Initial Publication Date: September 20, 2018

Attract Students to Courses and Programs

In order to persist in geoscience majors, students must first be attracted to them. The state of minority participation in geoscience majors has shown little improvement over the last decade, and more needs to be done. There are a number of proven strategies faculty and departments can use to increase student interest in STEM majors.

Communicate Career Opportunities

Many students want to know what kinds of careers they can pursue if they major geoscience. For students from underrepresented populations, the need to envision possible futures is likely more important because they may not have family members in any STEM field or other connections to people who can tell them about opportunities for people with a geoscience degree.

Demonstrate Relevance To Students' Lives

Many students want to see why course content should matter to them before they are willing to engage with it. Demonstrating relevance is a way to give students a feeling of agency in tackling issues they care about.

Reach Out to K12 Students and Teachers

Engaging with K12 students can help excite them about geoscience opportunities and also see a place for themselves that community. Teachers will appreciate support and development around geoscience content and help with making it relevant to students' lives.

Prioritize Introductory Courses

Introductory courses provide students with their first real taste of geoscience at the college level. This first contact can either help draw them in or push them away.

Get Students into the Field

Field experiences are a cornerstone of teaching and learning about the Earth and have long been an important part of drawing new students into geoscience majors. Providing supportive and scaffolded field experiences for students can help them develop a geoscience identity.

Involve Students in Research Experiences

The opportunity to do science has a dramatic effect on students' ability to see themselves in a geoscience career. From in-class activities to summer REU programs, these experiences can provide a powerful pull to draw students into the major.