Engaging Mathematics Presents Invited Poster at Largest Math Meeting in the World

The Engaging Mathematics initiative was invited to the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2015 to participate in a poster session for projects supported by the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education. Initiative partners Dr. Lynn Gieger (Oglethorpe University), Dr. Rikki Wagstrom (Metropolitan State University), and Rikki's math education student Jodin Morey also gave individual talks during the meeting. Continue reading.


SENCER Seeks Help in Launching New Pearls of Practice

SENCER is developing a new line of classroom activities called Pearls of Practice. Each Pearl is designed to engage students in learning by increasing their receptivity to science and social/civic issues. Pearls range in size, with some taking no longer than 15 minutes to complete, and others constituting a semester-long project. Our Pearls developers seek reviewers to class test and peer review, and welcome new submissions. Continue reading for more information on SENCER's Pearls of Practice.


Deadline Extension: International Journal's Special Issue on Civic Engagement and Informal Science Education

Science Education & Civic Engagement: An International Journal's call for manuscript submissions for the special issue on civic engagement and informal science education has been extended to Monday, March 30, 2015. This issue of the journal will focus on work done by informal science educators and institutions and will also highlight contributions made to the field by the late Alan J. Friedman, founding director of SENCER-ISE. Please send all inquiries and manuscript submissions to the journal's managing editor, Marcy Dubroff at Continue reading to access the original call for submissions.


SENCER Leader Named Executive Dean

Congratulations to Dr. Debra Meyer, who was recently appointed Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Dr. Meyer has been a leader in the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement community since the inception of SENCER; most recently coordinating a summit at the University of Pretoria for faculty members, researchers, and other academic leaders interested in infusing civic issues into their STEM courses. Please click here to read the full announcement regarding Dr. Meyer’s appointment from the University of Johannesburg.

SENCER Leadership Fellow Dr. Eugene Allevato of Woodbury University Seeks Input for Study of Attitudes Toward Visually Impaired Students

Dr. Eugene Allevato, a SENCER Leadership Fellow, is working with a visually impaired psychology student in his statistics course at Woodbury University. This student is conducting a project to understand faculty attitudes, experiences, and concerns about educating visually impaired students. Dr. Allevato and his student have created a survey to explore the issue, and would be very appreciative to any faculty member who would take a few minutes to complete it: Visually Impaired Student Survey.


National ‘Digital Bug Box’ Competition Offers $1 Million Prize

The National Science Foundation and the American Institute of Biological Sciences have announced the launch of the Beyond the Box National Digitalization Innovation Competition. Individuals and teams are invited to submit ideas of ways to accurately and efficiently capture digital images of insect specimens by September 4, 2015. The winning entry will receive up to $1 million for the development of a hardware and software system that automates digitalization of pinning insect specimens, without damaging the specimens, one of the most challenging biocollections digitalization tasks. Continue reading.


NSF Awards First of Rapid Response Grants Funding Ebola Research

A study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and published in October by Eurosurveillance determined that a rapid response to Ebola is essential to preventing its spread. In December, the NSF awarded its first of a number of rapid response grants to support fundamental Ebola research. According to the NSF’s award annoucement, “The grants will support researchers seeking to answer important questions about the virus’s fundamental nature, how it interacts with other substances, how it spreads, and how communication and perception affect public safety during an epidemic.” Continue reading.


Save the Date for the 15th Annual SENCER Summer Institute

We are pleased to announce that the 2015 SENCER Summer Institute will be hosted by Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts from July 30 - August 3, 2015. Addressing the challenges educators face in our current climate will the core focus of our program. The rich mix of all-Institute plenary sessions, workshops on effective pedagogies, and examples of successful campus and community applications will provide invited participants with the insights to resolve challenges at their institutions and improve student skill, interest, and confidence in STEM. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet educators from formal and informal education sectors, administrators, students, and others from around the world who share an interest in contributing to a civically engaged society and improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. SSI 2015 plenary speakers will be announced through our websites, social media outlets, and eNews over the next several weeks. Continue reading.


