October 2018 Spotlight: Cory Forbes

Dr. Cory Forbes, Associate Professor of Science Education in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is the October 2018 GER Spotlight. He is a former high school science teacher who currently teaches interdisciplinary undergraduate STEM courses and graduate-level professional development courses for in-service teachers. His research focuses on model-based K-16 teaching and learning and systems thinking about the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus.

What is the focus of your current geoscience education research?
My team's current work focuses most heavily on modeling and systems thinking about Earth systems, particularly water and climate, in formal K-16 learning environments. We are particularly interested in students' model-based reasoning about coupled human-natural systems in geoscience contexts, as well how their reasoning is supported through curriculum and instruction.

What research methods and approaches do you prefer, and why?
Most of my team's research utilizes mixed-methods research methodologies. Using both quantiative and qualitative research methods has historically afforded us the most thorough insights into the research questions we seek to answer.

What has been the best tool or resource you've found for developing as a geoscience education researcher?
Having a strong background in education research, getting involved in the geoscience education community (NAGT, EER) has allowed me make great connections and cultivate new collaborations that have helped me apply my methodological expertise to geoscience education contexts. This community is truly remarkable and I continue to be impressed with its capacity to grow and advance geoscience education and GER.

What is your favorite or "must read" education research paper?
It isn't research, per se, but it's in important read by one of our greatest educational thinkers, John Dewey. "without understanding, how can we hope to act with intelligence?" Dewey, J. (1916). Methods in science teaching. General Science Quarterly, 1(1), 3–9.

What does GER look like at your institution, in your position?
I am fortunate to work in an interdisciplinary environment with access to students and resources in both the School of Natural Resources and College of Education and Human Sciences. This context is well-aligned with my own background in systems science and science education, including my work as a high school science teacher. I am thankful to be able to work with a superb team of postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students in a collaborative team environment focused on both innovative geoscience education programs (undergraduate instruction, postsecondary faculty development, and K-12 curriculum and professional development) and GER.

Learn more about Cory Forbes' work on his website, http://www.corytforbes.com, or read his most recent publication: Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., Franz, T., Lally, D., & Petitt, D. (2018). Water in Society: An interdisciplinary course to support undergraduate students' water literacy. Journal of College Science Teaching, 48(1), 36-42.