This project is increasing awareness, understanding, education, technical competencies, and ultimately, employment in Geographic Information Systems and Geospatial Technology. The project is focusing on improving the local geospatial infrastructure, thereby widening student access to advanced geospatial tools that are utilized by industry professionals. Moreover, the project is also fostering existing and developing new industry and service learning partnerships that are providing students with valuable opportunities to apply their classroom knowledge to solve real world problems. These partnerships are also providing students with opportunities to build valuable professional connections that are enhancing their employability and visibility in today's competitive job market. The project is also providing professional development to GIS and non-GIS educators. The weekend workshops funded by this project are introducing a diverse pool of non-GIS instructors to geospatial technology, and are also providing knowledge and skills needed to effectively transfer geospatial information and techniques to their students. The project is also providing professional development opportunities for project-related GIS instructors to learn about newly-developed geospatial tools and capabilities, and how to most effectively transfer these new tools and techniques to students enrolled in their courses. Finally, this project is also creating model education pathways to enhance student interest in geospatial technology. Specifically, new programs and curriculum are being developed at the university, college, and high school levels, all of which are enabling students to seamlessly transition from one level to the next. Consequently, the outreach events supported by this project are increasing the diversity of students and community members who are interested in this advanced technological field.

Project Report

" successfully enhanced the quality of geospatial education in the North San Diego County region and encouraged regional collaborations on various geospatial academic and community projects. Impacts can be divided among the four principal missions of the project: Create educational pathways for high school, college, and university students Create service learning and internship opportunities for geospatial students Provide geospatial professional development opportunities for educators Update infrastructure and curriculum at Palomar College and CSUSM Mission 1: Create educational pathways for high school, college, and university students The NSF ATE project provided resources to create high school geospatial courses that are articulated with the introductory GIS course at Palomar. High school students receive college and high school credits by taking these articulated courses. These articulated geospatial course have been offered at Orange Glen High School, Westview High School, and High Tech High-North County. The average enrollment in these classes is 20 students. At the college level, a new course named "GIS and Spatial Reasoning" was offered. This new course not only provides Palomar students with training in geospatial analysis, but also elective credits for students wishing to pursue the associate’s degree in GIS at Palomar. This course articulates at San Diego State University (SDSU), where it fulfills entry level math requirements and is a core course for the bachelor’s degree in Geography. Additionally, over 3,133 middle school, high school, college, and university faculty and students gained awareness of GST through a total of 31 events offered during 2010-2014. Examples of events include Earth Science Week, GIS Day, Tech Prep Open House, GearUp Workshops, and an Encuentros Leadership Conference. Events were hosted in collaboration with Palomar offices such as the Earth Science Department, Palomar STEM Center, and the Encuentros Program. Mission 2: Create service learning and internship opportunities for geospatial students By leveraging resources (i.e. internship stipends) provided by this NSF project, with existing campus resources (i.e. Service Learning Office), 89 students performed geospatial service learning projects for at least 32 unique organizations from the community. This annual average participation rate of 22 students during the grant period marks a 148% increase from the pre-grant period (nine annual student participants). Examples of organizations served include the American Red Cross, City of Oceanside, San Diego Archaeological Center, San Diego Fire Authority, U.S.G.S., San Diego Audubon Society, City of San Clemente Water Department, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, San Diego Archaeological Center and the United Nations Environment Programme. Through their projects, students addressed critical issues such as food insecurity, emergency preparedness, and mangrove degradation. Students completing the projects agreed it enhanced understanding of course materials and provided valuable professional experience and connections for internships and employment. During the same period (2010-2014), 58 students completed the Internship course. Mission 3: Provide geospatial professional development opportunities for educators Between 2010 and 2013, six introductory and intermediate level geospatial curriculum development workshops were offered to regional educators. Educators who were accepted first attended a two day introductory workshop, and then participated in a virtual webinar one semester later. The same educators were then invited to attend a two day intermediate workshop one year after the introductory workshop and partake in a virtual webinar one semester after the intermediate workshop. An average of 15 participants attended each workshop. They originated from seven different institutions in the North San Diego County region and represented 24 different disciplines, such as Anthropology, Biology, Environmental Engineering, Linguistics, Meteorology, and Political Science. Since the workshop, participants implemented GIS at their home institutions, which include high schools, colleges, and universities. In addition, participants published their work in the CSU Geospatial Review, and integrated their new knowledge in their grants and research projects. Mission 4: Update infrastructure and curriculum at Palomar College and CSU-San Marcos In addition to modifying the Palomar GIS curriculum for high school articulated courses, curriculum at Palomar and CSUSM has been modified to integrate current geospatial technology and to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Changes are guided by recommendations from the Palomar GIS Advisory Committee, which consists of more than 30 regional GIS professionals, educators, and community service learning partners. In addition, the project PI attended four different national conferences hosted by the National GeoTech Center (i.e. an NSF funded center) to align the Palomar GIS curriculum to the Department of Labor’s Geospatial Technology Competency Model. In order to maximize the impacts of this NSF funded project, grant funded curriculum and products were disseminated at six national conferences (NSF ATE PI 2011, 2012, and 2013, NSF Broadening Impacts 2011, AGU 2012, and ESRI Education User 2013). In addition, resources such as out-of-the-box geovisualizations, packaged lessons, student testimony, and student projects are distributed over the internet and at national conferences.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Program Officer
David B. Campbell
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Palomar College
San Marcos
United States
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