The GEOPATHS-IMPACT program enables a sustainable and lasting partnership between NCCU and two North Carolina community colleges: Carteret Community College (CCC) and Alamance Community College (ACC). Both institutions were selected because of their proximity, the population they serve (rural students in the case of CCC and urban, minority students in the case of ACC), and most importantly, their interest in developing their own associate geoscience programs (CCC) or increasing related geoscience course offerings (ACC).
NCCU will be leading the effort through the following:
- Offering guidance during curriculum development and visiting faculty instructors for specialized geoscience courses during the initial program implementation stage at community college partner institutions
- Creating an online version of the existing 4-year Geoscience concentration for a B.S. in Environmental and Geographic Sciences degree, which will allow transfer students from partner community colleges the flexibility of completing a 4-year degree without leaving the community college;
- Formalizing geoscience-focused partnerships between NCCU and Carteret and Alamance Community Colleges by negotiating memorandums of understanding that will detail transfer credits and continuum of support for transfer students at all stages;
- Providing internships and other “critical positive experiences” that research has identified as influencing career choices.
NCCU is uniquely positioned to lead this work as it one of a few HBCUs that has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in geosciences. The project will address a critical need of each partner institution while increasing recruitment and retention of students traditionally underrepresented in geosciences by providing a seamless pathway from an associate degree to a 4-year B.S. in Geosciences and a master's degree in earth sciences. NC has one of the most developed community college systems in the county, consisting of 58 community colleges. This network provides a great means of spreading the geospatial programs across the state.