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

Paper No. 72-8
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM


MCDARIS, John R., Science Education Research Center, Carleton College, 1 North College St, Northfield, MN 55057, MANDUCA, Cathryn A., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057 and MACDONALD, R. Heather, Department of Geology, College of William & Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187

The number of students majoring in STEM fields in the US has been declining in recent decades. In addition, the diversity of those entering and graduating from STEM programs does not approach the actual demographics of the US population. While the reasons why students do not succeed are often complex and interrelated, initiatives with holistic approaches have shown the most success in supporting students of all kinds with particular effectiveness in supporting women and underrepresented minorities from entry to graduation and/or transfer. These holistic programs support the whole student, addressing their motivation to succeed, their sense of belonging and efficacy, and their access to and acquisition of disciplinary knowledge.

InTeGrate: Interdisciplinary Teaching about the Earth for a Sustainable Future and SAGE 2YC: Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-year Colleges have collaboratively developed resources to help faculty and institutions support the whole student. Using the Engagement-Capacity-Continuity framework for supporting the whole student developed by Jolly et al. (2004), these projects have organized resources around a number of themes.

  • “Engagement” is the awareness of, and interest in, STEM fields as well as the self-motivation to succeed in them. Relevant resources supporting engagement include information about careers and pathways into the workforce, inspiring students via civic engagement and societal issues, and building a sense of community to support intrinsic motivation and academic confidence.
  • “Capacity” refers to skills and knowledge needed to successfully advance to more rigorous levels of study. Providing a variety of academic support mechanisms is an important part of capacity building. The geosciences are also an excellent place to address interdisciplinary, real-world problems and learn to think like a scientist.
  • “Continuity” refers to institutional/programmatic systems that support student advancement in STEM disciplines. Structures to advise and mentor students through a degree program are a critical piece as is providing the right kinds of support for students transferring between institutions.

These and other resources are available via the two project websites:

InTeGrate: serc.carleton.edu/83827

SAGE 2YC: serc.carleton.edu/88249