SENCER Leadership Fellow Profile: Dr. Merrilee Anderson Uses Abandoned Mine Drainage as a Teaching Tool for Biology, Chemistry, and Civic Engagement

When drainage from abandoned mines runs off into streams, acidic conditions are created that are toxic to macroinvertebrates, algae, and fish. Dr. Merrilee Anderson, SENCER Leadership Fellow and professor of science and mathematics at Mount Aloysius College, uses streams near her school affected by abandoned mine drainage to engage students in real, local issues while teaching concepts and promoting research in biology, chemistry, and environmental science. Continue reading.


Engaging Mathematics Faculty Member Writes Chapter for New Book Published by MAA

How do you "do" the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)? How do you use it to drive curriculum development? Dr. Rikki Wagstrom, who is an associate professor of mathematics at Metropolitan State University, a SENCER Leadership Fellow, and an institutional partner for NCSCE’s Engaging Mathematics initiative, wrote a chapter for a new book published by the Mathematical Association of America describing how she used SoTL to design her Mathematics of Sustainability course, a pre-requisite for college algebra. Continue reading.


SCI-MidAtlantic Hosts Conference on Teaching with Technology at Barnard College

SCI-MidAtlantic hosted their second regional conference this fall at Barnard College on November 15. Presenters provided examples and demonstrations of ways technology could be used to teach across the curriculum and deepen student learning and engagement. Among the presenters were six authors of SENCER Model courses. Continue reading.


EBOLA AND THE ACADEMY: Thoughts, Suggestions, and Resources

How can robots help treat Ebola and manage its spread? The White House charged Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and three other institutions with hosting a conference dedicated to answering this question. NCSCE Director of Programs Eliza Reilly attended WPI’s invitation-only conference and reports on the proceedings. SENCER Leadership Fellow Katayoun Chamany continues her curation of Ebola resources to provide a list of articles, infographics, and a perspective piece exploring the virus’s implications. Continue reading.


Middle Tennessee State University Faculty Share the SENCER Approach with Colleagues

Middle Tennessee State University recently held a workshop presented by their Experiential Learning Scholars Program on how the SENCER approach can be used to incorporate civic engagement and authentic research experiences into undergraduate STEM courses. Drs. Judith Iriarte-Gross (a SENCER Leadership Fellow), Keying Ding, and Drew Sieg discussed how SENCER influenced teaching reforms across physical science, chemistry, and biology education at their campus. Continue reading.


SCI-West and Great Lakes Regional Meetings Rescheduled for Spring 2015

Both the SCI-West and SCI-Great Lakes regional meetings originally scheduled for November 15, 2014 have been postponed until spring 2015. The SCI-West meeting will be held at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. Case Western Reserve University will host the SCI-Great Lakes meeting. A formal announcement will follow when dates for each meeting are set.


Engaging Mathematics Advisory Board Member Co-Edits Book on Mathematical Modeling and Interdisciplinary Education

Designing an airport screening system, controlling ocean debris, and identifying criminals in a conspiracy network—these are just a few problems teams have competed to solve at the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling. A new book, published by COMAP, outlines the history of the contest and serves as a great resource for anyone interested in mathematical models and interdisciplinary education. The book was co-edited by Dr. Chris Arney of the Engaging Mathematics advisory board, and features an article by NCSCE Executive Director and Engaging Mathematics Principal Investigator Wm. David Burns. Continue reading.


New MAA Book: Your Mathematics Classroom as Education Research Laboratory

Out this month as part of the MAA’s Notes series, Doing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Mathematics aims to both assist mathematics faculty interested in undertaking scholarly study of their teaching practice and promote a greater understanding of this work and its value to the mathematics community. The volume was envisioned and edited by Jacqueline Dewar and Curtis Bennett (Loyola Marymount University). Continue reading.


