NEWSLETTER OF THE GEO2YC DIVISION OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GEOSCIENCE TEACHERS
In this Issue:
- From the President
- Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award - Summer
- Members Gallery:
- Geo2YC Pencil Photos
- Newsletter deadlines
From the President
by Joy Branlund, Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, IL
I love that time during a road trip when I can stop, stretch my legs, and pull out a map to find where I am. I look at where I'm going and see if there are interesting places to visit along the way. I also look at where I've been, so I can find names for those unlabeled spectacles I passed on the landscape. These times to check in and reflect are important in other aspects of our lives as well, including with Geo2YC.
Three things happened in the Geo2YC's Executive Committee recently as we've taken a break to look at our metaphoric map.
To see where we've been and where we are, we've revisited our bylaws, which were written at the inception of the division. We'd like to revise some parts of the bylaws to better reflect where we are today. You should receive an email shortly with information about these revisions.
To determine where we've been and where we're going, our Vice President Jackie Hams has tasked the Long Range Planning Committee with redoing a survey of our members to learn about who we are and where we work. This survey was done years ago, and a repeat should illuminate the trajectory of 2YC geoscience as a whole. (Pay attention, hopefully we'll see this survey sometime in the next 12 months.)
The Executive Committee also passed a budget; the spending priorities will help direct the activities of the Division and ensure we are serving our members properly, in other words, this will help us stay on the road. Please attend our business meeting at the GSA meeting in Phoenix, in person or online, for more information about our new direction.
I hope these activities will help our Division better serve you, our members. And may your summer road trips be filled with new discoveries and rewarding detours! (And don't forget to submit abstracts for GSA, submit applications for travel assistance, and further plan your travel for the Earth Educator's Rendezvous in Nashville (and join us at our Wednesday night social.)
Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award
by Pete Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College
The OAFA Committee is excited to recognize Glen White of Columbia College in Tuolumne County, CA as our Spring 2019 Honoree. Glen teaches Environmental Geology, Introduction to Earth, Oceanography and supports a variety of field geology courses across California and surrounding states.
Glen has had a positive impact on thousands of students over the past 26 years of teaching Earth Sciences at Columbia College. During this time, he has combined is 25-year experience as a consulting geologist and work with the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools to inspire students and K-12 teachers alike. According to nominator Jeff Tolhurst, Glen has earned a reputation for being an inspiring, respectful, and effective educator through all that have interacted with him, either at Columbia College or through the Tuolumne County Schools. As an instructor at Columbia College, Glen has a loyal following of students that value his vast knowledge of local geology, practical examples, and engaging instructional methods. K-12 STEM teachers in the local schools know Glen through his various efforts supporting Geoscience and STEM education, which include leadership roles with a summer Geoscience/STEM teaching training institute and their Teaching Opportunities for Professional Scientists (TOPS) Program.
Glen clearly "talks the talk, and walks the walk" of a passionate, knowledgeable, and effective Geoscience instructor. We are grateful for your service to advancing geoscience education and appreciate all you do for your students!
We are pleased to support Glen with a one-year complimentary membership to the NAGT Geo2YC Division, and he will be entered into the pool of honorees under consideration for the Annual Outstanding Faculty Award, which is sponsored by a professional development stipend of up to $750 from Pearson Publishing.
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 today: http://nagt.org/nagt/divisions/2yc/oafa_nomination.html
Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT)
As many of many of you have also been recently experiencing a decline in enrollment at your community colleges, our college and state have started to look to graduation gaps as a way to address these lowered revenues. So while the motivation for different entities may vary, the positive outcome of this pressure is that we're working to decrease equity gaps in graduation and success rates. In the state of Washington, on average there is a 10% gap in graduation rates between White students and Historically Underserved Students of Color (Dupree, 2018). By targeting this equity gap, not only do we address our underenrollment issues, we also lift up our entire student population to equitable future opportunities. In the state of Washington, one of the ways we're choosing to engage in this process is through a program called Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT).
This past year, I was a co-coordinator in working to TILT our classrooms across the college as part of a larger state-wide effort. This started with summer training, included a pilot project in my own classroom and recruiting colleagues across the college to engage in a faculty learning community that participated in a state-wide webinar/training with the expert on TILT, Mary-Ann Winkelmes in which every TILT-ing college across the state participated at the same time (talk about leveraging resources without increasing carbon footprint!). In the end, every faculty developed two openly licensed, fully TILTed assignments to share that will be available for anyone who would like to use these materials.
