Building a Virtual Geospatial Program at a Community College to meet Workforce Needs

Authors: Jonathon Little*, Monroe Community College, Heather Pierce, Monroe Community College, Wayne Howard, Monroe Community College, Catherine DuBreck, Monroe Community College
Topics: Higher Education, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Geography Education
Keywords: geospatial, workforce, community college, online, librarians, alumni, Capstone
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 52
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Monroe Community College (State University of New York) is building a Virtual Geospatial Information Science Technology (GIST) program to meet workforce needs in New York State with the development of: (1) a 60-credit online Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree, and (2) a GIST micro-credential for GIST professionals. With support from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program, and guidance from the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence and the 2019 New York State survey of GIS industry/professionals three new courses are being developed: Data Acquisition and Management, Web Mapping, and Introduction to Geospatial Programming. The program will be one of the first in the nation to offer a completely online micro-credential, GIST Certificate, and A.A.S. degree. Alumni mentors and advanced GIST students will provide enhanced online support for GIST students who need support outside of instructor office hours. Additional support for students in introductory GIS courses is available from college and public librarians, who have been trained to help students access course materials and software, and to assist with finding data for projects. Offering support early in the semester, when many students feel “lost”, is crucial for retention, and offering research assistance helps students finish strong. Students will be recruited into the program through: summer camp, dual credit, and targeted recruitment of introductory GIST students. The program also offers an innovative approach to internships as a part of the Capstone course, a model for other community colleges.

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