Dr Alison Stokes
Associate Professor in Earth and Environmental Sciences
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
My current role is Associate Head of School - Education and Student Experience.
2011: PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Plymouth
2000: PhD Geological Sciences, University of Plymouth : “Mineral growth and fluid migration in mid-crustal shear zones”
1996: BSc (Hons) Geological Sciences, University of Plymouth (1st class)
2022 - current: Associate Professor in Earth and Environmental Science Education
2013 - 2022: Lecturer in Earth and Environmental Science Education, University of Plymouth
2012 - 2013: Associate Lecturer, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, University of Plymouth
2011 - 2012: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford
2011 - 2011: Project Officer, HEA-GEES Subject Centre, University of Plymouth
2005 - 2010: Research Coordinator, Experiential Learning CETL, University of Plymouth
2002 - 2005: Operational Crime and Intelligence Analyst, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary
2000 - 2002: Recruitment Strategy Manager (Education), Devon County Council
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Roles on external bodies
- Member of the Advisory Group for the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Earth Science, Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies (2021-2022)
- Diversity in Geoscience UK (DiG-UK): Co-lead (2018-present)
- Committee of Heads of Environmental Science (CHES): Vice Chair of Executive Committe (2020-present)
- Committee of Heads of Environmental Science (CHES): Member of Executive Committe (2017-2020)
- Geological Society of London Higher Education Network: Committee Secretary (2015-2019)
- International Association for Geoscience Diversity: Executive Counsellor (2014-2016)
- International Association for Geoscience Diversity: DiG-UK Liaison (2018-present)
- Journal of Geoscience Education: Editor for Research (2014-2020)
- Journal of Geoscience Education: Associate Editor (2009-2014)
- ENVS1009: Sustainability Science (module leader)
- ENVS1010: Global Environmental Challenges
- ENVS2001: Environmental FIeld and Research Skills
- ENVM2001: Environmental Data Management
- ENVS2002: Environmental Expedition
- ENVM2002: Environmental Management and Sustainability in Practice
- ENVS2004: Environmental Issues and Communication
- ENVS3001/3003: Research Project
- ENVM3001: Systems Thinking and Change Leadership in Sustainability
- ENVM3002: Systems Thinking in Sustainability: Independent Investigation (module leader)
I am a Discipline-Based Education Researcher with specific expertise in experiential learning and inclusive field-based practices, and research interests in the following areas:
- Accessible and inclusive STEM education
- Experiential learning in Earth and environmental sciences
- Thinking and learning in the geosciences (geocognition)
- Fieldwork pedagogy, specifically participant experiences of fieldwork
- Science communication and public engagement
- Communicating flood risk
- Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge
My current research focuses on the following issues:
- Barriers to access and inclusion in science-based disciplines: I am interested specifically in understanding barriers to participating in residential undergraduate fieldwork, and using the findings to further innovate in the design and development of accessible and inclusive field courses.
- Social processes in experiential learning environments: I am applying my expertise in qualitative inquiry to investigate the impacts of residential fieldwork on teacher-student relationships, and the potential impacts for developing experiential learning in more diverse contexts.
Grants & contracts
- 2017: HEFCE Catalyst Fund: Embedding and sustaining inclusive STEM practices (co-applicant, Plymouth University Project Lead): £480,050
- 2017: Pedagogic research and Teaching Innovation Fund (PRTI) (co-applicant with Dr Charlotte Braungardt): £6,974
- 2017: Pedagogic research and Teaching Innovation Fund (PRTI) (co-applicant with Dr Anne Plessis and Dr Mark Farnworth): £2,030
- 2014: Plymouth University Teaching Fellowship Award Scheme (PUTFAS): £9,441
- 2014: Centre for Sustainable Development Small Grants Award (co-applicant with Dr Paul Lunt): £1,000
- 2014: US National Science Foundation:Enhancing Accessibility in the Geoscience: A Field-Based Workshop for Accommodating Students with Disabilities (co applicant / External Evaluator): $68,729
Tooms, S., Stokes, A. & Turner, A. (2023) Lead in painted surfaces and dusts from rented urban properties (Plymouth, UK). Environmental Pollution, 316, 120503-120503, DOI:10.1016/j.envpol.2022.120503.
Houghton, J.J., Morgan, D.J., Gordon, C.E., Stokes, A., Atchison, C.L., Collins, T.D., Craven, B. & Willis, K. (2020) Access Anglesey 2018: Lessons from an inclusive field course. Advances in Geosciences, 53, 183-194. DOI: 10.5194/adgeo-53-183-2020.