So why TILT and what the heck is TILT anyway? TILTing assignments means that you're taking out the mystery of an assignment. Students who are not first generation students have resources and the background to know that part of college is about struggling, and also how to decipher what the instructor might actually be asking for when an assignment is given. And if they don't understand, they're more likely to seek help. Of course, this doesn't describe the majority of our students. Our first generation and historically underserved students are much more likely to doubt themselves and question whether they even belong in college. The research from Mary-Ann Winkelmes' work has demonstrated that making your assignments more transparent using a simple template results in huge gains for all students, and greatly closed equity gaps across many different populations. The substance of the assignment isn't changed, just how we're communicating it to the students. It's revolutionary and incredibly achievable. For more details on the research and to see examples of the templates and different disciplinary examples, and more, check out the website with all of these resources. Most of the research she has done has been at UNLV, her former institution, which is incredibly diverse, but not a 2yc. This is part of what we're attempting to test; the efficacy of this model across all different types of 2ycs across an entire state.
It's been exciting to be a part of a larger effort to both improve my instruction and target issues of equity that impact our students' success. In addition, it has helped to build community on our campus and opened our classroom instructional ideas to each other. I would strongly recommend anyone working on course modification and/or tweaking work they're already doing to consider TILTing their assignments. I posted one example on the SERC site here.
Celebrating Heather Macdonald
by David Voorhees, Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, IL; Callan Bently,Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA ; Peter Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton, VA
At the Geological Society of America meeting in Phoenix in September 2019, there were three sessions honoring Heather Macdonald for her contributions to geoscience education in two-year colleges (2YC). Heather Macdonald has a long-standing and crucial role in advocating for, and nurturing, the now flourishing and connected 2YC geoscience community. Her endless energy and insight started in the mid 1990's, and has continued through to the very successful SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents project. Throughout the many workshops and programs she has been a leader of, she has devoted countless hours to the recognition, development and future of geoscience education at 2YC's. These three GSA sessions highlighted these many contributions and outcomes, and thanked her for her long-standing support of geoscience education at 2YC's. There were two oral sessions with 21 presentations and a concurrent poster session of nine presentations. These sessions were proposed and organized by David Voorhees, Waubonsee Community College, and assisted by Callan Bentley, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Kaatje Kraft, Whatcom Community College, and Peter Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College. All attendees to the oral sessions were asked to participate in a Heather-esque active learning exercise by writing a term or phrase that described Macdonald's role or effect in their career on a sticky-note and placing it on the wall in the back of the room (Figure 1).
The two oral sessions were organized into three main sections; the Pre-NOVA 2010 workshop years, the NOVA workshop in 2010, and then the SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents era. The first presentation was the invited talk by Cathryn Manduca, from the Science Education Research Center (SERC), who started the emotional sessions with heartwarming vignettes of her work with Heather starting with On The Cutting Edge with SERC in 2002. She also shared the beginnings of Heather's interest and devotion to the 2YC community, which is from the influence of the formidable Dorothy "Dottie" Stout and Program Officers from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The second invited talk by Chris DiLeonardo of the Geology Department in De Anza College, CA, described the role that Heather had in bringing together about a dozen participants to a workshop in 2000 at the NSF that was funded by an unsolicited proposal to the then DUE Geoscience Program Director, Dottie Stout. This workshop assembled 55 geoscience faculty from around the country that brought critical awareness to the issues and challenges unique to the teaching of geoscience at 2YC's, setting the stage for creating an environment for the success of later meetings and projects.
The next series of talks by Suki Smaglik, Yakima Valley College, Lynsey LeMay and Peter Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College, and David Voorhees, Waubonsee Community College, described the transformative 2010 workshop co-organized by Macdonald held at NOVA, "The Role of Two-Year Colleges in Geoscience Education and in Broadening Participation in the Geosciences: A Planning Workshop". This workshop was pivotal in developing the needs, challenges and opportunities of teaching geosciences at 2YC's. From this workshop, a path for the improvement and advocacy of 2YC's was developed, including the formation of the first Division of NAGT, Geo2YC. All three presenters provided unique insight into that event, as well as heartfelt tributes to the role that Macdonald has had in their personal career trajectory, sometimes from the very beginning, as in the case of LeMay and Berquist. In fact, all presenters ultimately ended their presentations with heartfelt personal insights and pivotal changes Macdonald has made to their careers.
