2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 15
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM


BROCK, Leslie1, FUHRMAN, Miriam2, GONZALEZ, Raquel1 and LEVINE, Roger1, (1)American Institutes for Research, 1791 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304, (2)Assessment Division, American Institutes for Research, 908 Piovana Court, Carlsbad, CA 92011, rlevine@air.org

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) has been contracted by the National Science Foundation to provide technical assistance to Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG) Program grantees. As part of this work, AIR developed a geoscience career pipeline model that is being used to help OEDG grantees measure their project's success in the short term.

In order to develop the pipeline model, AIR conducted a literature review of factors associated with minority students entering the sciences. In addition, interviews with geoscientists were conducted. Development of the pipeline model led AIR to identify factors critical to recruitment and retention of community and four-year college students into the geosciences. These factors included: taking an introductory geoscience course, obtaining information about a geoscience major, using “place-based” teaching practices that emphasize the study of local places and providing extracurricular activities related to STEM majors.

In 2004 and 2006, during 2-day meetings of the OEDG Principal Investigators, breakout sessions discussing recruitment and retention issues were held. The sessions uncovered both the problematic aspects of these issues, as well as plausible solutions to them. Challenges to recruitment include it being time-consuming and labor/resource intensive, as well as the difficulty in working with and retaining academically ill-prepared students. Solutions to recruitment include visiting schools and classes to speak directly to students, identifying personal connections between students and Geoscience, and providing remedial support for students, as needed. Barriers that were identified, along with other strategies for overcoming these barriers, will be discussed.