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

Paper No. 34-6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


MOUSAVI, Mazda, Lone Star College Montgomery Campus, Conroe Center, 777 Conroe Park, North Drive, Conroe, TX 77303 and TING, Cheng, Houston Community College SE, 6815 Rustic Street, Houston, TX 77087, mazda.mousavi@lonestar.edu

Many of the challenges in teaching community college students center on diversity. Diversity has been defined in terms of: 1. Background science education and prior knowledge; 2. Learning styles; 3. Socio-economic, cultural and ethnicity issues; 4. School’s faculty and staff background and experience. Of these the prior science education and the overall level of preparedness of students is a huge impediment in some geo-science classes given that geo-sciences embrace all other disciplines to some degree or the other.

There is a vast amount of research addressing diversity and how to bridge the learning divide. There is also a growing number of professional development opportunities that focus on strategies and plans that address the implementation of new trends in education and facilitate networking and support among faculty. There is however a huge gap between research, what is said, and what is possible to practice in a classroom.

The issues that affect the quality of education in classrooms are compounded by: 1. Budget pinches and consequently the tendency on the part of institutions to depend on part time and adjunct faculty to cut costs thus depriving students of proper mentoring and depriving faculty of the necessary environment to be more effective; 2. Lack of opportunities to offer geo-science students the excitement of a real field experience in many institutions; 3. The manner in which student retention efforts are implemented; and 4. The administrative priorities affecting the allocation of funds and grants. These factors are not of course exclusive to geo-sciences and can apply to other disciplines but are studied here with a geo-science class in focus.