GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 110-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


VENDRASCO, Michael, Department of Geology, Pasadena City College, 1570 E Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106 and NAGY, Elizabeth A., Division of Natural Sciences; Geosciences Department, Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

The Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-Year Colleges (SAGE 2YC) Faculty as Change Agents program is a national, NSF-funded, professional development effort for 2YC geoscience faculty and administrators to use evidence-based instruction and strategies to (1) improve all students' academic success, (2) broaden participation, and (3) facilitate students' professional pathways into the STEM workforce. Pasadena City College (PCC) is an urban college near Los Angeles, California, and is designated as both a Hispanic Serving and Asian American Native American-Pacific Islander Serving Institution. Underrepresented minority students comprise the largest percentage of students in the Geoscience Department, and many students are first generation college students. PCC faculty participating in this project learned and used classroom strategies that help students validate their sense of belonging, such as values affirmation activities that address stereotype threat and helping students develop a science identity. All students benefit from discussions of self-regulated learning tactics and frequent student-centered, formative assessments. PCC is one of California's top schools for transfers to local universities, including the CSU and UC system, USC, Art Center College of Design, Caltech, and more. Students learn about successful geoscientists who are women and underrepresented minorities via career projects that include interviewing a geoscientist. The students are mostly non-science majors and are commonly surprised by the enormous array of opportunities in the earth sciences. On a program level the change agents helped establish bi-monthly meetings among geology, geography, and environmental science faculty to examine strengths and weaknesses as a department and to consider the unique needs of the students. One outcome is a sustainability project tied to the International Coastal Clean-up Day that involves hundreds of students every semester. The motto of PCC is “Proud Past, Global Future”. This work with SAGE 2YC is directly in line with this motto and the college's institutional priorities focused on success and transfer for all types of students. It also overlaps with many of the strategies identified in the college’s twelve Educational Master Plan priorities.