Oregon: Willamette Valley Change Agent Team

Deron Carter, Linn-Benton Community College
Shannon Othus-Gault, Chemeketa Community College
Initial Publication Date: September 25, 2017


Linn-Benton CC

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 assist new students in building study skills unique to themselves. Additionally, I am working 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 include cohort-building and place-based undergraduate research.

Chemeketa CC

I am increasing student participation and success, especially among rural, first-generation, and underrepresented students. By focusing on success, both at my institution and beyond, student participation will increase in the geosciences, and provide an easier transition as students pursue related courses of study beyond our program. To achieve these goals, I am working 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 am focusing 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.


Linn-Benton Community College

Many students new to two-year colleges (2YCs) face a variety of academic, social, and institutional barriers to achieving their goals. As a result, many students fail to complete a 2YC degree and/or transfer to a four-year college or university (4YCU). My role is to provide opportunities for all students to succeed regardless of their background or motivation. Many of the students I teach are non-STEM majors possibly taking their last science course, so I am motivated to help them appreciate the role geoscience plays in their lives. I am also motivated to help students think about how they learn best, and develop a toolbox of skills that are transferable to other courses.

Another role I play is helping students successfully navigate the transfer process to a 4YCU. I'm motivated to help students that wish to transfer and pursue a geoscience degree. However, many of these students face transfer shock, or are unable to participate in extracurricular activities because they are place bound. Supporting these transfer students through 2YC-4YCU faculty interaction, bridge programs, and placed-based research is key to increasing the number and diversity of geoscience graduates. Work I have done as a Change Agent has paralleled my work on LBOS Geobridge, and has better helped me articulate my goals and strategies for the program.

Chemeketa Community College

The classes that I teach generally fill a niche in many of my student's transfer degree, and that is to take several science classes with a lab. As a result, many of the students who take my classes have a wide variety of skills, knowledge, and backgrounds. To that end, it is very important to me that my teaching practices are able to accommodate a diverse audience as well as help my students build valuable skills that can serve them both in my class and beyond. By participating in this project, my goal was to build my personal skills to better support my students and to use the knowledge I acquire to help strengthen and support my college's geoscience faculty.

Aligning with Institutional Priorities

Linn-Benton Community College

Linn-Benton Community College has identified three strategic goals: 1) Productivity, 2) Equity, 3) Quality. To measure the success of meeting these goals, the college is looking at several key metrics. For productivity, the metric is increasing completion of degrees and/or successful transfer to 50%. For equity, the metric is to strive for completion to be demographically representative of the district. For quality, this metric involves increasing the number of transfer students. SAGE 2YC Change Agent work directly aligns with these strategic goals.

The SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents project contributes to these strategic goals in the following ways:

Goal 1: Productivity. All transfer students need to take at least one physical science course to fulfill general education requirements. Many non-STEM majors elect to take one of the geoscience courses (Physical Geology, Historical Geology, Earth Science, or Oceanography). Supporting success of all students in these classes through evidence-based pedagogy will help them to complete their degree.

Goal 2: Equity. Research shows that implementing evidence-based teaching practices increases classroom equity.

Goal 3. Quality. Supporting transfer students, through transfer pathways, advising, and extracurricular bridge programs will help aspiring students succeed in transferring to Oregon State University and earning a bachelor's degree.

Chemeketa Community College

Chemeketa Community College has set several strategic goals that include Academic Quality, Access, Community Collaboration, and Students Success. These strategic goals are part of several larger programs, including the development of Guided Pathways and the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions program (DHSI). The success of these goals at this juncture are mainly through the implementation of planned activities as outlined by the college strategic plan: https://www.chemeketa.edu/media/content-assets/documents/pdf/about/strategic-plan/2018-19-Strategic-Initiatives-Placemat-11.6.18-(3).pdf. Many of the activities proposed by my college are directly related to and supported by my work done as a SAGE 2YC Change Agent. Each strategic goal contains activities that I have engaged in during the SAGE 2YC project; Academic Quality activities include assessing, reporting, and analyzing outcomes and increasing access and support for professional development. Access activities include utilizing new delivery methods and modalities to meet student needs, support underrepresented students, and increase retention. Community Collaboration activities include improving student transfer to universities through partnerships. And finally, Student Success activities include using institutional data to improve effectiveness.

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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