Thanks to the efforts of Kari O’Connell, the Andrews Forest has played a leadership role in establishing the Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network (UFERN). This network brings together educators and researchers from LTER sites, field stations and marine laboratories, and beyond who are committed to providing effective field experiences for undergraduates. Since its inception in 2018, UFERN has been building a community of practice focused on identifying and sharing evidence-based models for engaging undergraduates in field experiences, developing effective assessment tools, investigating ways field programs can be more inclusive and conducting original research on student learning. UFERN hosts a range of workshops, webinars, and discussion groups designed to build community and provide resources for enhancing inclusive undergraduate field experiences. Members of the network also develop articles on research findings and best practices in field education. A recent article in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America summarizes successful strategies across field stations and marine laboratories for building inclusive communities. The article makes a persuasive case that to truly attain diversity, equity, inclusion and access goals field stations must make significant adaptations of programs and cultures; the article also highlights concrete and attainable measures that can have an impact in the short term.
See the full paper: Flowers, Susan K.; O'Connell, Kari; McDermott, Victoria M. 2021. Crafting Field Station and Marine Lab Communities for Undergraduate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 6p. doi: 10.1002/bes2.1908