Initial Publication Date: December 10, 2020
Volume 9, Issue 1 | 2020



In this Issue:

Note on this issue from the Geo2YC Division Officers

"Foundations" has been on hiatus the past year, but we are working to continue where we collectively left off. This issue highlights events and news from the year 2020, and features two "From the President" columns: first, from Geo2YC 2019-2020 President Jackie Hams, and second, from 2020-2021 President Sean Tvelia.

From the President 2019-2020

From the President by Jackie Hams, Los Angeles Valley Community College, CA

Life During the Pandemic
What a difference a year makes!  My last column was written in pre-pandemic fall 2019 and focused on looking forward to the changes the next decade will bring to education. We are now in a new decade and in the middle of a pandemic that has not only altered education at the primary, secondary, and higher education levels, but everything in our society.

After meeting classes in the traditional way for five weeks during the spring 2020 semester most schools were abruptly closed mid-March and conducted in a remote format for the remainder of the semester. This trend has continued through fall 2020 and may be expected to continue through spring 2021 at some institutions.

The pandemic revealed some important challenges students face regarding technology.  The most surprising to me was that all students do not have access to a reliable internet source.  In addition, many students do not have laptops and relied on campus computer labs to complete work. To address the internet challenge, I give students a much longer time frame to complete assignments in case the inevitable internet outages occur.
There have been some positive outcomes of teaching during the pandemic.  My teaching style has become much more interactive since I began using zoom to conduct lectures last March.  I find that I am learning more creative ways to interact with students using polls, breakout rooms, whiteboards, and a variety of free tools to engage students.  Some of these tools can easily be incorporated with face-to-face teaching when I return to the classroom.

This decade will undoubtedly be defined by the pandemic, but the pandemic will end. Society will reopen with changes, some of which will be for the better.

As we look forward, the 2YC Division welcomes our new officers:

Sean Tvelia, President
Karen Layou, Vice President
Dave Mrofka, Archivist

From the President 2020-2021

From the President by Sean Tvelia, Suffolk County Community College, NY

2020. Along with the devastating impacts on our families, economy, and healthcare system, COVID-19 has affected all aspects of the education system—and community colleges have been hit particularly hard. Along with the challenges of reaching students with limited internet connectivity, balancing course requirements with family and work responsibility (both student and faculty), community colleges serve populations hit particularly hard by the virus itself. Despite the negative, however, we should not lose sight of some positive impacts. Quite honestly, these few positives have kept me and many others going during some of the darkest times of the past two semesters.

Over the last decade, the Geo2YC division has strengthened the network of 2YC faculty across the nation. Without this network, this pandemic's impact on community college teaching would have been far worse. 2YC faculty who are experienced in online and remote education were able to share pedagogical advice and online resources that allowed others to quickly adapt to remote modalities in ways that took into account the unique circumstances of each institution and student population.

Since the pandemic started, this network has shared innovations that not only provide a platform for learning but utilize best practices in accessibility and active learning. Although we long for the day when we can put the pandemic behind us and return to our classrooms and field camps, innovations born from our pandemic response will continue to enrich our field.

Although remote or virtual teaching may not be the best way to learn or experience the geosciences, for many it is the only option—and for too long that population has been underserved. The pandemic has shown us that we can do better. The same technology that allowed us to continue our courses from quarantine also allowed students to virtually tour field sites hundreds or even thousands of miles away. It allowed students to meet and speak with renown researchers and to learn about careers they may not have known even existed. It also allowed community college students to meet and work with peers at four-year institutions and take part in virtual internships—all without departments worrying about the expense or logistic of guest speakers or student travel.

The pandemic has caused higher ed to reflect on our programs and courses in meaningful ways, not just for the sake of delivery but to ensure the content is high quality, relevant, and accessible. The Geo2YC division is no different and over the past year we have missed the one component that better allows us to do all those things: this newsletter. Although events of the last year hindered our ability to provide the newsletter, it also allowed us the opportunity to reimagine what the newsletter can be for all Geo2YC members.

