Congratulations to Dr. Diane Lally for successfully defending her dissertation, entitled, “GEOSCIENCE EDUCATION RESEARCH: TRENDS AND APPLICATIONS IN UNDERGRADUATE COURSES“. For the past five years, Diane has worked as a graduate assistant as part of the Forbes Group, conducting research on undergraduate students’ model-based reasoning and systems thinking about water systems, as well as serving as a teaching assistant for the SCIL 109 course, all part of the WELL project. Diane’s studies, all published, collectively contribute to undergraduate geoscience education about sociohydrologic systems. It has been a pleasure to work with Diane as both project PI and her advisor. Diane’s dissertation was conducted in partial fulfillment of Ph.D. requirements in UNL School of Natural Resources. Her committee members included Drs. Jenny Dauer, Trenton Franz, and Christine Cutucache.
Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to contribute as a research team member on the National Geoscience Faculty Survey project led by SERC and made possible by funding from NSF. As part of this effort, I was fortunate to collaborate with Dr. Karen McNeal, as well as doctoral students Diane Lally (UNL) and Nick Soltis (Auburn University), on analysis of data from the 2016 administration of the survey to investigate U.S. geoscience faculty members’ reported emphasis on scientific modeling and systems thinking in their undergraduate courses. Based on a sample of over 2000 postsecondary instructors, this shows these elements to be more heavily emphasized by faculty members from certain geoscience subdisciplines than others and who generally show greater engagement with instructional innovation. This was a great experience working with a wonderful team on a unique dataset and we all hope these are findings that will be accessible and useful to postsecondary geoscience faculty nationwide.
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.
Soltis, N., McNeal, K., Forbes, C.T. & Lally, D. (2019). The relationship between active learning, course innovation, and teaching Earth systems thinking: A structural equation modeling approach. Geosphere, 15(5), 1703-1721.