2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 187-4
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


RICHARDSON, Randall M.1, LEE, Sylvia M.2, KAPP, Jessica L.1, FAY, Noah P.3, WALDRIP, William Ross1, LEZZAR, Kiram E.1 and RUIZ, Joaquin4, (1)Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0077, (2)PCC Governing Board, Pima Community College, 4905 E Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85709-1005, (3)Science, Pima Community College, Northwest Campus, 7600 North Shannon Road, Tucson, AZ 85709, (4)Dean, College of Science, University of Arizona, PO BOX 210077, 1040 E. 4th St, Tucson, AZ 85721-0077, rmr@email.arizona.edu

In 2007, precipitated by the retirement of a long-standing Pima Community College (PCC) geology instructor with ties to the University of Arizona (UA), one of the Pima college presidents reached out to the University with a novel idea: hiring a shared instructor who would teach geology, and be a full faculty member, at both institutions, and who would help increase geology transfer rates and success between PCC and UA. There were national searches to fill the position, which attracted a strong candidate pool. During the six years that the program ran, three faculty held the position. While there has not been a formal assessment of the program, informal assessment of those involved resulted in a rating of 8/10 for the program.

Some of the strengths of the program included: 1) having a faculty member at both institutions who understood how both organizations work and could share best practices between settings; 2) the shared instructor could be a better advising resource for transfer students; 3) teaching in both environments (the UA teaching included large general education geology courses while PCC teaching systematically involved small classes with labs) improved the teaching skills of the faculty; and 4) improved communication between the institutions (e.g., serving together on search committees).

Some of the challenges of the program included: 1) very different organizational structures at the two institutions (e.g., the MOA process was quite drawn out); 2) the shared faculty member felt pulled in two directions, finding it difficult to be fully integrated into the faculty life at either institution, and making evaluation of the program challenging; 3) the physical distance between the two campuses (over 10 miles) made it difficult to schedule time at either campus; and 4) although there were individual transfer students who did very well, there was little concrete progress in transfer rates or success.

Suggestions for improving such a program include: 1) make sure the two campuses are as close together as possible; 2) increase efforts to integrate the shared faculty member into the academic life of both institutions; and 3) dedicate faculty time to improving transfer rates and success (the faculty were fully employed meeting the classroom teaching needs at both institutions).