The College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems (CAFSSS) at Kentucky State University has recently launched a BS in Agriculture, Food, and Environment program. Considering the high national demand for minority workers in environmental management and geoscience fields, we are proposing to create a cross-disciplinary minor in “Geoscience Application” for undergraduate students across the STEM degree programs by developing and strengthening curricula, laboratories, and cyber-infrastructure-based teaching, learning, and research resources. The National Science Foundation and others have identified a need to educate more students who will soon enter the workforce in order to advance basic understanding and methods in geography, earth and spatial sciences. The specific objectives are:
1 Develop curricula for a minor at the undergraduate level
2 Develop a Summer Bridge Program for college preparation and STEM education; and
3 Enhance geoscience teaching, learning, and research pedagogy and infrastructure using cyber-learning resources and techniques.
Major activities proposed are: development of a sequence of geoscience courses; design of effective recruitment tools and geoscience career awareness materials; development of research projects for undergraduate and high school students to strengthen curricula, teaching capability, laboratory, cyber-learning-based teaching, learning, and research. Expected outcomes of this three-year project will be the availability of a sequence of three new courses for students who intend to minor in geosciences; an enhanced Geospatial Laboratory with a spatial database, software, and other innovative and cyber teaching and research resources; increased networks with high schools, state and federal agencies and other universities for recruitment and teaching; increased cross-program coordination at KSU for recruitment, management of minor and caption research projects; and effective advising and timely graduation of students. The project activities and impacts will be evaluated every year. The overall impacts of the project will be enhanced and quality teaching, innovative curricula and research, and increased production of competitive underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines.