The BioScience article A Tool for Designing and Studying Student-Centered Undergraduate Field Experiences: The UFERN Model is now available!
Integrating research on UFEs and general STEM education and the expertise of the UFERN community, this article presents the UFERN model and evidence that describes the impact of intended student outcomes, student context factors, and program design factors on UFE student outcomes.
This study, led by Stephanie Shaulskiy, found positive associations between the field station setting and scientific literacy as well as future science plans. In addition, this study found that class learning goal orientation and class belonging in explaining the relationships between the field station setting and scientific literacy as well as future science plans. The results of this study have implications for enhancing field course design, increasing access and inclusion in field education, and for understanding the mechanisms for the benefits of residential field courses.
The author team met through UFERN and this work inspired the Belonging in Field Education project funded through NSF.
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 America103(3): e01999.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join the discussion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The call for posters and call for workshops for the 2022 annual UFERN network meeting are now open. Click the links for more information and to submit your propo! Submission deadline is November 29, 2021 at 5 PM.
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 outcomes, student context factors (e.g., identity, motivation) and programdesign 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.
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.
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 Geraghty 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
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