This January we welcomed our newest newsletter editor, Andrea Bair, Associate Professor of Geology at Delta College, Michigan. We also developed a new newsletter template with regular columns that will highlight innovative programs focused on increasing student success, broadening participation, and 2YC-4YC collaborations. In addition, the new template will also include a column dedicated to the concerns of and programs developed by adjunct faculty. It will also enable us to provide you timely notice of upcoming professional development opportunities, potential funding opportunities, and updates from our membership.

Although 2020 was a hard year for many of us, I am excited for what 2021 will bring. I look forward to helping this division grow with the help of current and former officers in the months to come.

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award 2019 Winner
Sadie Kingsbury, Mt. San Antonio College, CA


The Geo2YC OAFA Committee is pleased to announce Sadie Kingsbury as our 2019 Annual Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Winner. Sadie's contributions to geoscience at Mount San Antonio College were highlighted in the March 2019 issue of Foundations (link: )

In addition to a complimentary annual membership to NAGT and the Geo2YC Division, Pearson Education provided Sadie with a $750 stipend to support her professional development, such as attending a regional or national conference, participating in a professional development workshop, or the development of a classroom activity. Thanks to Pearson for their continued support of this award for our adjunct colleagues. Congratulations, Sadie—we appreciate the opportunity to recognize the efforts of our colleagues, and are thankful for all you do.

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award Winter 2020 Honoree
Marla Morales, Northern Virginia Community College, VA

by Joy Branlund, Southwestern Illinois Community College, IL






Marla is an exemplary member of the teaching faculty at NOVA. For more than five years, she's shared her passion and dedication for getting students excited about their planet by teaching introductory-level historical and physical geology courses. She's taught face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses, and contributed talks to our Geology Club seminar series. Marla has been an active member of the "DC Metro" SAGE 2YC team over the past two years, helping advance inclusivity and efficacy of science teaching at our college, and helping organize and lead workshops for college and regional faculty. Callan Bentley, who nominated Marla, said, "I'm pleased to have an active research scientist like Marla on our faculty, improving the lives of our students."

 Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award Spring 2020 Honoree
William "Gray" Dean, Walters State Community College, TN

by Pete Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College, VA






This round of the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award goes to William "Gray" Dean, who teaches at the eCampus of Walters State Community College, TN. 
Gray was nominated by his faculty, who acknowledged his dedication and patience towards all students enrolled in his online Geology classes. Feedback from student evaluations illuminate Gray as an instructor who provides his students with persistent support and encouragement. Many student evaluations commented that his positive attitude and regular feedback helped them through some of the most overwhelming times of their academic career and helped them achieve their best. Other students remarked on how much they appreciated his high expectations and comprehensive course work, valuing their class with Gray as some of the most rewarding ever.

It is clear that Gray extends a great deal of compassion and genuine concern for his students and that those who take his classes leave with their eyes wide open and attuned to the world around them. Congratulations to Gray for being recognized as an outstanding instructor and for all he has done to help students succeed.

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award Summer 2020 Honoree
Dulce Cruz, Northwest Vista College, TX

by Joy Branlund, Southwestern Illinois Community College, IL






The Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award Committee recognizes Dulce Cruz as our summer 2020 honoree.

Ms. Cruz teaches Earth Science, Oceanography and the labs for Earth Science and Physical Geology in San Antonio's Northwest Vista College. Dulce is currently filling in as a temporary full-time member of the department while a full-time colleague is serving as department chair.

Like most of the people reading this article, Dulce loves teaching. Her enthusiasm and kindness are obvious to her students who often comment on her passion and helpfulness on evaluations. Dulce values the fact that as a foreign-born and bilingual instructor, she is a role model for many of the Hispanic/Latinx students in her classroom.

Dulce is relatively new to teaching, serving as a full-time adjunct for only three years. Nonetheless, she's been a strong force in the department. With her team's input, Dulce not only developed new labs for the Earth Science course, but adapted these to an online format in order to comply with COVID restrictions. She also worked to promote geoscience in the college's biannual Science Festival and "Sci-tober".

