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

Paper No. 273-2
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


FADEM, Cynthia M., Department of Geology, Earlham College, 801 National Rd W, Campus Drawer #132, Richmond, IN 47374, fademcy@earlham.edu

Though ‘generational’ thinking can be limiting in many ways, it can lead us to uncover new ways to teach ‘today’s’ students and facilitate discussion of sensitive, critical issues across cultural divides. Coming of age as a Millennial or as part of the iGen means our students were steeped throughout their development in a fast-paced, digital, global awareness and diversity with which many educators only engaged by choice as adults (or not at all). On the other hand we are not only educating people in general geoscience, but training the geologists of tomorrow. Like the changes that mark generations of teachers and students, science owes changes in funding parameters, industry regulations, mandated learning outcomes, etc. to the same evolving socio-political landscape. Additionally we know that accessing the affective domain is key to having engaged, motivated students and fostering a high-impact course environment. Thus the challenge in modern US STEM education is to build a framework that provides necessary curricular information, solicits emotional acceptance from Generations Y and Z, and includes tools for navigating the politicization of science. Based on student feedback and subsequent assessment gains, I have found students to be increasingly hungry for all these things, whether they see geoscience as a career choice or not, and that the most effective way for me to ensure students retain geological information is to focus the student experience into real-world projects and case studies using multimedia presentation. Combining social and natural science is a conduit for students not only to access the material emotionally, but to build a framework for couching their future work in terms of things like broader impacts, community development, economic sustainability, etc. This presentation includes some of my most successful trans-disciplinary educational experiments including quick lecture tools, in-class activities, and multi-day projects.