TEACHING COLLEGE GEOLOGY IN HIGH SCHOOL: THE CONCURRENT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF DUAL CREDIT PROGRAMS TO DEPARTMENTS OF GEOLOGY
As the senior academic administrator responsible for 97% of the concurrent enrollment credit hours at IPFW, and as an experienced geoscience educator, I will present my perspective on the challenges and opportunities experienced by geoscience departments when entering into these agreements.
In an concurrent enrollment agreement the sponsoring department has two primary responsibilities. First, the department certifies the high school teacher. Unfortunately, it is rare to find high school science teachers with the advanced degrees in scientific disciplines expected for lecturers or contengent faculty. As such, departments are typically asked to establish alternative criteria or individualized pathways to certification for under-credentialed teachers. Second, departments are fully responsible for assuring the equivalency of the concurrently enrolled course. Because of the differences in the instructional time available high school teachers have the opportunity to employ creative pedagogical techniques that are not possible within the limits of the university lecture and lab schedule. While the difference in instructional pattern can be used effectively, students may also experience difficulty in completing laboratory assignments designed for a two hour period. Careful oversight on the part of the sponsoring department is essential throughout the academic year. Close mentoring and a robust program of professional development are essential components of a strong collaboration with the high school teachers. By building relationships with well-trained high school teachers departments can establish outstanding pathways for student recruitment to major in Earth science related disciplines and ultimately pursue careers in Earth science related fields.