To all of our 2020 Honorees: we are inspired by your energy and grateful for your service to the Geo2YC Division and your students! We are pleased to support each Honoree with a one-year complimentary membership to the NAGT Geo2YC Division, and all were entered into the pool of honorees under consideration for the 2020 Annual Outstanding Faculty Award, which is sponsored by a professional development stipend of up to $750 from Pearson Publishing.


Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award 2020 Winner
Marla Morales, Northern Virginia Community College, VA


The Geo2YC OAFA Committee is pleased to announce Marla Morales as our 2020 Annual Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Winner. Mariah was selected from an outstanding group of 2020 OAFA Honorees with votes cast by NAGT members.

In addition to a complimentary annual membership to NAGT and the Geo2YC Division, Pearson Education provided Marla with a $750 stipend to support her professional development, such as attending a regional or national conference, participating in a professional development workshop, or the development of a classroom activity. Thanks to Pearson for their continued support of this award for our adjunct colleagues. Congratulations, Marla—we appreciate the opportunity to recognize the efforts of our colleagues, and are thankful for all you do.

To our readership—tell us about yourself or your adjunct colleagues! What wonderful ideas and strategies are you bringing to your corners of the geoscience world? Please complete an Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award nomination form today!


Change Happens Here

Colleagues, in an effort to best serve the Geo2YC Division and highlight the activities of our members, we are starting a column for the Foundations newsletter that focuses on specific actions that aim to increase student success and broaden diversity in the geosciences called "Change Happens Here". Many of us have been involved in SAGE 2YC programming over the years, via workshops at a national level or those run by colleagues in our regions, webinars, and conference proceedings. All of us have dealt with sudden shifts to virtual learning and decreased enrollments due to COVID. Collectively, we have amazing experience and so we need to share it! Have you tried active teaching strategies—how did it go? Do you have a SERC activity that just connects with your students? What changes have been necessary to adapt your courses to Zoom teaching? How do you ensure field experiences are inclusive? How does your geoscience program encourage diversity and equity? How are you connecting students to geoscience careers? What types of assessment do you complete to know if your efforts are creating the change you wish to see? Who are you connecting with across your campuses or regions to make change happen? Please share your stories with us via the "Change Happens Here" column. Remember—whether it is you, a student, your class, your program--no change is too small!

Submit your stories using the article submission form and share photos when possible. Let's be the change we wish to see!


Geo2YC Pencil Photos

Community Announcements

Workshop for Early Career Geoscience Faculty July 25-29, 2021, with an optional visit to NSF August 3-4

Apply by March 26:

The Early Career Geoscience Faculty workshop is for full-time faculty at a two-year or four-year college or a university at the time of the workshop, who must be in their first three years of full-time teaching or starting a full-time position in the fall.  The workshop goals are to:

  • Learn about setting course goals, strategies for active learning, and methods for assessment.
  • Share ideas and strategies for teaching one or more courses.
  • Consider successful strategies for maintaining an active research program and advising/supervising undergraduate and/or graduate research students.
  • Discuss life as an early-career faculty member and explore ways to balance teaching, research, and service responsibilities.
  • Leave with examples of assignments and activities for various courses, strategies for balancing competing demands, a support network of other early career faculty, and a plan for managing your early career as an academic.

The workshop will be held remotely using Zoom.  The registration cost for the 2021 workshop will be $900. There will be scholarships available, including up to the full amount, for participants. The registration fee includes an NAGT membership through 12/31/2021 (a $75 value).

Future Newsletter Deadlines

We are pleased to announce a new form for contributors to submit articles, images and items of interest to the newsletter.


Questions about the submission form? Please contact Bridget James:

Questions about the newsletter? Please contact Andrea Bair:

Deadline for submission to next issue of the newsletter:

  • March 26, 2021 (Spring issue)