The first half of the morning session was wrapped up by presentations that started the sequence of presentations describing the pivotal work done in the SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents program, of which Macdonald is a PI. Please note that most of the presentations had multiple authors, and only the presenting author is listed in this article. Ellen Iverson, from SERC, introduced the overall structure of the Change Agent program and presented preliminary evaluation data. The next presentation was by Eric Baer, Highline College, on the general role that the regional workshops sponsored by SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents have had in the transformation of geoscience education at 2YC's across the country.
The break of the morning session was highlighted with a group picture as well as two presentations. Joy Branlund, the newest Past-President of Geo2YC and at Southwest Illinois College, presented Macdonald with a plaque from Geo2YC in their appreciation of her devotion to geoscience education at 2YC's. Kristie Bradford then presented Heather (Figure 3) with a commemorative album of handprints and personal tributes to Heather from the Change Agents of the SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents program.
The second half of the morning session began with Callan Bentley of NOVA, describing his successful regional meeting which was a "field trip about field trips". Gretchen Miller and Adrianne Linebach gave 2 sequential presentations about the impact and transformations of the SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents to the geoscience program at Wake Tech Community College. Andrea Bair described increased student success at Delta College after implementing SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents resources. The morning session was concluded with some personal comments and thanks from Heather.
The afternoon session continued with reports of Cohorts 1 and 2 of the successful SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents program that is now coming to a close. Note that cohort 3 is to start in January 2020. The presentations included the community and program growth by Sean Tvelia at Suffolk County Community College, a powerful presentation by Kristie Bradford describing how she overcame her imposter syndrome through the Change Agent program, and the challenges of running a local workshop in remote Alaska and engaging Alaska Natives by Todd Radenbaugh of the University of Alaska. Professional growth inspired by Macdonald was described by Becca Walker from Mt San Antonio College, who proposed the thesis that "You don't say no to Heather Macdonald". The insightful and entertaining poem written by Walker for her presentation is provided below. Sadie Kingsbury from Mt. San Antonio College described the effect of the professional development aspect of SAGE for adjunct instructors. Karen Layou from Reynolds Community College and Cheryl Resnick from Illinois Central College described their use of science identity in their classrooms to broaden participation in the geosciences. After the break and another group photograph, the role that SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents had in developing professional networks was presented by David Mrofka from Mt San Antonio College and Peter Berquist from Thomas Nelson Community College. The development and implementation of a rock wall in Lone Star College, inspired by the active learning discussions in the SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents program, was described by Bryn Benford. The afternoon session was concluded with heartfelt comments and thanks by Heather. As she has taught us all, she ultimately finished the oral sessions with a reflection activity.
The session attendees then moved to the poster presentations. There were presentations on online class development inspired by the SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents program by Bridget James from San Francisco State University, increasing the geoscience program at Cape Cod Community College by Catherine Etter, Debra Woodall at Daytona State College, and Mark Boytra and Tania-Maria Anders at Mt San Antonio College. Elizabeth Nagy from Pasadena City College described how the SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents program has changed her and the geoscience program. Susan Conrad from Dutchess Community College described the effect of the professional development opportunities through workshops providing exposure to high-impact teaching practices. Carol Ormand from SERC, described the development and implementation of the virtual professional development opportunities provided through SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents. Jessica Smay from San Jose City College described how attending workshops organized by Macdonald over her career has changed her professionally.
The event was a heartfelt tribute to a person who has devoted countless hours to the promotion and development of geoscience education at 2YC's. In addition to the compelling 30 presentations and the word cloud of the terms the attendees associate with Macdonald (see Figure X), the broad and significant effect Macdonald has had on the 2YC geoscience community is quite clear. Although it is not as permanent a record as a medal or physical award, the deeply felt and emotional tributes expressed in these sessions will be remembered for a long time.
Thank you Heather!
Becca Walker, Mt. San Antonio College included a poem:
Longer ago than I'd like to acknowledge
I was going to school at a liberal arts college.
When I'd started there, I was pre-med
But decided freshman year I liked rocks instead.
For my senior thesis topic, I couldn't decide
Where my primary geo interest lied.
Min/pet, paleo, structure, they were all so rad....
Even sedimentology wasn't that bad.
I was starting to think, but it seemed like a reach,
That this stuff was so interesting, I might want to teach.
So imagine, for a second, my extreme elation
When I learned about this thing called geoscience education.
My advisor said, "If it's higher ed. teaching for which you're yearning,
You could study geocognition and active learning.
And the other thing you should probably do
Is go this workshop at AGU.
The topic is academic career prep.....
