GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 155-15
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


MCCARTHY, Heather J., SUNY Buffalo State, Department of Earth Sciences and Science Education, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222-1095,

Educational priorities in STEM at the undergraduate level include sparking leadership and innovation in emerging and rapidly changing fields, and educating a scientifically literate populace. Both of these priorities depend on the nature and quality of the undergraduate educational experience (NSF IUSE Program, 2015). The present study is built around both evidence-based and evidence-generating initiatives, and is focused on evaluating the undergraduate engagement and experience of students at SUNY Buffalo State in introductory geoscience courses.

150 students studying either Introductory Geology or Introductory Astronomy were asked to take part in an anonymous online survey during the third and fourteenth weeks of the semester. Survey questions are designed to explore student attitudes toward science, science-related social media engagement, experiences in secondary science classrooms, and emerging thoughts about their current classes, potentially including teaching assistant effectiveness. Student responses are measured on a Likert-type scale. An additional component of the survey is aimed at allowing students to opt-in for informal in-person interviews to gain qualitative insights into the student experience. This report focuses on the results from the first round of survey responses.