Texas Change Agent Team

Kristie Bradford, Lone Star College - Tomball Campus
Bryn Benford, Lone Star College - University Park Campus

Summary

We are working to support the academic success of all students by using evidence-based practices in the classroom including aligning classroom activities, labs, and assessments to scaffold the material to meet the student learning outcomes of each course. We particularly want to improve the participation and academic success of our students from under-represented minorities.


Motivation

Our college has a diverse student body whose needs vary. Though many students are successful, there is always the desire to figure out how to make more students successful in our classes. Success does not just mean doing well on an exam, but rather developing the ability to think scientifically and having the feeling that one can contribute to the scientific community.

While we do have some majors, many of our students take our classes because they need a science class for their degree. For this reason, we continually try to find ways to make sure that our classes benefit all students. One population we keep in mind when we are designing activities is pre-service teachers. These students will be teaching earth science one day and our classes may be the only class they take in the geosciences. Therefore, providing them with the opportunity to engage actively with the material will aid them in teaching the next generation of students.

In today's world, information is readily available, but citizens need to be able to look critically at information given to them and determine if the interpretations presented are consistent with the existing data. Our classes have the ability to help our students practice critical thinking so that they become better citizens in this aspect.

Aligning with Institutional Priorities

Our work for broadening participation and improving the success of all students aligns quite well with one of the top priorities for the Lone Star College System - improving the success of our African-American student population. Although the college is interested in improving success for all students in our classes and programs, African-American students have not seen the same improvement in their success rate as Hispanic students, who also form a large percentage of our student population. There are several initiatives across the system to support African-American student success.

A major Guided Pathways project is occurring system-wide. This project is aimed at improving student success by increasing transfer rates to four-year universities. This corresponds with another strand of the SAGE 2YC project - facilitating students' professional pathways. Too many Lone Star students accumulate more than the required number of credits to graduate. Taking more classes than is necessary increases the time to graduation and decreases completion rates. Streamlining degree plans will aid students in choosing classes so that they graduate sooner thereby increasing transfer rates. Additionally, committees composed of faculty and staff from all Lone Star campuses are working on articulation agreements with nearby four-year universities which will result in a seamless transition from Lone Star to the universities.

Each of our campuses has a slightly different personality with different priorities. Our participation in the SAGE 2YC project has lead us to take leadership roles in professional development events, diversity initiatives, and class development projects. Lone Star College - Tomball has Instructional Initiatives Fridays, which are a day of workshops and discussion groups for faculty and staff to improve instruction, support student success, and develop diversity initiatives. At Lone Star College - University Park, faculty are encouraged to be innovative in their classes and departments are encouraged to offer different delivery methods (face-to-face, hybrid, and online) for classes in order to reach different student populations.


This project description is part of a collection documenting work by teams of two-year college faculty to implement high-impact, evidence-based instructional and co-curricular practices at their own institutions in pursuit of improved STEM learning, broadened participation, and a more robust STEM workforce.
Explore the whole collection »

This project description is part of a collection documenting work by teams of two-year college faculty to implement high-impact, evidence-based instructional and co-curricular practices at their own institutions in pursuit of improved STEM learning, broadened participation, and a more robust STEM workforce.Explore the whole collection »

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