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Scientific Progress and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
News - Latest
Monday, 19 May 2014 14:37

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On April 7, the Board of Directors for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) adopted a statement urging the United States to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Convention is explicit in connecting science and technology with the rights of persons with disabilities, including calling on countries to support research and development (R&D) on adaptive goods and services as well as new assistive technologies. NCSCE is an invited member of the Human Rights Coalition. You can read the statement here.

 

Last January's Human Rights Coalition meeting had as its theme: "Disability Rights and Accessing the Benefits of Scientific Progress and Its Applications." One of the many engaging speakers we heard was Marco Midon, acting NASA Stations Manager for the Near Earth Network Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Mr. Midon is an engineer who, along with his twin brother, became blind shortly after being born. Speaking via a telephone hookup to his office, Midon told the folks gathered at the meeting in Washington that, up until a certain point, advances in technology seemed to have contributed to an opening up of his world. That encouraging trend ended, rather abruptly, however, for Marco and his work with the introduction and rapid widespread use of the Smart phone touch screen and its successors and progeny. The touch screen offered a smooth surface. In doing so, it failed to offer places you could find if you were without

 
SENCERized Genetics Courses Prove Not Only Genes Get Inherited
News - Latest
Monday, 19 May 2014 14:36

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After Terry R. McGuire, an associate professor of genetics at Rutgers University, attended the 2002 SENCER Summer Institute, he was motivated to develop genetics major courses that crossbred instruction with civic issues. With plans of retiring at the end of the spring semester, McGuire has since passed his courses on to fellow faculty.

 

Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences Senior Writer John Chadwick recently sat in on a Genetic Analysis course, designed by McGuire and taught by Mary Konsolaki, and wrote about the experience.

In his feature, Chadwick mentions aspects of the course he found particularly engaging, such as references to contemporary issues, multiple choice clicker questions, segments of course time devoted to collective problem solving, the course's flipped classroom style, and the fact that the final exam would be a take-home test.

The core concepts of Genetic Analysis remain consistent with McGuire's original design, and his view that "life is an open book test." As a way of promoting his classes' longevity, McGuire helped Konsolaki, as well as Michael Verzi and Karen Schindler, two other Rutgers faculty members teaching the courses he developed, obtain a grant to attend active learning training seminars.

It's fitting that, like advantageous traits, McGuire's genetics courses have been inherited by a new generation of faculty willing to continue McGuire's tradition of education reform that emphasizes student engagement. For more information on McGuire's experience designing SENCERized genetics courses, read his backgrounder, entitled Reinventing Myself as a Professor: The Catalytic Role of SENCER.

 
SCI-South Workshops at Auburn University Highlight Assessment Techniques, Administrative Challenges, and Applying SENCER Methods to Food Issues
News - Latest
Monday, 19 May 2014 14:35

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During the recent Research Week at Auburn University, the SENCER Center of Innovation (SCI) - South held morning and afternoon sessions on Thursday, April 17, 2014. In keeping with the week's themes of "preparing students at all levels to become thoughtful, creative, and productive leaders," presenters shared results of applications that effectively improve student learning and facilitate the development of a scientifically literate citizenry. Please click on the links provided below to explore presentation content.

 

The morning session, entitled "Food in the Context of SENCER" featured discussions led by invited faculty from three institutions on the integration of food issues into courses:
"The Impact of Integrated Student Experiences on Learning through the Food For Thought Cluster of Courses," by Amy Lanou and Karin Petersen, UNC Asheville
"Why Do You Eat and Why Do You Eat What You Eat? A SENCER-Based Foods Course from Biological and Psychological Perspectives," by Phil Villani and Tara Lineweaver, Butler University
"You Are What You Eat!," by Autumn Marshall, Lipscomb University
The afternoon session, entitled "SENCERed: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning," featured invited presentations by three SENCER veterans:
"The STEM Department Evaluation Rubric: A Tool for Developing a Shared Vision for Improving Undergraduate STEM Education," by Ellen Goldey, Wofford College
"SENCER from an Administrator's Perspective," by Theo Koupelis, Edison State College
"The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning," by Matt Fisher, St. Vincent's College
We thank our hosts at Auburn, especially Dr. Bob Holm, SENCER Leadership Fellow and assistant director of education in Auburn University's Office of Sponsored Programs, for their exceptional hospitality, and their support for the work of SCI-South, SENCER and the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. There was an unanticipated disruption to Research Week as a serious security situation developed and was thankfully resolved. All Auburn staff contributed to making sure the events continued in a safe environment where attendees could continue to learn from each other.

 
NCSCE Welcomes Formal and Informal Educators to SSI 2014
News - Latest
Monday, 19 May 2014 14:33

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Following a competitive application process, 34 teams and nine individual representatives have been invited to gather in Asheville, North Carolina for the 2014 SENCER Summer Institute. We welcome 17 new institutions to our community with this latest cohort. Fifty-six percent of the attendees will be "new" to National Center initiatives, while a strong group of alumni will return to share results of their implementations and lessons learned, as well as to advance their work.

 

SSI 2014 participants express diverse interests in course and program applications, as well as a strong interest in formal and informal education collaborations. Civic issues at the focus of participants' future planning include cyber security, local water quality, cancer research, invasive species, and more. A few examples highlight the imagination and diverse interests of our SSI 2014 participants:
Butler University has initiated a multidisciplinary, community based partnership with a nursing home using music to aid dementia patients.
Dr. Keith Miller of the University of Denver will launch a collaboration with a local library and involve students in course and activity design regarding physical and earth sciences.
Eastern Maine Community College students will help to design a storm water plan for the campus and provide the community partner, the city of Bangor, with useful data on the streams studied.
Dr. Kelsey Bitting of the University of Kansas plans to apply SENCER to DNA to Dinosaurs, an introductory-level geology class for non-majors.
At Northern Virginia Community College, the concepts of food chemistry, metabolism, enzymes, photosynthesis, genetics and evolution will be incorporated into a course to encourage students to dissect the scientific components of food.
Staying on a food-related topic, the University of Southern Maine team will use "the chicken" as entry point for an exploration of production of meat and eggs, providing a window into the dramatic changes in the food industry and in kitchen literacy over the past century.
Please click here to learn more about the interests, plans, and goals of the SSI 2014 invited participants.

Future issues of the eNews will include profiles of participants representing the SENCER-ISE, Engaging Mathematics, and other NCSCE initiatives and partnerships.

 
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