2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


WILLIAMS, Wendi J.W., Earth Sciences, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2801 S. University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204, wjwilliams@ualr.edu

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a “metropolitan” University situated in the center of Arkansas. The Department of Earth Sciences is a predominantly undergraduate program comprised of now 5 tenured / tenure-track (two female) faculty, two instructors, and several adjunct faculty members offering a B.S. degree in geology, and participating in a Masters of Science degree in Integrated Science through our College of Science and Mathematics. We presently have about 25 majors, of which I have recently been advising up to 15 (if I recruited, then I advised). I have been asked by colleagues how I manage to recruit the number of students, and achieve the diversity within that population, that I have during the past several years since joining the Department of Earth Sciences in Fall 2001. Huh. I really hadn't stopped to think about it; things seemed to just fall into place. But what I've come to reflect upon is the varied approaches that I have used: from taking the time to foster interaction with students during and outside my predominantly non-majors introductory courses through upper division courses to forming and maintaining a working relationship with several community and University partners to provide opportunities for our majors and students pursuing minors through our program. A very big part of who I am is a communicator and facilitator. I am a person that sees the possible “inter-connectedness” of students' personal interests to introducing them to other students in order to build a “community”… to showing them career options --then finding ways to partner them with programs that provide direct or indirect funding or infrastructure to provide academic success (e.g. tutoring services). I also firmly believe that involvement in undergraduate research opportunities is key to retention. To bring more opportunities to advisees, I have been very fortunate to work with a variety of non-geoscience colleagues and support staff doing good things: Project PACE (benefits Persons with Disabilities), TRIO Talent Search (first generation college and/or ethinic/racial minorities), Arkansas Science and Engineering Fair (we partner with TRIO), our College's Education Committee (we have received an NSF Noyce Scholars award), McNair Program (ethnic/racial minority emphasis), and Childrens' International.