GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 218-15
Presentation Time: 11:45 AM


VISKUPIC, Karen, Department of Geosciences, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725, EGGER, Anne, Geological Sciences, Central Washington University, 400 E University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926-7418 and IVERSON, Ellen, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057

Descriptive analysis is useful for identifying patterns in large datasets, such as the National Geoscience Faculty Survey (NGFS), administered four times since 2004. Descriptive analysis of these data has characterized teaching practices in undergraduate geoscience classrooms, how faculty interact with their community, and factors that promote faculty change. The results provide both a snapshot of current practices and a way to monitor changes over time.

Research results from the 2016 NGFS administration included descriptions of the use of practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, the practice of quantitative skills, and the practice of workforce skills in majors-level classes. Having a description of what practices are used across the discipline, and in which types of courses, could serve as a launching point for reflection on the practices in one’s own courses and across a department, complementing tools such as the curriculum matrix used for internal programmatic review in NAGT’s Travelling Workshop Program.

Descriptive analysis of NGFS responses are being used to develop inventory tools to promote department-level reflection and goal-setting. For example, responses to questions about the practice of desired workforce skills such as communication, teamwork, data collection and analysis, and quantitative skills provide benchmark measures of how commonly these skills are practiced in introductory and majors-level courses. Further analysis describes which types of majors-level courses most commonly incorporate these skills. Using these results, a guided set of questions will prompt a department to inventory their own teaching practices, compare them to national trends, reflect on the results, and set goals for making changes. For example, a department that determines their students conduct statistical analyses less frequently than the national average might set a goal for increasing the practice of statistics in their courses and could use NGFS results analyzed by course topic to identify likely targets for where to make changes. Coupled with recommended resources on NAGT’s Teach the Earth website, and with workshop resources such as the Travelling Workshop Program and the Earth Educators’ Rendezvous, departments could use these tools to guide and enact change.