GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 217-7
Presentation Time: 9:50 AM


HOULTON, Heather, Diversity, Inclusion and Access, Colorado School of Mines, 1710 Illinois St, Golden, CO 80401, SUMY, Danielle F., Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, Washington, DC 20005 and SMITH, Joyce, Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695

Prominent geoscience education literature shows that, despite decades of efforts, there has not been progress made in increasing diversity for the past 40 years. Traditional recruitment tactics failed to move the needle meaningfully, in part since marginalized students often enter geoscience academic programs with unwelcoming or toxic cultures. These environments are difficult to navigate and students are not usually given adequate support to tackle pervasive challenges, such as implicit bias or microaggressions. In addition, information about geoscience careers outside of academia has been historically left out and when it is included, it does not tap into the other parts of students’ social identities to show they “belong” in the profession.

The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology is taking a novel recruitment approach for potential geoscience students from marginalized groups. In collaboration with the American Geosciences Institute’s Geoscience Online Learning Initiative, a 4-hour online, asynchronous module about geoscience careers using diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by design is under development. The module accompanies existing introductory curriculum to introduce students to a wide range of geoscience careers early in their education and does so through the lens of DEI to encourage students to think about how to craft a career path that is unique to their skills, interests, and social identities. Faculty using the module will be given supplemental materials to prepare them to facilitate often sensitive conversations around DEI topics such as implicit bias, microaggressions, or privilege. The module has five main objectives: (1) summarize geoscience concepts, (2) demonstrate how geoscience impacts society, (3) highlight a wide variety of careers, (4) describe skills for geoscience careers, and (5) connect careers with students’ diverse identities.

Geoscience education researchers from North Carolina State University and the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) are collaborating with IRIS to develop videos, design module quizzes, and perform a summative evaluation. To date, two pilots have been conducted this summer with two different groups, which resulted in increased interest in taking an introductory geoscience course in the fall 2021 semester.