Fostering Undergraduate Students’ Disciplinary Learning and Water Literacy (WELL)

|Overview| |Personnel| |Publications| |Presentations|

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Project Overview
Since 2016, our team has engaged in discipline-based education research around a new, interdisciplinary course for non-majors – SCIL/AECN/ENVR/GEOG/NRES 109: Water in Society – at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Initially, this project was funded by a 3-year IUSE Engaged Student Learning: Exploration grant (DUE-1609598) that supported the initial design, implementation, and study of the course, particularly its emphasis on the use of data-driven, computer-based water systems modeling tools to enhance students’ socio-hydrologic reasoning. Now, in a second phase of the project, we are supported by a USDA-NIFA C1 Higher Education Challenge grant (grant no. 2020-70003-30928/project accession no. 1021842) to develop and test a new undergraduate curriculum module in which students use HydroViz to explore and make decisions about the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus. The project promotes cross-fertilization between hydrology, STEM education, and the decision sciences, involves collaborating partners at UNL and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and leverages UNL’s and NC-FEW’s focus on FEW-Nexus-focused education. By serving both STEM/FANH majors and non-majors, the project has the strong potential to impact the STEM workforce of tomorrow and cultivate water literacy.

Stay up to date with current news associated with the WELL project here.

Current Project Personnel
Cory Forbes – Principal Investigator

Emad Habib, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Jessica Mostacedo Marasovic – Jessica Mostacedo Marasovic is a Ph.D. student in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Holly White – Holly is a M.S. student in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Previous Project Personnel
Nicholas Brozovic, Associate Professor, Director of Policy, Water for Food Institute, UNL, Co-Investigator

Trenton Franz, Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources, UNL, Co-Investigator

Diane Lally – Diane Lally was a Ph.D. student in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 2015-2019.

Destini Petitt – Destini Petitt was a M.S. student in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 2016-2018.  She is now a doctoral student in the Dept. of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Project Publications

Lally, D. & Forbes, C.T. (2020). Sociohydrologic systems thinking: An analysis of undergraduate students’ operationalization and modeling of coupled human-water systems. Water, 12(4), 1040-1058.

Lally, D., Franz, T., & Forbes, C.T. (2020).  Undergraduate education about water and climate change: Students’ use of a water balance model. In Journal of Sustainability Education

Owens, D., Pettit, D., Lally, D., & Forbes, C.T. (2020).  Cultivating water literacy in STEM education: Undergraduates’ socio-scientific reasoning about socio-hydrologic issues. Water, 12(10), 2857.

Lally, D. & Forbes, C.T. (2019).  Modeling water systems in an introductory undergraduate course: Students’ use and evaluation of data-driven, computer-based modelsInternational Journal of Science Education, 41(14), 1999-2023.

Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., McNeal, K., & Soltis, N. (2019).  National Geoscience Faculty Survey 2016: Prevalence of systems thinking and scientific modeling learning opportunities. Journal of Geoscience Education, 67(2), 174-191.

Petitt, D.N. & Forbes, C.T. (2019). Values use of undergraduate students in socio-hydrological reasoning: A comparative study. Natural Sciences Education, 48(1), 1-12.

Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., Franz, T., Lally, D., & Petitt, D. (2018).  Water in Society: An interdisciplinary course to support undergraduate students’ water literacyJournal of College Science Teaching, 48(1), 36-42.

Sabel, J.L., Vo, T., Alred, A., Dauer, J.M., & Forbes, C.T. (2017). Undergraduate students’ scientifically-informed decision-making about socio-hydrological issues. Journal of College Science Teaching, 46(6), 64-72.

Project Presentations
Forbes, C.T. (invited, 2020, June).  Interdisciplinary research in the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus: Model-based decision-making about coupled human-natural water systems.  Invited presentation at the 2020 International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) workshop Improving science education through interdisciplinary collaborations between learning sciences and discipline-based education research: A workshop for new and established interdisciplinary researchers.

