Outreach: SENCER Center for Innovation - Midwest


SCI-Midwest and the Host Institution

Harold Washington College (HWC) is the host institution for the SCI-Midwest.  HWC is a learning-centered urban institution of higher education that offers accessible and affordable opportunities for academic advancement, career development, and personal enrichment.  The college is committed to upholding high institutional and academic standards and to both understanding and improving student learning.  The College is a diverse institution and one of the seven separately accredited schools that make up the City Colleges of Chicago.

Areas of Expertise and Focus

SCI-Midwest initiatives are open to participants around the U.S. but are primarily designed to address the needs and interests of individuals in Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio.

The SCI-Midwest group has broad expertise among its members, but has a particular interest in public health issues (including asthma, childhood nutrition, and HIV/AIDS), water quality in the Great Lakes region, teacher education, math and civic engagement, service-learning, and linking classroom learning to real-life applications.

Past Symposia

Regional Meeting

September 30, 2010, Hosted by Indiana State University (Terre Haute, IN)

Indiana State University hosted a Midwest regional meeting on Thursday, September 30th from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Terre Haute, IN.   This one day event was for any educator interested in learning and sharing ideas about the SENCER model of teaching. David Burns, principal investigator of SENCER, was the guest speaker. In addition, visiting faculty from the Midwest region were on hand to discuss how they “SENCER-ized” their classes.

Teach Food: A SENCER Workshop

April 23-24, 2010, Hosted by Globe University (Madison, WI)

Teach Food: A SENCER Workshop was held at Globe University’s Madison East Campus in Madison Wisconsin. Conference attendees learned how to design a SENCER course and incorporate civic engagement into STEM instruction; shared examples from the Midwest region of projects on food and sustainability; strengthened our regional network and share resources for teaching about food; and promoted the incorporation of sustainability into STEM curricula.

Teaching Quantitative Reasoning Through Civic Engagement

November 6-7, 2009, Hosted by Metropolitan State University (Saint Paul, MN)

Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, MN hosted the Midwest SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) Center for Innovation Fall Symposium on Teaching Quantitative Reasoning through Civic Issues. The symposium was held on November 6th and 7th on Metropolitan State University’s Saint Paul campus. 

The events on Nov. 6th began with registration at 5:00 p.m. followed by a keynote address by Professor Deborah Hughes Hallett.  Professor Hallet holds a joint appointment at the Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Arizona and is currently teaching a course at Harvard, Politics and Policies: What Can Statistics Tell Us?

On Saturday, Nov. 7th, the events began with a plenary address by Professor of Psychology Neil Lutsky from Carleton College in Northfield, MN.  Professor Lutsky is the former director of the Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning and Knowledge (QuIRK) Initiative.  Following the plenary were break-out sessions for contributed and invited papers and poster presentations.  Undergraduate students were encouraged to participate in the symposium.

SENCER Summer Institute 2009

August 6-10, 2009, Hosted by Harold Washington College (Chicago, IL)

Meeting the Challenges of Great Lakes Stewardship: SENCER Approaches

March 27-28, 2009, Hosted by the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Great Lakes Science Center, and Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

The SENCER Center for Innovation – Midwest held a symposium designed to illuminate issues facing the Great Lakes basin that can be incorporated into undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses.  These courses will engage faculty and students in direct action and research, educate the general public, empower the public to have a positive impact on the ecosystem, and become the foundation of a vibrant network of academic and community-based organizations.

Indiana Schools Meeting

December 5, 2008, Hosted by Butler University

On December 5th, Butler University hosted a series of discussions and presentations on SENCER with faculty across the Butler campus and colleagues from central Indiana schools. David Burns, SENCER PI, and Dennis Lehman, co-director of the SENCER Center for Innovation-Midwest, attended the event and David delivered the closing plenary talk. Departments including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, and education were represented throughout the day’s program, which touched on topics including experiential education, designing SENCER courses, and the SENCER approach, in general. The symposium was coordinated by Joseph Kirsch, Margaret Brabant, Robert Holm, and Donald Braid, SENCER alumni who have been deeply involved in the development of an impressive suite of SENCER courses at Butler.


Photograph of Harold Washington College taken by Chuck Gahun in 2009.