2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 210-3
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM-2:30 PM

ALONG THE PATH TO A GEOSCIENCE CAREER: WHAT WE CAN DO TO TURN BARRIERS INTO BRIDGES

FUHRMAN, Miriam, Rock Solid Testing Services, Carlsbad, CA 92011, mfuhrman@alum.mit.edu, KRAFT, Katrien J. van der Hoeven, Physical Science Department, Mesa Community College at Red Mountain, 7110 East McKellips Road, Mesa, AZ 85207, SEMKEN, Steven, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, PO Box 876004, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, SROGI, LeeAnn, Department of Geology/Astronomy, West Chester Univ, 720 S Church St, West Chester, PA 19383-0001, and HUSMAN, Jenefer, Division of Psychology in Education; Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0611

Do you remember a particular event or experience that first interested you in studying geoscience? What about the moment that you realized you could do this for a living? Were there hiccups along the way? Did you ever say to yourself, “No way -- this is just not worth it!”

We have been investigating how students' aesthetic, emotional, and motivational responses influence their desire to learn, and how this in turn influences comprehension of geoscience content. In particular, we seek to identify discipline-specific bridges to use, and barriers to avoid, in recruiting and retaining a diverse group of students to geoscience professions.

Our preliminary model (Fuhrman et al., 2007) indicates how affect intersects with cognition in geoscience and focuses on unique affective characteristics of the discipline. As we expand on a motivation-based model, we are interested in evidence of factors from other studies that bear on a student’s entrance to or exit from the geoscience “pipeline” (e.g., Holmes and O’Connell, 2003; Levine et al., 2007). Factors with geoscience-specific aspects include field and other outdoor experiences, engaging and culturally appropriate pedagogy, academic geoscience culture, appreciation of nature, and familial and cultural values. For example, just as affirmative outdoor or field experiences are associated with improved recruitment and retention in geoscience, negative field experiences can reinforce negative perceptions of geoscience as a field of study. Pre-existing perceptions can result from the lack of knowledge of what to expect (actual field activities as well as novelty space issues such as hygiene), low self-efficacy for outdoor activity (e.g., fitness capability, competence at performing the required tasks and using appropriate equipment), and cultural barriers (e.g., prestige issues, religious/belief conflicts).

What are the practical applications of an affective-domain model? Instructors can use practices that are informed by the model’s framework (motivation, emotion, and connections with Earth) to mitigate negative perceptions and to plan for positive field and classroom experiences. It is important for faculty to remember that if a student’s affect is not addressed, learning is rendered difficult or impossible.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 210
Techniques and Tools for Effective Recruitment, Retention and Promotion of Women and Minorities in the Geosciences
Oregon Convention Center: B117/118/119
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 538

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