Paper No. 110-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
IMPROVING STUDENT EXPERIENCES: MAKING CHANGES IN THE CAPE COD COMMUNITY COLLEGE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAM
During the 2012 SAGE 2YC Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Geoscience Degrees and Careers workshop, Cape Cod Community College’s (CCCC) Environmental Science team made plans to increase interest and enrollment in the geosciences by increasing curriculum content and course offerings. With more of everything, the team hoped to meet everyone’s needs and have more successful students. However, enrollment continued to plummet, and courses were cancelled due to low enrollment. This dismal picture was similar throughout CCCC. At the same time, the STEM focus on recruitment, retention, and transfer accountability increased. Analytical assessments of classroom and program pedagogy were performed and used to motivate and direct change. The CCCC geoscience faculty began reviewing their strategies and participating in professional development in hopes of better fulfilling our students’ needs. In 2017, our team began focusing on the foundation course, Introduction to Environmental Science. Analysis of the students’ performance helped measure if more students would successfully complete this course and continue with other sciences as we tried different approaches. By Fall 2017, our team was ready to make big changes. Two CCCC faculty became SAGE 2YC Cohort 2 Change Agents (CA). New strategies were employed to increase active learning and student engagement. Outcomes data and our new administration supported these efforts, and our work continued. By Spring 2018, course lab manuals had been revised and updated. CA team membership changed, but we stayed with the same mission, to improve the geoscience student experience. In Summer 2018, one CA attended the COAChing Strong Faculty in the Art of Strategic Persuasion workshop and shared the effective communication handouts and activities with the team. In Fall 2018, the CA team led a regional workshop for a dozen participants. In Spring 2019, several courses and certificates were retired and the remaining geoscience certificate, Coastal Zone Management, and two degrees were revised. A phenomenal amount of course and program changes occurred during the last two years. In the 2019 Culminating June Workshop, one CA and the dean developed a plan to continue to strengthen the geoscience program.