GEOLOGY TRANSFER SCHOLARS: SUPPORTING THE ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL INTEGRATION OF INCOMING TRANSFER STUDENTS THROUGH A GEOPATHS-EXTRA GRANT AT FORT LEWIS COLLEGE (Invited Presentation)
In 2015, we received an NSF-GEOPATHS-EXTRA grant to help deal with the challenges faced by our incoming transfer students. These challenges include (1) major requirements that include a sophomore-level mapping class that is a pre-requisite to most junior- and senior-level courses; (2) institutional policies and procedures that interfered with past attempts to allow incoming transfer students to take summer courses at FLC; and (3) other social and academic challenges typical of transfer students (e.g. social and academic capital, social integration). The resulting Geology Transfer Scholars Program provides (1) funding to allow students to take the sophomore mapping class during the summer before they would otherwise transfer; (2) impetus to change college policies (e.g. scholarship eligibility for transfer students) to make a summer course feasible; (3) a series of field trips and other activities associated with the summer field course; and (4) follow-up activities, including a tutor for fall semester courses, travel funding to attend GSA, and funding to support senior thesis research. The additional summer activities include three field trips (to the most common sites used in FLC freshmen geology courses) led by FLC faculty, introductions to campus support offices (e.g. Financial Aid, TRiO programs, Native American Center), and social activities with local FLC geology alums.