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

Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


TOTTEN, Iris1, TOTTEN, Matthew1 and CRANE, Steve2, (1)Department of Geology, Kansas State University, 108 Thompson Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506, (2)Department of Sciences, Dodge City Community College, 2501 N 14Th Ave, Dodge City, KS 67801, itotten@ksu.edu

Issues of recruitment and retention are critical to the future health of geoscience departments across the U.S. According to the AGI, the total number of students enrolled in the geosciences dropped roughly 10-18% between 1996-2000. Many geoscience departments struggle to graduate enough undergraduates each year to satisfy state Board of Regents requirements. Other disciplines have designed programs, which address increasing the enrollment and retention numbers in their departments. Many of the following ideas for recruitment and retention come from a Kansas State University Partnership Program designed for pre-service teachers. The strategies outlined in this program are easily transferable to the geosciences, and include both short and long-term solutions to increase geoscience recruitment and retention. Short-term strategies include building partnerships with local community colleges (CC). Building partnerships with geoscience CC faculty and their students allows universities to identify and contact potential majors. Aligning curriculum for introductory courses between universities and CC helps to minimize transferability issues between institutions. Transferability issues can often delay or even prevent students from transitioning from the CC to the university. Reciprocity is another partnership building strategy that can be accomplished with relative ease between institutions. This can include granting CC faculty access to university resources such online library subscriptions, or conducting joint field trips between CC groups and universities. Long-term strategies involve developing partnerships with pre-service and in-service K-12 educators that introduce and excite students early to the geosciences. Strategies can include restricting a section of the introductory geoscience courses for pre-service teachers. It can also include offering summer workshops for the continuing education of in-service teachers, summer field excursions for teachers, and local K-12 classroom/field trips for students throughout the school year. Developing a geoscience presence in the local K-12 system is critical for recruiting potential majors out of the high schools.