Undergraduate Research in Geoscience with Students from Two-year Colleges: SAGE 2YC Resources

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
John Robert McDaris, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, United States, Jan Hodder, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, United States, Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, United States, Eric M Baer, Highline College, Physical Science, Des Moines, WA, United States and Robert H Blodgett, Austin Community College, Austin, TX, United States
Undergraduate research experiences are important for the development of expertise in geoscience disciplines. These experiences have been shown to help students learn content and skills, promote students' cognitive and affective development, and develop students' sense of self. Early exposure to research experiences has shown to be effective in the recruitment of students, improved retention and persistence in degree programs, motivation for students to learn and increase self-efficacy, improved attitudes and values about science, and overall increased student success. Just as departments at four-year institutions (4YCs) are increasingly integrating research into their introductory courses, two-year college (2YC) geoscience faculty have a great opportunity to ground their students in authentic research. The Undergraduate Research with Two-year College Students website developed by SAGE 2YC: Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-year Colleges provides ideas and advice for 2YC and 4YC faculty who want to get more 2YC students involved in research.

The continuum of possibilities for faculty to explore includes things that can be done at 2YCs (eg. doing research as part of a regular course, developing a course specifically around research on a particular topic, or independent study), done in collaboration with other local institutions (eg. using their facilities, conducting joint class research, or using research to support transfer programs), and by involving students in the kind of organized Undergraduate Research programs run by a number of institutions and organizations. The website includes profiles illustrating how 2YC geoscience faculty have tackled these various models of research and addressed potential challenges such as lack of time, space, and funding as part of supporting the wide diversity of students that attend 2YCs, most of whom have less experience than that of rising seniors who are the traditional REU participant. The website also provides resources on effective strategies for developing REU programs for community college students, examples of successful multi-year programs, links to other projects working on undergraduate research in the first two years, and references for further reading.