Oregon Willamette Valley Change Agent Team
Deron Carter, Linn-Benton Community College
Shannon Othus-Gault, Chemeketa Community College
Description of Program Work
As a change agent, my goals are to support the success of all geoscience students at LBCC, and to increase the number and diversity of geoscience majors transferring from Oregon 2YCs to Universities. These goals arise from needs that LBCC students, particularly those that are in their first term of college (0-15 credits earned), often have lower success rates than their more experienced peers. Additionally, numerous studies highlight the need to prepare a diverse and well-trained 21st-century geoscience workforce.
Strategies to address these goals include working with LBCC allies to train new faculty in evidence-based active learning and metacognition that can help support the success of all students. These practices will assist new students in building study skills unique to themselves. Additionally, I will work with administrators from LBCC and OSU to sustain and scale up extracurricular programs focused on supporting STEM transfer students from 2YC-4YCU, such as LBOS-Geobridge. These programs may include cohort-building and place-based undergraduate research.
I am working to increase student participation and success, especially among rural, first-generation, and underrepresented students. It is my hope that focusing on success, both at my institution and beyond, will increase student participation in geosciences and provide an easier transition as students pursue related courses of study beyond our program. To achieve these goals, I will work to build an internal, cooperative community among students and faculty by providing more opportunities for connection and creating shared curriculum while building external relationships among local 4-year transfer institutions. To increase students success across my department, I will focus on creating and sharing active-learning strategies, increasing outreach to underrepresented groups, and providing concrete pathways for students to continue on in 4-year geoscience programs and careers.
Spring Follow-on Activities
Deron has held a full-time faculty position at Linn-Benton Community College since 2006, and has served as department co-chair since 2011. He is the principal investigator for a NSF-funded GEOPATHS grant that supports LBCC transfers in geology to nearby Oregon State University by providing them social, field, and research experiences. In graduate school, he researched pluvial lake outburst flooding in remote southeastern Oregon. Deron wrote about The role of majors and non-majors geology courses at a 2-year college for the Teaching Introductory Geoscience Courses in the 21st Century workshop in 2014.
Deron teaches Physical Geology, Historical Geology, Descriptive Astronomy, and Principles of Earth Science. You can read about his course Introduction to Geology: Solid Earth at the Teaching the Earth portal.
Shannon has been teaching geology and Earth sciences for seven years. Prior to teaching, Shannon worked as a natural resource scientist for the Washington Department of Natural Resources in the Forestry department mapping landslides and making landslide hazard maps. Since 2015, Shannon has begun working to incorporate open education resources and pedagogy (OERs) into many of her classes. She has created three open education websites, including a website for Oregon Virtual Field Trips and a website that showcases student's mineral research projects. You can read about her development of these resources at Open Oregon Educational Resources.
Shannon teaches Oceanography, Earth System Science, Earth Science, and several courses focused on the Pacific Northwest: Geology of the Northwest-Volcanoes, Mountains, Earthquakes; Pacific Northwest Rocks and Minerals and Geology of the Northwest-Rivers, Glaciers, and Deserts.
Linn-Benton Community College | Chemeketa Community College
Linn-Benton Community College
Institution: Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) is located in Albany, Oregon, between Salem and Eugene. It has about 5700 students; 5% of these students are formally registered as students with disabilities.
Geoscience program: One full-time faculty and about 4 part-time faculty members teach geoscience courses at LBCC. Most students in geoscience courses are non-science majors taking geoscience to fulfill general education physical science requirements, although LBCC does offer a year-long geology sequence, with courses in physical geology, surface processes, and historical geology including both a majors and non-majors sequence. Most students taking these courses are planning on transferring and pursuing a Bachelor's degree at Oregon State University since OSU programs in Fisheries and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Soil Science, and Environmental Sciences require at least one geology course. LBCC offers Associates degrees in Geology and in Environmental Sciences. Typically, each degree program has 5-10 students per year. Both the geology and environmental sciences programs are part of the Physical Sciences Department that also includes physics, chemistry, food and fermentation science, and general science.
Chemeketa Community College
Institution: Chemeketa Community College is the second largest community college in Oregon and is located in the central Willamette Valley. It has two campuses: one in in Salem and the Yamhill Valley campus in McMinnville, as well as five centers. Chemeketa Community College serves approximately 30,000 students, 25% of whom identify as Hispanic/Latino. 39% of students are age 25 or older. The Yamhill Valley Campus where Shannon Othus-Gault teaches serves approximately 1000-1200 students each year.
Geoscience program: The Geology Department at Chemeketa is part of the Physical Science Division which also includes physics, chemistry, and general science. Across all campuses, there are 4 full time geoscience faculty members and 5 adjunct faculty. The geoscience program at Yamhill Valley Campus has one full-time instructor. Three sections of geology and Earth sciences are offered each of the three terms per year. Each section has between 24 and 30 students. Most students take geoscience courses to fulfill the requirements for the associate of arts Oregon transfer degree. Each year between 1 and 5 students transfer to local, four-year universities such as Western Oregon University and Oregon State University for geoscience degrees.
Institutional demographic data is from IPEDS the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, U.S. Department of Education, typically for the 2014-15 year as available.