And what's more, the leaders have a very good rep."
So glad I attended, even though it was scary
'Cause one of the leaders was Heather Macdonald from William and Mary.
Chasing the Eclipse
This article is a travelogue documenting one of nature's most spectacular shows and the highlight of the year for me - the July 2, 2019 total solar eclipse observed from the Elqui Valley in Chile. Photographing the eclipse has been on my bucket list since the 2017 solar eclipse which I failed to capture due to thunderstorms in the Midwest. Following the 2017 eclipse, I immediately began planning for the 2019 Chile eclipse with the thought that I could at least see the Andes Mountains (also on my bucket list) if the weather did not cooperate. This time I was able to do both. The following photographs summarize the high points of the trip.
The Grand Torre Santiago is the tallest building in South America. The sixty-two-story office building has a shopping area, restaurants, and parking. I wonder why the cities with histories of strong earthquakes (i.e. Los Angeles and San Francisco) feel compelled to build such tall structures. Our tour guide gave the standard answer - the building is designed to roll.
Twenty percent of Chile's energy is generated from wind and solar power. I passed several wind farms on the long drive from Santiago to my hotel on the beach in Tongoy, located approximately 270 miles north of Santiago.
And now the big event, a total solar eclipse! I shot photographs before and after totality to document the entire eclipse sequence, beginning with the partial eclipse at 3:23:38 and ending with sunset at 5:46:45.
This is my first ever photograph of a total solar eclipse with the classic diamond ring effect. The duration of totality at the viewing location was 2 minutes 29 seconds.
After dinner and lots of celebrating in the luxury tent, around 10:00 p.m. we started the slow journey back to the hotel in Tongoy. Unlike the morning ride with little or no traffic, the roads were crowded with eclipse viewers from all over. I finally made it to bed around 2:00 a.m. The entire event was exciting and traveling with so many seasoned "eclipse chasers" and astronomers made it special.
The day after the eclipse was dedicated to a tour of the Elqui Valley, known for its observatories, quaint villages, UFOs, and pisco (grape brandy used in many cocktails). Here are a few notable places visited. The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory is a complex of astronomical telescopes and instruments operated by the U.S. National optical Astronomy Observatory along with the Kitt Peak National Observatory.
The Puclaro Dam is an irrigation and industrial water dam in Vicuna, Elqui, Coquimbo, Chile. The dam was completed in 1998. The lake was artificially created when the dam was constructed.
I was warned by the experienced "eclipse chasers" that observing a good eclipse can be addictive. Most of the people in my tour group were veterans of 4 or more eclipses. Many of them observed strict rituals such as wearing the same shorts and and most importantly, the same hat for each eclipse. I was definitely moved by this eclipse and the overall trip. I learned a lot about Astrophotography from the astronomers and experienced eclipse photographers. The non-eclipse days spent touring the Elqui Valley, observing the local geology, and photographing the towering Andes Mountains enhanced the experience of viewing nature's fantastic show. The only criticism I have is there were no UFO sightings. Even UFOs know they can't compete with a total solar eclipse during perfect weather!
My students will surely wonder (as will some readers of this newsletter) if this was worth a one week trip to Chile for a one-day event consisting of 2 hours of a partial eclipse and 2 ½ minutes of a total eclipse. Will I join the ranks of the eclipse chasers? I will just say that the tour group is already taking reservations for the December 14, 2020 total solar eclipse in Patagonia, and the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse in San Antonio, and both tours will sell out quickly. I will keep my eclipse hat handy just in case.
Geo2YC Pencil Photos
It seems there was a mix-up of some photos from Callan Bentley (Northern Virginia Community College) in the last issue (sorry Callan). This one (from the previous issue) is from the Galapagos, not the Franciscan:
Here's the pillow basalt image from the Francisan,
with a close-up of some nice zoned phenocrysts:
And we'll throw in an eclogite for good measure:
Our pens are always helpful on field trips, as Beth Johnson, demonstrates on a field trip with students in Wisconsin.
Future Newsletter Deadlines
The next deadline is coming up fast so that we can get caught up and back on schedule. A summer without internet was enjoyable except for the inability to do things like this on a smartphone and LTE. And then there's learning a new platform. 'hope you like it!
- December 7, 2019 (Fall/Winter issue)
- February 29, 2020 (Spring issue)
- May 24, 2020 (Summer issue)
- August 21, 2020 (Fall Issue)
- November 20, 2020 (Winter Issue)
Editor, Foundations, v. 8. n.2-3