Plenary Speaker Profile (2004-5)
Cathryn A. Manduca
Director, Science Education Resource Center
Carleton College
Bringing Research on Learning to the Geosciences

Research on learning now provides many important results that can guide faculty and teachers in developing rich learning experiences for students. To capitalize on this knowledge geoscience educators are working in two areas: 1) promoting widespread awareness, understanding and use of these results in geoscience education and 2) building on current research in areas that are of particular interest in the geosciences.

At a joint meeting of geoscientists and learning scientists in 2002, a number of areas of particularly high interest for future study were identified including characterizing geoscience expertise, the role of field observation and visualization in geoscience thinking and learning, the ways in which geoscientist come to understanding complex systems and geoscientists ability to draw conclusions from multiple sources of incomplete data.

Since that time, a variety of workshops and web projects have moved forward the broad education of geoscientists regarding learning science and have promoted discussion and further development of the research agenda. This presentation will overview the research agenda and the work under way in research, dissemination and capacity building.

Dr. Cathryn A. Manduca is director of the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College. This center is engaged in several projects that support effective science education nation-wide with a special focus on undergraduate earth-science education. Projects include development of a web-site supporting faculty teaching entry level geoscience, professional development workshops and on-line resources for geoscience faculty, and a set of websites demonstrating how the Digital Library for Earth System Science can support faculty in addressing issues in teaching (e.g., Teaching Quantitative Skills). Dr. Manduca served as coordinator for the Keck Geology Consortium undergraduate research program from 1994-2000. She is chair of the American Geophysical Union Committee on Education and Human Resources, and past-president of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. She has co-authored several reports mobilizing action in the geoscience and digital library communities: Bringing Research on Learning to the Geosciences; Using Data in Undergraduate Science Courses; Shaping the Future of Undergraduate Earth Science Education; The Digital Library for Earth System Education--A Community Plan; and Pathways To Progress--Vision and Plans for the National STEM Education Digital Library.