Probing the National Geoscience Faculty Survey for reported use of practices that support inclusive learning environments in undergraduate courses

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What is the extent to which college and university geoscience faculty report using education practices that contribute to more inclusive learning environments and engage a diverse population of students? In the 2016 National Geoscience Faculty Survey, faculty answered questions about their practices in a specific introductory or major course they had taught in the previous two years, and about how they share and learn about the content and methods used in their teaching. Based on factor analysis, 22 of the survey questions divided into four categories associated with inclusive teaching practices: geoscientist representations, curricular choices, learning strategies, and career pathways. The self-reported use of practices across these four categories varies greatly, with some used by as many as 71% of faculty respondents whereas others by only 8%. These data provide new information on the current state of teaching practices in the geosciences with regard to inclusive practices, and establish a baseline to which responses from future surveys may be compared. Univariate general modeling combined with ANOVA tests on the responses to the questions shows that education practices differ based on variables such as teaching style, communication with colleagues, years of teaching experience, faculty type, institution type, class size, and course type (introductory or major). These differences suggest opportunities for focused geoscience faculty development around education practices that support the success of a diverse population of undergraduate students and the enhancement of inclusive learning environments in the geosciences.


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