Forbes, C.T., Franz, T., Lally, D., Petitt, D. (2020, July). Fostering undergraduate students’ water literacy: Discipline-based education research in a transdisciplinary water course. Poster presentation at the 2020 Earth Educators Rendezvous. (Virtual presentation due to COVID-19)

Lally, D. & Forbes, C.T. (2020, March). Socio-hydrologic systems thinking: An analysis of undergraduate students’ operationalization and modelling of coupled human-water systems. Presentation at the Annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Portland, OR. (COVID-19 related cancellation of conference)

Lally, D., Petitt, D., & Forbes, C.T. (2020, March). Cultivating water literacy in undergraduate STEM education: Students’ socio-scientific Reasoning about socio-hydrologic issues. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Portland, OR. (COVID-19 related cancellation of conference)

White, H. & Forbes, C.T. (2020, October). An investigation of undergraduate students’ spatial thinking about groundwater.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of The Geological Society of America (GSA), Montreal, Canada. (Virtual presentation due to COVID-19)

White, H., Mostacedo, J., & Forbes, C.T. (2020, October). Fostering undergraduate students’ water literacy: Discipline-based education research in a transdisciplinary water course. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), Tucson, AZ. (Virtual presentation due to COVID-19)

Forbes, C.T. (invited, 2019, October).  Teaching and learning about socio-hydrological systems in an introductory undergraduate water course.  Invited presentation at the 2019 Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI) Fall Cyberseminar Series. 

Lally, D., Forbes, C.T. (2019, September) Socio-hydrologic systems thinking: Student operationalization, evaluation, and model analysis. Paper presented at the 2019 Geological Society of America (GSA), Phoenix, AZ.

Petitt, D.N., Owens, D., Lally, D., & Forbes, C.T.(2019, September). Students’ socio-hydrological reasoning about socio-hydrological issues. Paper presented at the 2019 Geological Society of America (GSA) annual meeting, Phoenix, AZ.

Lally, D. & Forbes, C.T. (2019, April). Modeling systems in an introductory undergraduate course: Students’ use and evaluation of data-driven, computer-based models. Presentation presented at the 2018 North American Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Annual International Conference, Baltimore, MD.

Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., McNeal, K., & Soltis, N. (2018, July). National Survey of Geoscience Teaching Practices 2016: Current trends in geoscience instruction of scientific modeling and systems thinking. Presentation at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.

Petitt, D., Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., & Franz, T. (2018, July). Water in Society: Undergraduate learning and reasoning about socio-hydrological issues. Poster presented at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.

Petitt, D., Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., & Franz, T. (2018, April). Transdisciplinary undergraduate students’ learning and reasoning about socio-hydrological issues. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Atlanta, GA.

Petitt, D., Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., & Franz, T. (2017, October). Transdisciplinary undergraduate students’ learning and reasoning about socio-hydrological issues. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America Conference (GSA), Seattle, WA.

Lally, D., Petitt, D., Forbes, C.T., Brozović, N., & Franz, T. (2017, July). Water in Society: Interdisciplinary undergraduate teaching and Learning about water. Research presented at the Earth Educators Rendezvous, Albuquerque, NM.

Forbes, C.T.,Brozović, , Franz, T., Lally, D., & Petitt, D. (2017, June). Transdisciplinary undergraduate water education: Pedagogical reflections. Research presented at the annual meeting of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Conference (NACTA), Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.

Forbes, C.T., Brozović,, Franz, T., Lally, D., & Petitt, D. (2017, April).  Fostering undergraduate students’ disciplinary learning and science literacy.  Poster presented at the Water for Food Global Conference, Lincoln, NE.

Lally, D. Sabel, J., Dauer, J., & Forbes, C.T. (2017, April). Undergraduate students’ use and understanding of scientific and popular media articles. Poster presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), San Antonio, TX.

Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., Franz, T., Lally, D., & Pettit, D. (2016, September).  Fostering undergraduate students’ disciplinary learning and science literacyPoster presented at the 2016 meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA), Denver, CO. [Poster]

Sabel, J., Vo, T., Alred, A., Dauer, J., & Forbes, C. (2016, April). Undergraduate students’ scientifically-informed decision-making about water-based socioscientific issues. Poster presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Baltimore, MD.