New Publication!

Community College Students in the Field: A review of a Community Conversation on Successful Programs and Strategies

by: Amanda N. Robin, Alicia A. Farmer, Kari O’Connell, Alison K. Varty, James A. Hewlett, Jimmy W. Lee

We wanted to share this recently published article from UFERN’s Community Conversation, Community Colleges in the Field: Successful Programs and Strategies. This virtual meeting featured panelists who are engaging community college students in undergraduate field work. Please follow the link to read the article. Congratulations to the authors for their work!

Robin, A. N., A. A. Farmer, K. O’Connell, A. K. Varty, J. A. Hewlett, and J. W. Lee. (2022). Community college students in the field: A review of a community conversation on successful programs and strategies. Bulletin Ecological Society of America 103(3): e01999.

Click to read full article>>

2022 UFERN Network Meeting

The 2022 Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network (UFERN) Annual Network meeting took place virtually on January 27th and 28th. 105 people attended at least one of the sessions. Session topics included the future of UFERN, transformative justice in field research, accessibility in undergraduate field experiences, and workshops related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) in undergraduate field experiences. 

If you would like to get involved in UFERN please sign up for our listserv and see the opportunities below:

  1. Community College Interest Group – This interest group is for people who are interested in meeting occasionally to share resources, discuss research ideas, and work on collaborative products related to engaging community college students in undergraduate field education. Please email Alicia Farmer at if you’d like to join the discussion.  
  2. Field-Based Mentoring Interest Group – This interest group is for people who are interested in meeting occasionally to share resources, discuss research ideas, and work on collaborative products related to mentoring undergraduates in field situations. If you want to be involved in any capacity, please sign up here.
  3. Research Interest Group – This interest group is for people who are interested in meeting occasionally to share resources and latest research results, discuss research ideas and work on collaborative products related to conducting research about undergraduate field education. If we get enough people we can think about splitting into subsections based on research topic and discuss how we might overlap or not with the other interest groups. If you want to be involved in any capacity, please sign up here.
  4. UFERN Slack Workspace – UFERN has a Slack workspace! Within the workspace you can also join the new “research-interest-group” slack channel. The slack workspace and channel will be a place to share resources, ask a question to the network, or reach out to potential collaborators. No expectations on regular dialogue. Join the UFERN Slack space here.
  5. UFERN Organizing Committee – Join the UFERN organizing committee if you are excited to be a part of and support continued interdisciplinary discussions and collaborations related to UFERN topics. Since we are not sure when we will next be able to offer a network meeting, we would like to hold periodic UFERN “meet-ups” over the next year to continue to nurture and grow our community. The purpose of these meet-ups will be to continue the interdisciplinary conversations, collaborations, and proposals that are at the heart of UFERN. Depending on interest, we envision that these meet-ups will be a monthly or occasional event held via Zoom and/or partnering with other organizations or professional societies on topics of shared interest. Our idea is for this committee to be a very doable level of commitment to accommodate busy schedules; we are envisioning that each member or two members as a small team will be responsible for leadership of one of these meet-ups. The exact structure of the committee and meet ups will be decided during our first meeting in March. If you want to be involved, please sign up by March 9th, 2022.
  6. Resources shared at the UFERN Network Meeting – Many valuable resources were shared at the UFERN Network Meeting. We pulled resources shared on the Whova meeting platform, including some of the presentations, articles shared by meeting participants, and other resources suggested at the meeting, and made them available on the Resources page.

Special thanks go out to all the UFERN members who helped make the meeting a big success, especially the volunteer organizing committee: Alec Aitken, Alyssa Abbey, Amanda Robin, Carol Colaninno, Debbie Lichti, Mallory Rice, Meghan Cook, and Sammy Nyarko! 

Using the UFERN Model for Studying Undergraduate Field Experiences

Date: November 19, 2021 at 9 AM PST (12 PM EST)

Integrating research on undergraduate field experiences (UFEs) and general STEM education and the expertise of the UFERN community, the UFERN Model describes the impact of intended student outcomesstudent context factors (e.g., identity, motivation) and program design factors (e.g., setting, social interactions) on UFE student outcomes. The UFERN Model is relevant for a diversity of UFE formats (e.g., short field labs to months-long research experiences) and disciplines and the diverse students potentially engaged in them, and thus it supports the field science community to consider a range of ways students can engage with “the field.”  During this community conversation, we will give a short overview presentation of the UFERN Model, and facilitate an open discussion about how the UFERN Model can be used for research.  All are welcome to join the conversation, however, we will especially tailor our presentation and discussion to social scientists.   We encourage you to read the pre-print of the article that recently got accepted in Bioscience.

