Paper No. 34-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
THE MSI-REACH PROGRAM: TRAINING AND MENTORING MSI FACULTY IN PALEOCLIMATE SCIENCE FOR TEACHING AND STUDENT RESEARCH
Climate change is a global challenge that crosses cultural boundaries. Geologic perspectives on climate change provide students with critical context for evaluating causes, rates, and consequences of modern and future global warming. Interest in adding paleoclimate content in introductory to majors’ geoscience courses is growing, but needs to be met with training opportunities for instructors whose background is outside of paleoclimatology. The MSI-REaCH (Reconstructing Earth’s Climate History) program was developed to help meet this need for instructors at minority-serving institutions. Via collaboration of undergraduate curriculum developers, professional development specialists, and paleoclimate scientists, MSI-REaCH provides MSI faculty with scientific training, mentoring, and collaboration opportunities. Central to the scientific training is an advanced professional development workshop at the IODP Gulf Coast Repository, comprising 50 hrs of immersive training for 16 MSI faculty over 5 days. During this time participants use sediment cores and their data and inquiry-learning focusing on understanding marine sediment paleoclimate archives and climate change through time. Evaluation data collected by WestEd
show that teaching via guided inquiry, using real samples, and accessible datasets provided participants with a valuable model to follow for future use.
The workshop includes structured reflection time to develop formal action plans. These focus on integrating workshop paleoclimate curriculum into new or existing geoscience courses and/or beginning or expanding research opportunities for their students. Evaluation data suggests that mentoring support will be essential to successful action plan implementation to stay focused, get advice, and keep the scale and scope manageable. For cohort 1 (2015), mentoring started during the workshop and continues for 2 years. Action plan evaluation and initial mentoring suggest strong potential for collaborations among participants and program instructors. This suggests that MSI-REaCH is community building; strengthening the connections among faculty at 2-year, 4-year, and research colleges and universities. Applications for the 2016 MSI-REaCH program will be available at GSA.