2YC / 4YC Collaborations
The first requisite for developing collaborations with between 2YCs and 4YCs is for there to be a working friendship between colleagues at the two institutions. These can have benefits for both sides. For a 2YC faculty member, finding a colleague at a local 4YC or other institution that shares a research interest can be a great way to stay connected with geoscience and/or education research which likely represents a larger share of a 4YC faculty member's responsibilities. Moreover, a deeper understanding of local 2YCs can help a 4YC faculty member understand how to better foster transfer students' success. Developing these professional friendships can also open the door to collaboratiing together on a variety of scales. Faculty friendships naturally result in sharing knowledge and information relevant to each others' interests. Familiarity with each others' challenges and strengths can also lead to ways of sharing of resources (lab space, access to publications, pedagogical content, etc.) to facilitate better teaching and learning at both institutions.
Department Seminars: Many institutions host departmental seminars or speaker series that are open to all interested parties. Searching out opportunities in your area can be a great way to connect with colleagues at these institutions. See if there is an email list where you can receive notifications of upcoming events. If your 2YC division or department hosts seminars, invite faculty from 4YCs to speak, even if you don't know them well.
Professional Societies: Many geoscience professional societies have regional as well as national meetings where faculty of all kinds can interact. Workshops, poster sessions, and talks provide ample opportunities to find other faculty who share your interests. The National Association of Geoscience Teachers and the Geological Society of America are two examples of societies with a strong emphasis on local meetings. With the growing importance of two-year college education very often, there is support available for 2YC faculty to attend these meetings.
Conduct Joint Research with 4YC Colleagues
Joint research collaborations can take many forms. Faculty members can collaboratively design research activities for a course at the 2YC that will better prepare students in the geosciences. Or both faculty could conduct joint in-class research projects that get their students working together on a larger project. This not only exposes the students to different experiences and expectations, but also provides the 4YC faculty access to additional "technicians" for data gathering or a way of developing broader impacts for their research. These collaborations could also present opportunities for graduate TAs at the 4YC to gain experience teaching 2YC students.
Another option is to develop new internship opportunities for the 2YC students, at either institution. Internships at the 2YC can be a way of getting a broad cross-section of students (potentially including high school students and K-12 teachers) involved in geoscience research. Internships with a 4YC faculty can be an opportunity for advanced 2YC students to gain experience in a potentially more rigorous setting.
Connect Students to a 4YC Future
Setting up collaborative independent study opportunities with local 4YC faculty is another great way to get students doing research as well as to provide support for those interested in continuing their education beyond an associates degree. Having a faculty member at each institution to guide them can improve a student's chances for making a successful transfer. Students also get a first-hand understanding of the differences in culture between their home institution and their destination, which can help them prepare for the more intense expectations awaiting them at a 4YC.
As a part of the SOLARIS program, Professor Villalobos helps provide an opportunity for students to conduct research at the University of Texas El Paso. Students receiving mentoring from faculty at both institutions as well as contacts at UTEP and a better sense of what life at a four-year institution is like which can make their transfer experience more successful.