Science Education and Research Associate
Download my curriculum vitae (Acrobat (PDF) 199kB Jan27 20)
What I Do * Background * Education * Publications
What I Do
My work at SERC has several components, each of which supports SERC's overall mission: improving science education at the college and university level. These components are:
- Conducting research on learning (specifically, on spatial thinking) in the undergraduate science classroom;
- Faculty professional development;
- Developing curricular materials that incorporate what we know from research on learning; and
- Evaluating geoscience education research projects.
Research on Spatial Thinking
Since 2008, I've been involved in research on spatial thinking in the geosciences. This research has led to some exciting opportunities, including leading a workshop on Supporting Spatial Thinking at the 2018 Earth Educators' Rendezvous; co-leading a workshop with Eric Riggs on Spatial Reasoning in the Geosciences at the 2016 Earth Educators' Rendezvous; co-convening the 2013 Hedberg Conference on 3D Structural Geologic Interpretation; and co-convening the 2012 On the Cutting Edge Spatial Thinking Journal Club.
The Geoscience Education Transdisciplinary Spatial Learning Network is a collaboration of cognitive psychologists, education researchers, and geoscience educators working to develop educational tools that can help students, across classroom and field settings, to better understand and build upon historically difficult geoscience concepts. We expect that this research will improve retention and learning in geosciences, and will also inform efforts to improve learning in the other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) domains that require spatial thinking.
I am the lead PI on the Spatial Thinking Workbook project (with co-PIs Basil Tikoff and Tim Shipley). Working with geoscience faculty members and a team of cognitive scientists, we have developed a suite of curricular materials to improve spatial thinking skills in upper-level undergraduate geoscience courses.SILC: the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center×
Basil, Tim and I are also involved in research through SILC (the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center). For this project, we are investigating the breadth of spatial thinking skills and characterizing their development in individuals ranging from novices to experts. This has led to developing two instruments for assessing geoscience students' spatial thinking skills: the Geologic Block Cross-sectioning Test and the Crystal Slicing Test. Email me if you are interested in using either of these instruments to assess your students' spatial skills.
Faculty Professional Development
The work I do in faculty professional development includes managing faculty PD projects; convening or leading workshops; and building websites to support faculty in adopting evidence-based practices in teaching.
SAGE 2YC: Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education in Two-Year Colleges laid the groundwork for the SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents project. Two-year colleges (2YCs) play crucial roles in meeting the nation's geoscience and STEM workforce needs and in increasing public scientific literacy. 2YCs enroll over 45% of all U.S. undergraduates and serve a large number of women, minority, and first-generation college students. In addition, the 2YC teaching environment is one of the most challenging as community colleges are primarily open-access intuitions that serve an extremely diverse student body; teaching loads are heavy; there is an increasing use of adjunct faculty; and there is limited support for participation in professional development activities, widely recognized as the source for many critical improvements for improving student learning. The SAGE 2YC project seeks to make an impact in this important area by building a national network of self-sustaining local communities of 2YC geoscience faculty and administrators who use evidence-based strategies to improve all students' academic success, broaden participation, and facilitate students' professional pathways into the STEM workforce. I am the project manager.
I have served as a consultant for several curriculum development projects.
The IGUaNA project team is in the process of developing teaching materials for introductory-level undergraduate geophysics courses. These materials will feature the applications of geophysical techniques to societally-relevant, real-world problems. The project team brings deep expertise in geophysics content and pedagogy to the development of the project materials. Each of the course modules will be peer-reviewed, tested in undergraduate classrooms, revised, and then shared via the project website.
Evaluating Geoscience Education Research
Field based professional development for Environmental-STEM (ESTEM) undergraduates
This project reimagines the traditional geology field course as a professional development experience to address the emergence of new "environmental" geoscience tracks at many 4YCUs. Existing STEM retention and diversity programs have recognized access to field and professional experiences as critical to helping students identify as scientists, form networks, and gain important skills necessary for employment in a variety of public and private sectors. The goal of this project is to engage a diverse cohort of Environmental-STEM (ESTEM) track undergraduates at 4-year colleges and universities (4YCUs) and community colleges (2YCs) in hands-on, career-applicable experiences that will launch students into the geoscience workforce. My role is to oversee the collection and analysis of the data that will allow us to measure the success of the project in achieving these goals.
Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, 2005-present
Visiting Assistant Professor, Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH, 2002-2005
Visiting Assistant Professor, St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI, 2000-2002
Graduate Assistant, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1992-2000
Adjunct Instructor, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, 1997
Ph. D. in Structural Geology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 2000
- Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Dept. of Geology & Geophysics
B. A. in Mathematics, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, 1989
- Graduated Cum Laude; Member, Sigma Xi (Scientific Honor Society)
Publications and Presentations
- Ormand, Carol J., R. Heather Macdonald, Janet Hodder, Debra D. Bragg, Eric M. D. Baer, and Pamela L. Eddy. Making Departments Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive: Engaging Colleagues in Departmental Transformation Through Discussion and Implementation Groups. Submitted to the Journal of Geoscience Education.
- Ormand, Carol J., Thomas F. Shipley, Basil Tikoff, and Cathryn A. Manduca. Developing a Valid, Reliable Psychometric Test of Visual Penetrative Ability: The Geologic Block Cross-sectioning Test. In preparation for submission to the Journal of Geoscience Education.
- Baer, Eric M. D., R. Heather Macdonald, Pamela Eddy, John R. McDaris, Kristin O'Connell, and Carol J. Ormand (2020). Virtual Professional Development for STEM Faculty: Promoting Change While Supporting Faculty During the COVID-19 Crisis: Geological Society of America (Online).
- Barshi, Naomi, Jonathan Ham, Kathryn M. Bateman, Basil Tikoff, Thomas F. Shipley, and Carol J. Ormand (2020). Modeling 3D Structures with Playdough Enhances Spatial Thinking Skills: Geological Society of America (Online).
- Barshi, Naomi, Jonathan Ham, Kathryn M. Bateman, Basil Tikoff, Carol J. Ormand, and Thomas F. Shipley (2020). Does using playdough help students think in three dimensions? A quantitative analysis in an undergraduate geoscience course: Learning Sciences Graduate Student Conference (UW-Madison, Online).
- McDaris, John R., Eric M. D. Baer, R. Heather Macdonald, and Carol J. Ormand (2020). Supporting Student Success at Multiple Scales: Lessons on Promoting Change from SAGE 2YC Change Agents: Geological Society of America (Online).
- Ormand, Carol J., R. Heather Macdonald, Eric M. D. Baer, Norlene Emerson, Jan Hodder, John R. McDaris, and Kristin O'Connell (2020). Engaging your faculty colleagues in evidence-based practices using SAGE 2YC resources: Book clubs, journal clubs, and implementation groups: Earth Educators' Rendezvous (Online).
- Walker, Becca, Sarah R. Hall, Calla M. Schmidt, John R. Paul, Carol J. Ormand, and Ellen R. Iverson (2020). Reimagining a Traditional Geology Field Course: Program Elements and Impacts of an Environmental Field and Career Preparation Program for Undergraduates at 2-Year and 4-Year Institutions: Geological Society of America (Online).