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Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


BRANLUND, Joy M., Earth Science, Southwestern Illinois College, 4950 Maryville Rd, Granite City, IL 62040, VAN DER HOEVEN KRAFT, Katrien J., Physical Sciences, Whatcom Community College, 237 W. Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226, BAER, Eric M.D., Geology, Highline College, MS-29-3, 2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198, GORE, Pamela J.W., Department of Science, Georgia Perimeter College, 555 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021, WYSONG, James, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa, FL 33619-7850 and WIESE, Katryn, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, 94112,

Geoscience faculty at two-year colleges (TYC) have great responsibilities for educating the citizenry and recruiting geoscience majors. TYC faculty also play an important role in serving their diverse communities. Pathways for improving TYC geoscience programs are not clear because many faculty report feelings of isolation and are subject to different curricular standards and departmental organizations. For this reason, we propose developing a Best Practices document detailing characteristics of strong two-year geoscience programs. We expect a rigorously defined and widely communicated Best Practices document will help programs set goals to increase diversity in the geosciences, improve all student learning and retention, better meet community needs by preparing students for the workforce at all levels, and enhance the TYC faculty workplace and learning environments.

The co-authors met at the NSF-sponsored summer workshop, “The Role of Two-Year Colleges in Geoscience Education and in Broadening Participation in the Geosciences: A Planning Workshop.” The notion of best practices was inspired by the SPIN-UP/ TYC project of the physics education community ( Following the SPIN-UP model and expanding on the SERC project that defined successful geoscience departments, we plan to (a) determine the current state of two-year college geoscience education through a two-stage survey process, (b) conduct site visits of the most successful programs, (c) define best practices using the surveys and site visits, (d) disseminate the findings via a widely accessible Best Practices document, and (e) assess to what degree the Best Practices document improves geoscience education at two-year colleges.

This presentation is designed to inform the greater community about our goals, and to solicit help from the geoscience education community (both individual and organizational) with the project.

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