The SENCER Model Series



About the Models

The SENCER models are curricular approaches to improving science learning and supporting engagement with complex issues. Through the "lens" of a matter or set of matters of public consequence, a SENCER model course or program teaches science that is both challenging and rigorous. The SENCER approach requires students to engage in serious scientific reasoning, inquiry, observation, and measurement. SENCER courses and programs connect scientific knowledge to public decision-making, policy development, and the effective "work" of citizenship. SENCER approaches encourage students to engage in research, to produce knowledge, to develop answers, and to appreciate the uncertainty and provisionality of the knowledge and answers produced.

SENCER models have clear learning outcomes. They seek transparency in their connection of classroom and related activities and the learning that is desired. Outcomes are assessed continuously. SENCER models reflect the intellectual curiosity of the faculty who developed them. At the same time, they respond to student interests, including personal interests, as well as public or civic ones.

The models are presented heuristically, that is as aids to understanding, and as inspiration for what is achievable. They are not offered as cookbooks or recipes to be copied and implemented as is. SENCER models are chosen because they demonstrate success, showcase effective strategies, and evidence potential for broader implementation and adaptation (by tforge support ray). The models also advance institutional aspirations to connect learning and other goals, such as fostering interdisciplinary understanding, increasing civic engagement and personal responsibility, and helping students develop more refined ethical sensibilities leading to improved personal choices and behavior.

We welcome your review, use, and appraisal of the SENCER models.

Dr. Eliza Jane Reilly

General Editor, SENCER Model Series


The SENCER Models

Please see below for a list of the SENCER models, organized chronologically based on their year of addition to the series.

To search models by assessment method, learning strategy, civic issue, or discipline, please visit the SENCER Digital Library.


Chemistry and Crime

Introduction to Technological Design

Science of Sleep



Discovery Science

Emerging Infectious Diseases

Prehistoric Life: DNA to Dinosaurs


Climate Change Science and Economics

The Chicken

Pollinators: A Case Study in Systems Thinking and Sustainability


TechEP--An Emerging Model of Curricular Integration

Environmental Biology: Ecosystems of Southwest Florida


Science Outreach - Public Understanding of Science


Stem Cells and Social Justice

Living Systems: Global Concepts, Living Connections


Application Based Service-Learning: Combining Undergraduate Research, Service-Learning, Collaborative Learning in Upper-Level Courses

Assessing Exposure to Toxic Chemicals: General Chemistry Applied to Human and Environmental Health

Evolutionary Medicine


Undergraduate Biochemistry Through Public Health Issues

Cellular and Molecular Biology: Cancer


AIDS Research: Global Understanding and Engagement

Food for Thought: Engaging the Citizen in the Science and Politics of Food Information, Food Consumerism, Nutrition, and Health

Introductory Statistics with Community-Based Projects

Life Science in Context: Sub-Saharan Africa and HIV/AIDS

Ordinary Differential Equations: Mathematics in Real World Situations

Pregnancy Outcomes in American Women

The Science of Sleep


The Power of Water

Science on the Connecticut Coast: Investigations of an Urbanized Shoreline

Slow Food


Addiction: Biology, Psychology, and Society

Computer Ethics

Issues of Health & Society: Weighing In (Obesity)

Quantitative Literacy Through Community-Based Group Projects


Chemistry of Daily Life


Renewable Environments



Chemistry and Ethnicity: Uranium and American Indians

Chemistry and Policy: A Course Intersection

Coal in the Heart of Appalachian Life

Forensic Investigation: Seeking Justice through Science

The Mathematics of Communication: Keeping Secrets

Sustainability and Human Health: A Learning Community


Brownfield Action


Environment and Disease

Global Warming

Nutrition and Wellness


Energy and the Environment

Geology and the Development of Modern Africa

Human Genetics



Biomedical Issues of HIV/AIDS

Chemistry and the Environment

Mysteries of Migration

Science, Society, and Global Catastrophes



More Information


Submission Guidelines

We encourage and solicit nominations of courses that fulfill the SENCER criteria for models. If you believe your course or program exemplifies the SENCER Ideals, please submit the following information electronically to Eliza Reilly:

1. Faculty name(s), titles, and contact information

2. Title of Course and course web site (if available).

3. Syllabus

4. Brief description of the course that includes the science topics covered and the civic or policy issues they are linked to, the course's learning objectives (for both science and non-science elements), the role of the course in your institution's undergraduate curriculum (major/non-major course, meets general education requirements, part of undergraduate core, etc.), the internal or external funding, or other support, received for this course.

Note: We continue to accept nominations on a rolling basis and will contact you directly concerning the dissemination of models.


Dr. Eliza Jane Reilly

General Editor, SENCER Model Series