SENCER

SENCER Information SENCER Facilitators and Practitioners Registration Information
Plenary speakers and symposium facilitators (confirmed):

SENCER Practitioners (confirmed):

Check back for additional presenters and workshop highlights!

 

 

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What is SENCER?

SENCER is a curricular best practice aimed to improve science education by focusing on real world problems and, by so doing, extends the impact of this learning across the curriculum to the broader community and society. SENCER methodology connects STEM content to critical local, national, and global challenges, making science more real, accessible, "useful" and civically important. SENCER is an NSF supported initiative. See: http://www.sencer.net

What are the goals of the SENCER symposium?

Participants will explore how they can connect classroom activities and community involvement that promote:
  • Improved science learning while supporting student engagement in complex community issues, questions, problems and global solutions;
  • Student engagement in challenging and rigorous scientific reasoning, inquiry, observation and measurement;
  • Connections between scientific knowledge and public decision-making, policy development, and the effective global citizenship; and
  • Learning across the curriculum and across levels of education to the broader community and global society.

Who should attend?


This symposium is designed for individuals, or academic teams of two or more representing::
  • College and university faculty
  • College and university articulation partners
  • Concurrent enrollment teachers and mentors
  • Teacher educators and teacher education students
  • Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education partners and consortia members
  • Alternative High School and Charter School teachers and administrators
  • Curriculum specialists, deans of instruction
  • K-12 and higher education administrators
  • Community Based Organizations and other education partners

Key Outcomes

  • Participants will explore how they can connect classroom activities and community involvement that promote:
  • Improved science learning while supporting student engagement in complex community issues, questions, problems and global solutions;
  • Student engagement in challenging and rigorous scientific reasoning, inquiry, observation and measurement;
  • Connections between scientific knowledge and public decision-making, policy development, and the effective global citizenship; and
  • Learning across the curriculum and across levels of education to the broader community and global society.

Key Themes

  • Active learning
  • Civic engagement and service learning
  • Global issues and problem solving
  • Interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches to SENCER (science, social studies, humanities, liberal arts, career and technical education)
  • Learner outcome assessment
  • Articulation

Symposium Highlights

Program Outline:

  • Morning plenary sessions with nationally recognized, experienced SENCER practitioners, Dr. Devanas and Dr. Koupelis, introducing the participants to the SENCER models of curriculum and active learning.
  • Closing day panel discussion with Dr. Devanas, Dr. Koupelis, Dr. Zobitz, and Dr. Dunning for extended discussion and response to audience questions.
  • Hands-on workshops with experienced SENCER practitioners offer participants opportunities to interact and partner with colleagues to improve STEM education within their institutions and communities.
  • Curriculum development work sessions allowing individuals or participating teams of two or more to apply SENCER principles to their educational goals and/or setting.
  • "Poster Walk of Ideas" Dr. Devanas and Dr. Koupelis will lead participants in a discussion around SENCER related ideas, resulting in shared learning, idea generation, and a gallery of ideas for application after the symposium.

National SENCER Practitioners and Facilitators

Theo Koupelis, Ph.D. is associate dean of Math and Sciences at Edison State College (Fort Myers, Fla.). He was previously a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon. He has published research on the theoretical modeling of outflows from compact astrophysical objects and he is the author of the introductory astronomy textbook In Quest of the Universe. He is active in science education at many levels; while in Wisconsin, he served as the science adviser for the Birch Trails Girl Scouts (including 10,000 scouts in 10 counties), as organizer of the Science Alliance (which involved his school and area K-12 schools), and as an officer (and twice President) of the Wisconsin Association of Physics Teachers. He has been involved in the work of a number of committees of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and is a board member of the Midwest Institute for International and Intercultural Education. He has created, supported through grants, and taught a number of interdisciplinary courses. He also gives workshops on service learning and civic engagement (especially as it relates to the sciences) at the national AAPT meetings. He has been actively involved in the work of the SENCER project since its inception.