EBOLA AND THE ACADEMY: Thoughts, Suggestions, and Resources

Whether you’re searching for research papers, news coverage, perspective pieces, or op-eds about the current Ebola outbreak, Matt Fisher can point you in the right direction. He presents an extensive list of online compilations and stand-alone articles that offer a wealth of information on the virus. Joy Marburger provides commentary on the social and economic impacts Ebola is having on West Africa, speaking from her perspective as a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone. Continue reading.


Making Math Relevant: SCI-MidAtlantic Holds Quantitative Literacy Conference at LaGuardia Community College

What happens when mathematics courses are framed around real life situations such as Congressional legislation and environmental concerns? This question was explored by faculty members from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania who gathered at LaGuardia Community College for an SCI-MidAtlantic regional meeting called “SENCER and Engaging Mathematics.” The meeting was hosted by Dr. Mangala Kothari (LaGuardia professor and Engaging Mathematics Co-Principal Investigator) and Dr. Monica Devanas (SENCER Co-PI and co-director for SCI-MidAtlantic). Continue reading.


Mathematics Predicts Our Climate May Be Headed for a Tipping Point

What would a two-degree increase in Earth’s average temperature mean for our climate? According to the mathematics of chaotic billiard motion, this small change could have massive effects. In his TED-Ed video, Dr. Victor J. Donnay explains how rising temperatures could lead to more extreme, less predictable weather, as well as less hospitable conditions for humans. Continue reading.


EBOLA  AND THE ACADEMY: Thoughts, Suggestions, and Resources-Part II

Given the ongoing coverage of Ebola in the news, and the struggle to control it in West Africa, we continue our reporting on the virus, which we began in the previous eNews issue. Below is a resource recommended by Katayoun Chamany outlining Ebola treatment drugs and the strengths of brincidofovir, as well as an examination of recent research partially funded by the National Science Foundation on successful Ebola interventions. Continue reading.


October Regional Conferences Spotlight Quantitative Literacy, Big Data, and the Challenge of Developing “STEM Enabled” Graduates Across Disciplines

In the last three years educational researchers have broadened their focus from a concentration on STEM knowledge and understanding to the broader challenge of measuring “engagement and practice,” according to the National Science Foundation’s Dr. Richard Duschl, speaking at a meeting at Rutgers University on October 13, sponsored by the SENCER Center for Innovation MidAtlantic. Click here to read more about the conference.


Connecting the Dots: Science, Education, and Human Rights

If you ask people on the street “What are human rights?” you’re likely to get more than a few “I don’t know” responses. During our recent Washington Symposium, Jessica Wyndham, the associate director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights & Law Program, delivered a plenary address that helped attendees understand human rights, the laws protecting them, and how they are impacted by science and education. Jessica’s talk focused on Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which grants the right to benefit from scientific progress. The International Covenant has been broadly accepted. Continue reading.


Engaging Mathematics Can Help Close a Gap in Informal Education

A blog post on the CAISE (Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education) website identified a gap in informal education, namely a lack of museum projects that address social issues grounded in math. Museums are increasingly making efforts to address social issues through their programs and exhibits. When they do so, these efforts are generally successful. Developing mathematics-based museum programs could therefore serve as a solution to the relatively low numeracy of U.S. citizens—a social issue in itself considering that many of today’s pressing problems require numerical literacy to be understood and solved. Continue reading.


What’s Happening in SENCER-ISE: Cornell Student Researches Early Childhood Learning

How and when we learn is not determined by a class schedule. With most of our lives spent outside of a classroom, more attention should be paid to the learning that takes place in the “real world.” Kelly Yang, a senior majoring in human development and minoring in biological sciences at Cornell University, is doing just that. Kelly has been a research assistant in Cornell’s Early Childhood Cognition Lab (ECC Lab), directed by Dr. Tamar Kushnir, since her freshman year.Continue reading.


SENCER Leadership Fellow Flora Lichtman Co-Creates Animated Documentary Called ‘Seeing the Invisible’

Science journalist and SENCER Leadership Fellow Flora Lichtman has co-created an animated documentary with Sharon Shattuck, an animator and filmmaker, called “Seeing the Invisible.” Continue reading.



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