GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 243-10
Presentation Time: 4:20 PM


GUERTIN, Laura, Earth Science, Penn State Brandywine, 25 Yearsley Mill Road, Media, PA 19063, ORMAND, Carol, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057, JOHNSON, Beth A., University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus, 1478 Midway Rd, Menasha, WI 54952, NAGY, Elizabeth, Division of Natural Sciences; Geosciences Department, Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106, HELGERS, Karen, SUNY Ulster County Community College, Stone Ridge, NY 12484, KRAFT, Katrien, Science, Whatcom Community College, 237 W. Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226 and LAYOU, Karen M., School of Math, Science and Engineering, Reynolds Community College, PO Box 85622, PRC, Richmond, VA 23285

Almost 45% of undergraduate students attend community colleges (2YCs), and half of these students come from minoritized populations (American Association of Community Colleges, 2020). Approximately 21% of two-year colleges in the United States offer a geoscience course or program, with only one or two faculty members teaching in the discipline (Wilson, 2018). Therefore, 2YCs are one key to improving student and faculty representation and persistence in the geosciences. Eleven 2YC geoscience faculty across the U.S. and the project manager for SAGE 2YC (Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-Year Colleges) formed the 2YC URGE pod to participate in the Unlearning Racism in Geoscience program.

Our pod’s focus was on how faculty can support BIPOC students in the first two years of college, particularly in introductory-level geoscience classrooms. We developed a resource document detailing strategies for making connections to BIPOC students’ interests, commitment, and ability to persist in STEM fields. Our document includes suggestions and resources for both the institutional level as well as the classroom, with sections on institutional admissions, hiring questions, student concerns about bias, inclusive pronouns and language, land acknowledgements, and recommendations to improve the course syllabi and classroom practices. These examples range from scientist spotlight exercises to assignments focusing on the disproportionate and inequitable impacts from climate change and flooding. We illustrate how we use data to measure inequities in enrollments and course success rates, and continue with suggested practices for advancing BIPOC students through effective mentoring and advising.

The 2YC URGE pod continues to advance anti-racist strategies and policies, creating change within our classrooms and institutional structures, with intention, accountability, and inclusivity. Our resources can be accessed at and on the NAGT Geo2YC Division website. It includes links to recommended readings and materials on the SERC website and in the NAGT Teach the Earth portal. Examples of how individual pod members have utilized items from our resource document during the 2021 fall semester will be included in this presentation.