Concept Map Assessment Reveals Short-Term Community-Engaged Fieldwork Enhances Sustainability Knowledge

September 14, 2020

In Fall 2016, Dr. Emily Weigel's Ecology Laboratory began work at Proctor Creek. Since that time, students have been working alongside professionals and community members to collect data on the health of the creek and learn how human-environment interactions shape communities. Eager to show the positive effects on students to others outside of the course, Weigel consulted with SLS for assessment techniques that might capture student growth. They decided to have students complete both traditional, written reflections and concept maps. With the help of funding from SLS, Weigel recruited one of her more senior graduate TAs to help analyze the data and complete the manuscript, which shows that students' sustainability knowledge increases in "breadth, depth, and complexity" with short-term service learning experiences.  In a recent article published by The American Society for Cell Biology, Dr. Weigel discusses the project and the assessment methodology and results.