Register for this talk>>

Community College Students in the Field: Successful Programs and Strategies

Date: October 15, 2021 12 PM PST (3 PM EST)

An estimated 4.5 million students — around 40% of U.S. undergraduates — attend community colleges. Yet degree completion and transfer rates for community college students are low, especially in STEM fields. Given the broad and well-established benefits of field experiences, how might they be more widely deployed for community college students? This conversation will feature instructors who have created successful opportunities for community college students to learn in field environments, often with a research component. Find out what has worked, what has been challenging, and what can be incorporated in your class, program or institution.

New UFERN Publications!

We wanted to share two articles that came out of our 2021 UFERN Network meeting. Please see the link below to read the full articles. Congratulations to the authors for their work!

Affective Learning Outcomes in the Field: A Review of the 2021 Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network Meeting

by: Emily Geraphty Ward, Kari Bisbee O’Connell, Alexandra Race, Ahinya Alwin, Ajisha Alwin, Karina Cortijo-Robles, David Esparza, Alison Jolley, Andrew McDevitt, Manisha Patel, Luanna B. Prevost, Stephanie Shaulskiy, Xoco Anna Shinbro, Kira Treibergs, Michael Alvaro, and William Sea

Click to read full article>>

Crafting Field Station and Marine Lab Communities for Undergraduate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

by: Susan K. Flowers, Kari O’Connell, and Victoria M. McDermott

Click to read full article>>

Navigating the return to in-person Undergraduate Field Experiences and COVID concerns and policies

August 16th at 10 AM PST

Worried about how you’re going to run a successful field class with all the COVID-19 restrictions and concerns this fall? Join us for a discussion about navigating the return to in-person undergraduate field experiences in the midst of continuing COVID-19 concerns and policy revisions. This conversation will focus on how faculty, instructors, and program coordinators can still achieve learning objectives while adhering to local policies and guidelines. Come equipped with links to your own university’s policies if possible. This is the second UFERN Community Conversation. Ryan Petterson from Stanford University will host the conversation. He will share a brief example from his own experience to get the conversation started. Please bring your own examples and questions to share

Click for more info>>

How to get to know your students: supporting student-centered undergraduate field experiences

August 10th at 10 AM PST

Students’ experiences in undergraduate field experiences, and ultimately, the outcomes they attain, are shaped by who they are, why they participate, what they’ve done before, what they know, what they feel and are able to do, and their individual needs and constraints. Student-centered, responsive pedagogy and inclusive program design require understanding students in all these dimensions. Join us for some examples of how faculty, instructors, and program coordinators are getting to know students and using this information for the design and implementation of student-centered inclusive undergraduate field experiences. This first UFERN Community Conversation will feature three panelists: Fred Abbott from the Ecological Society of America, Andrew McDevitt from the University of Colorado Denver, and Kira Treibergs from Cornell University. They will share brief examples from their own experience. Their short presentations will be followed by a facilitated conversation.

Click here for more info>>

Upcoming Presentations

Hello UFERN Network,

We wanted to share some upcoming UFERN related presentations we think you might be interested in:

SABER Meeting 

Research Experiences – Field Work

How do field experiences in the natural sciences affect undergraduate outcomes? Xoco A Shinbrot, Kira Treibergs, Lina M Arcila-Hernandez, David Esparza, and Kate Ghezzi-Kopel will be giving a talk at the upcoming SABER meeting about the results from a scoping review on this topic. Their talk will take place on Friday, July 30th from 2:30 – 2:50 EDT.

The meeting will also have a whole section of talks on field courses taking place in the same session (that runs from 2:30 – 5pm EDT), click below to see the full schedule.

Click here for full schedule>>

ESA Annual Meeting

Expanding the Field in Fieldwork: Connecting the Practice of Fieldwork with the Human Dimensions of the 4DEE Framework

This organized oral session is being facilitated by UFERN members and will take place on Wednesday, August 4th from 1:30 – 2:30 PM PST.

Inspire 4: Building Belonging in Ecology: Networks as Connectors; Networks as Disruptors

Join this Inspire Session to hear about how belonging in a network inspires research about how students’ sense of belonging impacts science learning in field courses. The talk will be given by Kari O’Connell (STEM Research Center, Oregon State University), Stephanie Shaulskiy (University of Michigan Biological Station), and Alison Jolley (Centre for Tertiary Teaching and Learning, University of Waikato). The recorded talk will be available on the ESA meeting event page and a discussion with all presenters will take place on Monday, August 2 from 2:30 – 3:30 PM PST

Click here for ESA meeting details>>