Team Activities

Individual Accomplishments

Hillary Goodner

I have:

  • Incorporating more active learning strategies
  • Mandatory office hours
  • Converting required texts to OER to improve equity

Next steps:

  • Introduce active reading strategies, the study cycle, and growth mindset

Jamie Hansen

I have:

  • Introduced intense study sessions and strategies  
  • Added active learning strategies   
  • Collaboration groups to build sense of community online

Next steps: 

  • Sort through everything I learned from SAGE, Add more active learning strategies, Give "The Talk"

Zachary Schierl

I have:

  • Started tracking rates of student success across demographics  
  • Begun regularly using Scientist Spotlights to promote students' science identity
  • Added more active learning activities to my online courses

Next steps: 

  • Build a better sense of community in my online courses
  • Better incorporate metacognition into my courses

Team Accomplishments

Strengthening our Department/Program

Accomplishments/Action Plan:

Student Success

  • Ongoing work to improve student success in geoscience courses. 
  • No new data available yet. Hard to compare last few quarters of data to historical success due to shift to online learning. 

Geoscience Pathway Changes

  • Held an initial meeting with STEM Grant Administration to identify process.
  • Between the pandemic and our Fall Workshops, we have not had time to pursue this aspect of our action plan this quarter.

Next Steps:

  • Increase use of active learning techniques and metacognition in order to close this gap​
  • Increase availability of tutoring in Earth Science classes​

Developing our Campus Community

Engaging our Colleagues:

Audience for workshop:

  • Other natural science faculty (8) at YVC

Evidence for success/impact:

  • Post-workshop feedback was positive. 
  • Participants enjoyed asynchronous/synchronous model and found content and discussions helpful
  • Topic was timely with all YVC faculty teaching online

Work/collaboration with administrators:

  • Worked with STEM grant administrator to offer small stipend for workshop participants
  • Will meet with Teaching and Learning center in Dec to work on sharing workshop materials with more faculty and possibly continuing workshop series

Next Steps: Work with Teaching and Learning Resource Center to incorporate workshop materials into all faculty resources.

Team Members

Hillary Goodner

Hillary has interest in how students learn and relate new knowledge to the world around them. Through the ESCALA program for Hispanic serving institutions, Hillary studied how using exit tickets (or exit slips) could be a tool to teach students to build study guides for exams in their college-level courses.

Additionally, Hillary was the curriculum committee representative for Natural Sciences (biology, nutrition, geology, astronomy, physical science, chemistry, and physics) at Yakima Valley College from 2018-2020. As a member of the curriculum committee, Hillary has experienced developing, revising, and reviewing curriculum in multiple disciplines.

Beyond her duties at Yakima Valley College, Hillary has been involved in professional organizations at the regional and national level, including as the President of NAGT-Pacific Northwest Section during 2019-2020.


Hillary teaches Introduction to Astronomy, Introduction to Physical Geology, Geology of National Parks, and Geology of the Pacific Northwest

Jamie Hansen

Jamie was a nurse for approximately 10 years before going back to school for geology and astronomy. While she did enjoy teaching new graduate nurses, she really discovered her love for teaching while working as a Teaching Assistant in graduate school. She received the Graduate Teaching Assistant Award from Central Washington University in 2015.


Jamie teaches Introduction to Physical Geology

Zachary (Zach) Schierl

Zach's professional interests are Earth & space science education, interactive pedagogy, and planetary geology. His graduate research at Western Washington University focused on assessing the effectiveness of various multimedia teaching strategies on student learning in the geosciences.

Prior to working at YVC, Zach spent time as a ranger, educator, and curriculum developer for the U.S. National Park Service (NPS). From 2016-2019, he created and launched a 40-hour community outreach program on astronomy and dark sky stewardship for the NPS called the Master Astronomer Program. The Master Astronomer Program curriculum has since been adopted by Master Naturalist programs and other educational groups in several states.

Zach is in his first year at YVC (2019/2020), his first full-time teaching position.


Zach teaches Survey of Astronomy and Physical Science Survey (an Earth & Space Science survey course).


Yakima Valley Community College serves over 5000 students annually from its campus in south-central Washington State. Over half of the students are Hispanic/Latino and two-thirds are women. Nearly 4 out of 5 of first-time full-time students are awarded financial aid and 61 percent receive Pell grants.


Program/Department Name - Earth Science Program
Program Courses: Astronomy, Environmental Policy/Studies, Geology, Physical Science

Students in Program - The various geology, astronomy, and physical science courses taught at Yakima Valley College enroll approximately 1000 students in an academic year. The students choose the courses offered because they are interested in the topics or choose these courses to help fulfill natural science credits towards their degree programs. Yakima Valley College does not yet offer an Earth science degree program, however, some of the students have changed their pathway after completing a quarter in astronomy or geology.

Number of Faculty - Five faculty teach Earth Science courses within the Physical Sciences Department. Two faculty are full time - one full-time geology instructor and one full-time astronomy instructor. Three adjunct faculty teach a variety of geology and astronomy courses.

Program Fit in College Structure - The Earth Science Program is made up of faculty who teach astronomy, geology, and physical science. The program is housed within the Physical Sciences Department, which also includes physics and chemistry. The Physical Sciences Department is within the Arts and Sciences Division at Yakima Valley College.

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.