Stokes, A., Feig, A.D., Atchison, C.L. & Gilley, B. (2019) Making geoscience fieldwork inclusive and accessible for students with disabilities. Geosphere, 15 (6), 1809-1825. DOI:10.1130/GES02006.1.
Feig, A.D., Atchison, C.L., Stokes, A. & Gilley, B. (2019) Achieving inclusive field-based education: results and recommendations from an accessible geoscience field trip. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 19 (2), 66-87. DOI: 10.14434/josotl.v19i1.23455.
Stokes, A. & Harmer, N. (2018) The value of 'having a go': trialling a project-based learning activity to inform curriculum design. Journal of Geoscience Education, 66 (4), 278-292. DOI: 10.1080/10899995.2018.1509599
Gibson, H., Stewart, I., Pahl, S. & Stokes, A. (2016) A 'mental models' approach to the communication of subsurface hydrology and hazards. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. DOI: 10.5194/hess-2015-542
Harmer, N. & Stokes, A. (2016) “Choice may not necessarily be a good thing”: Student attitudes to autonomy in interdisciplinary project-based learning in GEES disciplines. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 40 (4), 531-545. DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2016.1174817
Gilley, B., Atchison, C., Feig, A & Stokes, A. (2015) Impact of inclusive field trips. Nature Geoscience, 8 (8), 579-580. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2500
Stokes, A., Roberts, C., Crowley, K. & McEwen, L. (2015) Methods of knowledge exchange and learning focused on local authorities' experiences of flood science communication. International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 5 (2), 114-138. DOI: 10.1080/21548455.2013.855835
Stokes, A. & Atchison, C. (2015) Getting out more. Geoscientist, 25 (4), 16-19.
Petcovic, H.L., Stokes, A. & Caulkins, J.L. (2014) Geoscientists' perceptions of the value of undergraduate field education. GSA Today, 24 (7), 4-10. DOI:10.1130/GSATG1936.A.1.
McEwen, L., Stokes, A., Crowley, K. & Roberts, C. (2014) Role-play as pedagogy for expert science communication with professional stakeholders in flood risk management. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 38 (2), 277-300. DOI:10.1080.03098265.2014.911827
Stokes, A., Collins, T., Maskall, J., Lea, J., Lunt, P. & Davies, S. (2012) Enabling remote access to fieldwork: gaining insight into the pedagogic effectiveness of ‘direct’ and ‘remote’ field activities. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 36(2), 197-222. DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2011.619004
Kneale, P., Sanders, M & Stokes, A. (2012) Making fieldwork resources accessible to all. Teaching Earth Sciences, 37 (1), 20-22.
Stokes, A., Magnier, K. & Weaver, R. (2011) What's the use of fieldwork? Conceptions of students and staff in geography and geology. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 35 (1), 121-141, DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2010.487203.
Libarkin, J. & Stokes, A. (2011) The moon has no gravity: Examples of idea mixing in explanations of physical processes. Planet, 24, 50-54.
Cotton, D.R.E., Stokes, A. & Cotton, P.A. (2010) Using observational methods to research the student experience. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 34 (3), 463-473, DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2010.501541.
Stokes, A., King, H. & Libarkin, J. (2007) Research in science education: threshold concepts. Journal of Geoscience Education, v55 (5), 434-438.
Maskall, J., Stokes, A., Truscott, J.B., Bridge, A., Magnier, K. & Calderbank, V. (2007) Supporting fieldwork using information technology. Planet, v18, GEES Subject Centre, 18-21.
Stokes, A. (2006) Quantification as a troublesome concept in the GEES disciplines. Planet Special Edition 17, GEES Subject Centre, 18-20 (http://www.gees.ac.uk/pubs/planet/index.htm#P17 ).
Stokes, A. & Feig, A.D. (2012) Considering qualitative inquiry, sociocultural theories, and complexity in the study of field-based learning. In Kastens, K.A., and Manduca, C.A. (eds) Earth and Mind II: A Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences. Geological Society of America Special Paper 486, 177-179. DOI:10.1130/2012.2486(29).
Stokes, A. & Boyle, A.P. (2009) The undergraduate geoscience fieldwork experience: influencing factors and implications for learning. In Whitmeyer, S.J., Mogk, D.W. & Pyle, E.J. (eds) Field Geology Education: Historical Perspectives and Modern Approaches. Geological Society of America Special Paper 461, 291-311, DOI:10.1130/2009.2461(23).
