STRATEGIES FOR RECRUITING AND RETAINING GEOSCIENCE MAJORS: VOICES FROM THE FIELD
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.