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

Paper No. 187-15
Presentation Time: 11:45 AM


LAYOU, Karen M., School of Math, Science and Engineering, Reynolds Community College, PO Box 85622, PRC, Richmond, VA 23285, BERQUIST, Peter J., Geology Department, Thomas Nelson Community College, 99 Thomas Nelson Dr, Hampton, VA 23670 and LEMAY, Lynsey E., Geology Department, Thomas Nelson Community College, 99 Thomas Nelson Dr, Hampton, VA 23666, klayou@reynolds.edu

Over the past three years, we have led regional workshops in eastern and central Virginia (Hampton, Richmond, and Williamsburg) through the Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-Year Colleges (SAGE2YC) initiative. These workshops have served to foster interactions and highlight best practices that support transfer students from two-year to four-year institutions. Each workshop focused on different aspects related to transfer student success, including workforce development and professional opportunities, academic and transfer advising, and teaching strategies for addressing the needs of particular sub-populations within our two-year college communities. Workshop schedules included both a wide variety of shared activities including gallery walks, presentations, panel and small group discussions, as well as time for individual reflection and development of action plans. Based on participant feedback, the greatest impact of these workshops has been the rare opportunity to have multiple stakeholders collaborating in discussion. Participation has included two-and four-year college faculty, student support staff, professional geoscientists, K-12 educators, and pre- and post-transfer students, who all offer unique perspectives on navigating the transfer process. In particular, we found inclusion of current and former students essential to these workshops, as they can offer personal experiences of navigating the transfer process. Some key findings identified during our workshop collaborations include: employers are often more interested in soft, interpersonal skills rather than technical skills; personal attention to advisees seems more impactful than any single institutional structure or program; and, student challenges with quantitative skills likely stem from inconsistent teaching styles starting with elementary education and continuing through the college-level curriculum. A persistent conclusion across all three workshops was the ongoing need to cultivate networks across the larger geoscience community, emphasizing that supporting student success requires more than individual or institutional efforts.