Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Geology (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Advisor 1

John S. Gierke

Committee Member 1

Kedmon Hungwe

Committee Member 2

Jacqueline E. Huntoon

Committee Member 3

Steve R. Mattox


The focus of this study was to develop and evaluate a geoscience professional development model that would improve K-12 teachers’ capacity to effectively build geoscience literacy and interests in students from a variety of settings and cultural groups. The research compared the application of a geoscience professional development model realized through multiple case studies of varying settings and scales. The study investigated the capacity of each approach in improving teachers’ geoscience background knowledge, awareness of local geologically and culturally significant examples, and ability to integrate place-based, field investigations into standards-based curricula. By using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, the study not only measured the successfulness of each approach but also identified the underlying reasons for specific outcomes. Cross-case study comparisons were made to identify emergent patterns utilized to improve the geoscience teacher professional development model. The outcome is a refined professional development model that can be universally applied to a diverse range of K-12 school communities. The ultimate aim of this work is to improve geoscience literacy, to develop a society with greater capacity to make informed decisions and to sustainably manage natural resources in the 21st century.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

dissertation-gochis - supplemental materials.pdf (4742 kB)
Supplemental Materials