GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 68-8
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


PETCOVIC, Heather L., Department of Geosciences and The Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5241, BENTLEY, Andrew Phillip Keller, The Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1903 W. Michigan Age, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5444, MOGK, David W., Earth Sciences, Montana State University, PO Box 173480, Bozeman, MT 59717, GERAGHTY WARD, Emily M., Department of Geology, Rocky Mountain College, 1511 Poly Drive, Billings, MT 59102, TURNER, Sheldon P., Triton College, 2000 Fifth Ave., River Grove, IL 60171, LADUE, Nicole, Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University, 302 Davis Hall, Normal Road, DeKalb, IL 60115, CARTWRIGHT, Tina, Marshall University, 135 Jenkins Hall, Huntington, WV 25755 and HER, Xai, Geology and Environmental Sciences, Northern Illinois University, 312 Davis Hall, Normal Rd., DeKalb, IL 60115,

Despite a significant investment of resources, the geosciences remain one of the least diverse of all science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, with underrepresented minorities making up ~8% of the geoscience-related workforce. Although this pattern of underrepresentation has been attributed to numerous factors, our NSF-funded project focuses on the lack of access to undergraduate geoscience courses and programs of study at two-year technical and community colleges (2YCs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) with two related goals: (1) identify barriers and opportunities for better use of existing resources that engage underrepresented students in the geosciences at 2YCs and MSIs, and (2) explore what an “ideal model” of resources, partnerships, professional development, and ongoing support for faculty and institutions might look like.

To reach these goals, we convened four focus group meetings in August 2015. The 40 participants were drawn from four key stakeholder groups: 2YC and MSI geoscience instructors, 2YC and MSI administrators, organizations that create and/or disseminate geoscientific resources and educational materials, and researchers with expertise in equity, access, and diversity in either the geosciences or broadly in higher education. Through brainstorming activities, discussions, and an ideal model activity, we elicited participants’ views of the current status of geoscience instruction at 2YCs/MSIs and their recommendations for expanding access to the geosciences for underrepresented students at these institutions. In July 2016, we supported 20 instructors from 2YCs and MSIs to attend the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER) and a follow-on Geo-Needs workshop. Here participants developed an action plan detailing a course, curriculum, or extracurricular program that would expand access to the geosciences for their 2YC/MSI students.

Products of this project include the 2015 Focus Group Meetings Report and Executive Summary, a collection of resources and recommendations derived from the 2015 focus group meetings, and a collection of action plans derived from the EER workshop. All materials are available on the Geo-Needs website:

  • Petcovic_etal_GeoNeeds_GSA2016_Poster.pdf (1.5 MB)