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

Paper No. 37-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


MCDARIS, John R., Science Education Research Center, Carleton College, 1 North College St, Northfield, MN 55057, LAYOU, Karen M., School of Math, Science and Engineering, Reynolds Community College, PO Box 85622, PRC, Richmond, VA 23285, MACDONALD, R. Heather, Department of Geology, College of William & Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187, BAER, Eric M.D., Geology, Highline College, MS-29-3, 2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198, HODDER, Jan, Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, University of Oregon, PO Box 5389, Charleston, OR 97420 and BLODGETT, Robert H., Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Austin Community College, 11928 Stonehollow Drive, Austin, TX 78758

Given the number of baccalaureate students starting their undergraduate education at a two-year college (2YC), providing support before, during, and after transfer to a four-year institution (4YC) is increasingly important. Faculty at both 2YCs and 4YCs can play a key role in helping these students create a foundation for success. Supporting students through this transition begins with identifying students who have an interest in geoscience careers, helping them understand pathways to those careers, providing experiences that develop the skills important for success at a 4YC, addressing advising needs of these students, and helping them develop a plan to successfully transfer and achieve their goals. The Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-year Colleges (SAGE 2YC) project has developed resources to help faculty assist students in the transfer process (serc.carleton.edu/sage2yc/workforce/transfer/index.html).

Personal interactions and encouragement from faculty are important for giving 2YC students confidence to consider their transfer options. Geoscience faculty at 2YCs can maximize support of transfer students by incorporating both fundamental geoscience skills and informal advising in their courses, using pedagogies of engagement, and offering various co-curricular opportunities. Once students have shown an interest in exploring transfer options, faculty can provide advice regarding 2YC degree completion and 4YC transfer requirements, explicitly talk about career opportunities and pathways, facilitate interactions with professional geoscientists, and encourage students to develop a proactive career plan.

Transfer to a new institution and adjustment to unfamiliar academic and social cultures can be stressful, and intentional action on the part of faculty can lessen “transfer shock”. Personal connections with 4YC students and faculty can smooth the transition and provide opportunities to build 2YC students’ networks. Initiating joint GeoClub activities and visits to local 4YCs, providing students with relevant information and contacts, facilitating social interactions between 2YC and 4YC students and faculty, and staying connected with students who transfer are ways for 2YC and 4YC faculty to provide skills, networks, and mentoring for transfer students.