2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 265-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


IVERSON, Ellen, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057, KASTENS, Kim A., Learning & Teaching Division, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), 43 Foundry Ave, Waltham, MA 02453, BALDASSARI, Carol, Program Evaluation and Research Group, Endicott College, Beverly, MA 01915 and STEER, David, Department of Geosciences, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-4101

One aim of the Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future (InTeGrate) project is to cultivate a community of education researchers focused on infusing sustainability approaches into undergraduate curricula. Through a research design and development process based on guiding project principles and iterative reflection, the internal/external evaluation and assessment team foster an evaluative mindset with the curriculum teams. Each curriculum team (3 to 5 faculty from different institutions) may represent a range of disciplines including geoscience, environmental science, engineering, social science, and humanities.

InTeGrate’s working evaluation model is like an ecosystem, where multiple influencers contribute to any observable phenomenon, where actions can have multiple consequences, and where a small strategic push in one place can leverage far reaching consequences. From this perspective, the culture of reflection/review/evaluation can be seen as an effort to develop feedback loops, reinforcing for aspects that align with InTeGrate priorities and are observed to be effective, and countervailing feedback loops to rein in departures before escalation.

Evaluation and assessment measures are embedded into the collaborative process. A materials rubric, which aligns with the project principles and encourages student-centered teaching, serves as a guide for curriculum teams with an assigned assessment consultant providing iterative feedback. The rubric has proved critical in guiding faculty teams as each adapt their pilot study to the different learning contexts (institution, face-to-face versus online, disciplinary programs, and class size ranges). Reflections collected both as surveys and interviews from participating faculty at check points provide feedback about the process and contexts. Along with the analysis of student assessment data, these findings shape future collaboration processes for the project. The approach has been adapted beyond the InTeGrate by other projects aimed at increasing students’ ability to address earth related societal challenges, such as the GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues project and the MARGINS Geoprisms Mini-lessons Project.