This collaborative project engages community college and other two-year college (2YC) geoscience faculty members in a targeted professional development program that shares successful strategies for teaching students with a range of abilities, experiences, and goals, and for preparing 2YC students for the geoscience workforce. Included in this project are: (1) two topical workshops, one on effective strategies for teaching all students and the other on workforce development through geoscience education at 2YCs; (2) an associated website of 2YC geoscience resources; (3) four types of dissemination workshops (national, regional, local, and virtual); and (4) a leadership development program for 2YC geoscience faculty members. The project develops effective models of professional development for full-time and adjunct 2YC geoscience faculty members, establishes networks of 2YC and 4YC faculty members and administrators focused on 2YC education, and builds leadership within the 2YC geoscience community. Furthermore, the project synthesizes resources to address challenges in 2YC geoscience education. The topical and dissemination workshops enable 2YC faculty members to discuss issues, challenges, and opportunities, to share effective strategies and examples, to meet new colleagues, to prepare action plans to improve curriculum and instruction, and to develop sustainable professional communities.
Strong undergraduate geoscience education is dependent on effective programs at 2YCs. 2YCs play an increasingly important role in producing earth-science literate citizens, developing a competent and creative geoscience workforce, teaching science to pre-service K-12 teachers, and providing a foundation for broadening participation in the geosciences. 2YC faculty members face substantial challenges - limited resources for travel, isolation, and few opportunities for geoscience professional development specific for their setting. By engaging 2YC geoscience faculty members in professional development, this project disseminates advances in STEM education to improve teaching, supports students in geoscience technical training, and helps prepare geoscience majors and pre-service teachers for college transfer. Online resources enable dissemination beyond workshop participants and are an important resource for both 2YC faculties and the broader geoscience community. Within the great diversity of the 2YC students, this project helps broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities in the geosciences by increasing their involvement in 2YC programs and by preparing them for enrollment in four-year institutions or for the geo-technical workforce.