About SENCER: Overview

Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) was initiated in 2001 under the National Science Foundation's CCLI national dissemination track. Since then, SENCER has established and supported an ever-growing community of faculty, students, academic leaders, and others to improve undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education by connecting learning to critical civic questions. SENCER is the signature program of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, which was established in affiliation with Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

Our Approach

SENCER applies the science of learning to the learning of science, all to expand civic capacity.

John Bransford, a member of the Board on Science Education of the National Academies and Mifflin Professor of Education at the University of Washington, claims that SENCER is "bringing to life the recommendations we made in How People Learn."

In designing SENCER we used methods and strategies derived from existing knowledge concerning undergraduate STEM education so that both the STEM learning and the curricular reforms would be durable. Students and faculty report that the SENCER approach makes science more real, accessible, "useful" and civically important.

SENCER improves 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. We do this by developing faculty expertise in teaching "to" basic, canonical science and mathematics "through" complex, capacious, often unsolved problems of civic consequence.

Using materials, assessment instruments, and research developed in the SENCER project, faculty design curricular projects that connect science learning to real world challenges.

More Information


The SENCER Viewbook
(September 2009)

In This Section

SENCER Ideals - Investigate the principles and philosophies that guide SENCER work.

Leadership - Learn about the core SENCER committee, the SENCER Senior Associates, and our National Advisory Board.

SENCER Community - Discover who is applying the SENCER ideals to course and curricular reform. Also, coming soon: post inquiries and discuss topics on message boards.

Testimonials - Read and listen to reviews and statements about the project, symposia, and materials from faculty, administrators, and students.

In the News - Find out about the attention SENCER and community members are receiving for progressive work in STEM education.