New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Geoscience Education: Teaching and Community Engagement Outside the Classroom

Gordana Vlahović, North Carolina Central University (United States)


Geosciences, the least diverse of all STEM careers (US Labor Bureau, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2015), are facing dual challenge: pending workforce shortage and workforce that lacks diversity. Geoscience education literature has identified three critical barriers to students entering geoscience majors from continuing to advanced degrees and careers in geosciences: 1) low visibility of geoscience majors; 2) lack of mentors and general feeling of “not fitting” into geoscience culture, and 3) lack of outdoor experiences. We will describe efforts by North Carolina Central University to address all three barriers by modernizing our curriculum and designing multiple positive “critical incidences” that, we hope, will result in building a close knit student community that will identify with the geoscience culture and, at the same time, possess skills, experiences and attributes that translate to successful professional careers.

In 2015 North Carolina Central University, the oldest publicly funded HBCU in the United States re-started the B.S. Degree in Environmental and Geographic Sciences after a 2-year hiatus due to a major program revision. Some of the curriculum updates included the development of Accelerated Masters Program and the requirement for undergraduate majors to participate in intensive research or internship experience organized through university MOUs with government agencies or nearby tier-one research universities. However, the most ambitious part of the program overhaul is the concerted effort to take the education out of the classroom and into the field.

We will report on the results of positive “critical incidence” experiences that are already in their second year, such as “Solar Spring Break”, an initiative that engages students in learning about alternative energy sources through practice of installing solar rooftop systems in low-income neighborhoods. Other field programs have been recently funded for the first time, for example, weeklong field course to be held on a 100-acre of conservation land along Albemarle Sound. We will also report on the impact of student group focused on sustainability and environmental justice issues on our recruitment efforts. 

Back to the list


Reserved area

Media Partners:

Click BrownWalker Press logo for the International Academic and Industry Conference Event Calendar announcing scientific, academic and industry gatherings, online events, call for papers and journal articles
Pixel - Via Luigi Lanzi 12 - 50134 Firenze (FI) - VAT IT 05118710481
    Copyright © 2024 - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy