Paper No. 90-7
Presentation Time: 10:05 AM
LINKING GEOSCIENCE AND SOCIETAL ISSUES: A STRATEGY FOR MAKING GEOSCIENCE MORE CENTRAL IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Undergraduate education increases the capacity of our citizenry to govern itself, develops the workforce to sustain our economy and way of life, and enhances our students’ quality of life. While most geoscientists would say that our undergraduate programs play an important role in all three areas, geoscience programs are often not central players in institutions of higher education beyond offering a general education course. InTeGrate seeks to transform the role of geoscience in higher education by linking teaching about Earth to the societal issues that our science serves. By making these connections explicit, we make clear the relevance of our science, interest a larger group of students, better prepare students to work in teams to address complex and multifaceted societal problems, and open up new opportunities to learn about geoscience across the curriculum. InTeGrate teaching materials are being developed by interdisciplinary teams that include faculty that span geoscience, social science, humanities, and other STEM disciplines, and they are being piloted in these diverse disciplines. InTeGrate implementation programs are using these materials to increase Earth literacy across college campuses, to strengthen teacher preparation, to introduce geoscience on campuses without geoscience programs, and to engage new, diverse populations of students in learning about the Earth. This approach aligns well with institutional goals for increased focus on sustainability (e.g. Presidents’ Climate Commitment), as well as efforts to strengthen higher-order learning across the curriculum in preparation for citizenship and work (e.g. LEAP). The InTeGrate website provides access to the teaching materials, information on their use in a variety of settings, and a community of adopting faculty. Each implementation program is documenting its evolution on the InTeGrate website and reporting the results of studies evaluating the success of the programs in meeting their goals. Thus in addition to supporting others in adopting and adapting the materials and program models, the website can be used to demonstrate why geoscience is central to a college education, and how geoscience programs can be central in campus wide initiatives and in multi-institutional collaborations.