Boyle, A.P., Ryan, P. & Stokes, A. (2009) External drivers for changing fieldwork practices and provision in the UK and Ireland. In Whitmeyer, S.J., Mogk, D.W. & Pyle, E.J. (eds) Field Geology Education: Historical Perspectives and Modern Approaches. Geological Society of America Special Paper 461, 313-321, DOI: 10.1130/2009.2461(24).
Feig, A.D. & Stokes, A. (Eds) (2011) Qualitative Inquiry in Geoscience Education Research. Geological Society of America Special Paper 474, 211p.
Maskall, J. & Stokes, A. (2008) Designing Effective Fieldwork for the Environmental and Natural Sciences. GEES Subject Centre Teaching and Learning Guide. 77p. ISBN: 978-1-84102-201-7. (http://www.gees.ac.uk/pubs/guides/eesguides.htm#GEESfwGuide)
Harmer, N. & Stokes, A. (2014) The benefits and challenges of project-based learning: A review of the literature. PedRIO paper 6, Plymouth University. 37p. ISSN 2052-5818. (https://www1.plymouth.ac.uk/research/pedrio/Documents/PedRIO%20Paper%206.pdf)
Reports & invited lectures
Stokes, A. (2022) "Knowing that there's going to be uncertainty is a certainty in itself": Working towards inclusive and accessible geoscience field education. Imperial College, 3rd March 2022.
Stokes, A. (2019) "Knowing that there's going to be uncertainty is a certainty in itself": Working towards inclusive and accessible geoscience field education. Cardiff University, 21st March 2019.
Stokes, A. (2019) "Knowing that there's going to be uncertainty is a certainty in itself": Working towards inclusive and accessible geoscience field education. Undergraduate Field Education Research Network (UFERN) webinar, 13th March 2019.
Stokes, A. & Gibson, K. (2010) The A-level student experience of residential fieldwork: Slapton Ley, 2008. Report to the Field Studies Centre, Slapton Ley, 42p.
Boyle, A.P. & Stokes, A. (2010) The student fieldwork experience: Influencing factors and implications for learning. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, 4th May 2010.
Stokes, A. (2009) The joys of mapping: researching the UK fieldwork experience. Department of Geology, Central Michigan University, 4th November 2009.
Stokes, A. (2009) Researching field cognition: a UK perspective. Department of Geoscience, Michigan State University, 29th October 2009.
Stokes, A. (2009) Researching undergraduate fieldwork: a UK perspective. Department of Geosciences Colloquium, University of Calgary, 15th October 2009.
Stokes, A., King, H. & Libarkin, J. (2008) Threshold concepts: un-stuffing the geoscience curriculum. Geological Society of America (GSA), Houston, USA.
Stokes, A. (2007) What on EARTH do your students think they're doing? A UK perspective on geoscience education research. CRCSTL (Centre for Research into College Science Teaching and Learning) Research Seminar, Michigan State University, 8th November 2007.
'The Way to Work': Graduate Employability in the Geociences. Geological Society of London Higher Education Network Annual Meeting, Plymouth University, January 2018.
Geological Society Higher Education network (HEN) Annual Meeting and E-gaming workshop. Plymouth University, January 2015.
Plate Tectonics and Geohazards: A/AS-level conference. Plymouth University, March 2014.
Plate Tectonics and Geohazards: A/AS-level conference. Plymouth University, November 2013.
‘Talking About Flooding: challenges and opportunities for Local Authorities and flood scientists’ . University of Oxford, 14th March 2012.
Open Fieldwork Expert Seminar. University of Chester, May 2011.
Other academic activities
Conference sessions organised / chaired
- Geoscience Field Education: The Implications of Research and Practice for Workforce Development. Geological Society of America (GSA), Vancouver, Canada (2014)
- GEES 11: Teaching and learning for GEES students. GEES Subject Centre, Birmingham, UK (2011)
- Geoscience Education II. Geological Society of America (GSA), Portland, USA (2009)
- Geocognition: Researching student learning in the geosciences. Geological Society of America (GSA), Houston, USA (2008)
Contributions to peer review
- Journal of Geoscience Education
- Journal of Geography in Higher Education
- Geological Society of America Special Publications
- Planet (GEES Subject Centre publication)
- GSA Today
- National Science Foundation (NSF) Education Research Grants
- GEES Learning and Teaching Development Fund awards
- National Geographic Society Education Grants
- Czech Science Foundation Grants