Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM
EAST ALLIANCE IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS: AN INTEGRATIVE PROGRAM TO SUPPORT STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES IN SCIENCE
Geoscience educators have traditionally responded to the needs of students with disabilities in a reactive manner, for example by developing new materials or implementing targeted strategies when a student with a disability enrolls in an introductory level college course. In recent years there has been a growing, though not consistent, movement to identify effective strategies and materials in the geosciences and disseminate them more broadly in the community. While specialized materials, new technology, and learner-centered teaching can improve access to science content, significant changes in the educational system itself are required if students with disabilities are to gain access to advanced geoscience courses and geoscience careers. The EAST Regional Alliance is a partnership of universities, colleges, and non-profit organizations working to increase the number of students with disabilities entering STEM fields. EAST activities focus on organizational change, enhancement programs for students, and research-based evaluation of effective strategies. The Alliance represents one model for promoting recognition among scientists, teachers, and employers of the needs and abilities of students with disabilities. The EAST Alliance is working within the geoscience community to identify obstacles to learning geosciences, develop strategies for bringing more talented students with disabilities into the discipline, and assess the role of technology in reaching a more diverse student population.