Monica A. Devanas, Ph.D., is Director, Faculty Development & Assessment Programs for the Center for Teaching Advancement & Assessment Research at Rutgers University. Dr. Devanas has been teaching microbiology for over twenty years. She is active in issues of science education programs for retention of women in science, and in NSF-funded grants to enhance science education both at Rutgers and in pre-college populations. Her course Biology, Society, and Biomedical Issues: HIV/AIDS, first taught in 1992, has been recognized as a model course by SENCER. Dr. Devanas leads workshops on teaching portfolios, curriculum design, learning styles, active and cooperative learning, and instructional technology. Monica offers workshops for faculty and administrators on assessment and assists deans in accreditation reviews and their own reviews by faculty. She consults with Peter Seldin in his "Teaching Portfolio Workshops," contributing chapters to books on teaching portfolios, administrative portfolios, and strategies to improve teaching.

Minnesota SENCER Practitioners

Dr. Rick Dunning is an instructor of geology and physical geography at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. He has a career-long interest in the dynamics and consequences of environmental change reflected in both research and teaching interests. That interest in environmental change lead him to seek broader scientific perspectives and ultimately to SENCER beginning with the 2011 SSI in Indianapolis. In 2012 he was selected as a SENCER Leadership Fellow and began a project he called Scientific Communication and Engagement in Civic Discourse. Last year, he undertook a sabbatical project on the Mississippi River in which he tried to develop student activities about the river and river-related issues as a way to help students better engage in the class and better engage in key local environmental issues. Over the previous decade he developed and taught a new course in the NCC curriculum on Environmental Geology as a way for students to learn the science of geology in relation to key environmental issues. Over the past 4 years he was the PI for an S-STEM scholarship program and that work has put him in contact with students and faculty from a wider range of scientific disciplines and a wider range of academic concerns.


Dr. John Zobitz, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minnesota has a passion to understand his surroundings through numbers, which motivates his study of mathematics. As a professor he is committed to engage and nurture that same passion in his students. Dr. Zobitz uses mathematical modeling, specifically mathematical biology (the application of mathematics to solve biological problems) in teaching and research. Dr. Zobitz will be participating as a Fellow in "Engaging Mathematics," a NSF TUES funded project led by Wm. David Burns of SENCER (NSF ID: 1322883). The Engaging Mathematics project will develop curricula that connects learning in mathematics courses to real and relevant local, regional, national and global issues and thus greatly improve students’ retention of the specific mathematics concepts and skills, along with their understanding of the role of mathematical modeling and quantitative literacy in everyday life. Dr. Zobitz will work in partnership with colleagues at two and four year colleges and universities locally and nationally to develop learning experiences across the mathematics curriculum.

Bonus Features

Poster Walk: Join Dr. Devanas and Dr. Koupelis to create a gallery of ideas for SENCER application and implementation.

Engage! Open Dialog: Participants will have an opportunity for an exchange of dialog and Q & A with SENCER practitioners who will respond to questions directly from the audience.

Lunch and Launch: Pick up a lunch and join Dr. Koupelis and Dr. Davanas for an informal conversation at the close of the symposium – a great way to launch your next steps!

Registration

Registration Fee: $89 Registration includes all conference materials, meals (Monday: breakfast, lunch, dinner; Tuesday: breakfast and "To-Go" lunch; breaks) Registration includes ticket to Summerset Theatre's production of Fiddler On The Roof on Monday evening.

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Certificate of Attendance

A certificate of attendance will be made available at the close of the conference. Teachers should work through their local continuing education committee for guidance about how this symposium will meet their requirements for professional development activities.

Overnight Accommodations

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn, Austin, Minnesota under the conference code word SEN.

Contact Information

Annette Huffman
Riverland Training & Development Administrative Assistant
507-433-0612

Symposium Hosts

Riverland Community College in partnerships with: