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

Paper No. 34-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


BENTLEY, Andrew Phillip Keller, The Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1903 W. Michigan Age, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5444, PETCOVIC, Heather L., Department of Geosciences and The Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5241, TURNER, Sheldon P., Triton College, 2000 Fifth Ave., River Grove, IL 60171, LADUE, Nicole D., Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, HER, Xai, Geology and Environmental Sciences, Northern Illinois University, 312 Davis Hall, Normal Rd., DeKalb, IL 60115, CARTWRIGHT, Tina, Marshall University, 135 Jenkins Hall, Huntington, WV 25755, MOGK, David W., Dept. of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, PO Box 173480, Bozeman, MT 59717 and WARD, Emily M. Geraghty, Geology, Rocky Mountain College, 1511 Poly Drive, Billings, MT 59102, Andrew.P.Bentley@wmich.edu

Employment opportunities in the geosciences are rapidly expanding, yet underrepresented minorities continue to make up ~8% of the geoscience-related workforce. This pattern of underrepresentation has been attributed to (1) minority serving institutions lacking geoscience programs, (2) low interest in the outdoors due to a lack of opportunity to regularly engage in outdoor recreation, and (3) perceptions of geoscience as a low-prestige career.

Our project focuses specifically on the first barrier. At present, we found that ~2.5% of institutions with geoscience programs are designated as minority-serving. The goals of the Geo-Needs project are to identify obstacles to and opportunities for better use of existing educational resources in two-year and minority-serving institutions, and to explore “ideal” models of resources, partnerships, and other support for geoscience faculty and students in these institutions. Four focus group meetings held in August 2015 brought administrators, instructors, resource providers, and education researchers together to discuss and develop these models. Activities at the meetings included small and whole group prompted discussion, guest speakers, gallery walks, and individual reflection. The culminating ideal model activity encouraged participants to brainstorm potential actors and pathways necessary to diversify the geosciences. We then synthesized perspectives across the four stakeholder groups to highlight novel approaches to broadening participation in the geosciences.

Content from the focus group meetings is available at the project’s website: http://serc.carleton.edu/geoneeds/index.html. Findings from the meetings can be used to inform future efforts aimed toward broadening access to the geosciences at two-year and minority-serving institutions.