a transfer path for students from 2YCs to 4YCs.
- Generate interest and recruit students into pursuing a degree in Marine Sciences.
Our efforts to develop a strong workforce in Marine Sciences involve a plan to grow a network of like-minded educators, which will help us in a number of ways. It is important for us to trust and feel trusted by educators from other institutions, so that we can create rich and successful pathways for our students. Our own personal network contacts were a great help in initiating the effort, in part because there was already a sense of willingness to collaborate among them. Hosting our first workshop (Pathwaves to Success) was a great way to continue to develop this network. We discussed the development of a transfer/certificate program, as well as opportunities for collaboration (such as joint field trips and research projects) and development of transfer pathways for students.
The workshop brought home the idea that transfer pathways are more complex than we first thought. Faculty and administrators from 4YCs shared the process of degree and program changes from their side, revealing that there are constraining factors that we had not anticipated, but our network agreed that there was a need and willingness to work on these issues.
To increase the visibility and enrollment in Marine Sciences both regionally and at home, we designed a second Oceanography course that, once approved, will be transferable to area 4YCs. We hope that our course will serve as a template for other colleges in the region. We wrote a Course Outline for submission to our Educational Design Committee. Normally, if the proposed course has an equivalent elsewhere (already offered by another 2YC, or within the first two years at a 4YC), approval is simple. However, while a similar course IS offered at a nearby 2YC as part of a certificate unique to that college, there is no such equivalent course accepted as transfer credit from 2YCs or lower-division 4YCs in California (there are a few offered as upper-division courses, albeit with no prerequisites). Therefore, while applauded for its academic merits, the committee is not yet able to approve the course we created until it has become part of a degree or certificate program, since "stand-alone" courses are no longer approved in the state of California. We are currently exploring the option of a certificate in Marine Sciences, as we were told that it is the more likely way to receive course approval. For a certificate program to be approved, certain benefits to students must be demonstrated, so we are in the process of evaluating this need. We are also in the process of getting the course approved as part of our existing Environmental Studies degree.
Another effort to increase the visibility of Marine Sciences, both regionally and on our campus, was to initiate an Oceanography lecture series. Our goal is to host at least 5 speakers per year, many of whom will come from our network. An important benefit of inviting area Ocean Scientists is that this should help our network grow stronger.
We also adopted a SOCCOM float (Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling) through the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). The float is collecting oceanographic data in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, which our students will use in their research.
The workshop we facilitated has strengthened the network of Marine Science educators in our region. Some evidence includes: invitation by others to events on their campuses, sharing of resources, and desire to meet again to continue the conversations.
Our new course, Coastal Oceanography, is complete. We reviewed similar courses at other institutions (though these are offered at upper-division level, they have no prerequisites) to design the content and develop student learning outcomes. The course has been approved up to the final level, where it is now held due to non-program status.
At the workshop we determined that one of our transfer partners (CSU-Fullerton) has a degree to which our new course can be applied. We need to follow up with our respective articulation officers to make this a reality.
In Fall 2018 we hosted a national lecture series speaker. The nearly 200 attendees came from across the region.
The adoption of "Doc Baldy" (our float) has been a great success! We designed an Oceanography lab in which students retrieve and use live data from the float, and our Chemistry department is also incorporating the data into lab assignments.