Paper No. 8-2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
IMPROVING GEOSCIENCE EDUCATION PATHWAYS THROUGH ENGAGING SCIENTIFIC AND CAREER EXPERIENCES
Recognizing the growing importance of two-year colleges (2YCs) as a starting point for students who earn bachelor's degrees at 4-year institutions (4YCs), Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and University of Rhode Island (URI) are implementing a number of modifications and new programs that are aimed at increasing the number and diversity of geoscientists in each institution's programs. The goals of this program are to: (1) improve the 2YC/4YC transfer rate in the geosciences in Rhode Island; (2) increase the number and diversity of geoscience graduates; (3) enhance student training in geoscience and STEMrelated fields; and, (4) contribute to the evidence base of successful practices in geoscience education. CCRI and URI are putting in place both on and off-campus components, including: targeted improvements to gateway courses; systematic enhancements of the undergraduate curriculum in terms of data-rich activities, collaborative learning, and field experiences; streamlining of the transfer path into geosciences; a new research-focused course team-taught across institutions; a workshop engaging students in the process of applying for internships and research opportunities; a series of information-sharing and mentoring events for prospective geoscience majors. These experiences are being integrated into and scaffolded with the undergradute curriculum that are based on researchidentified recommendations and strategies to reduce barriers for becoming and remaining a geoscience major. The relative importance of each factor for increasing student involvement and greater diversity is being evaluated, with specific attention to the case of 2YC-4YC geoscience transfer students. In this way, future programs can focus policies and resources on highly effective and data-backed geoscience recuritment and retention activities.