NCSCE is a national organization that supports a community of teachers and learners. Through professional development programs, research, and mentoring we help educators in and outside the classroom make connections between the content they teach and real world issues of civic importance. By putting content into context, what is inaccessible becomes accessible, what is uninteresting becomes interesting, and what is not meaningful becomes meaningful. We empower learners by showing them that their knowledge matters, and what they learn today can help solve some of the biggest problems of tomorrow.
SENCER is the signature program of NCSCE. The origin of the SENCER approach was a course developed by Monica Devanas at Rutgers University that taught basic biology through a focus on HIV disease. Using a pressing and timely problem of immediate interest to students, such as the HIV epidemic, helped students understand complex biological concepts and increased their learning. Since 2001 the SENCER approach has been applied to all STEM disciplines at all levels of undergraduate learning. There are over 55 SENCER model courses ( as well as modules, and background papers) at the SENCER Resources section on the home page. Discussions of the "genealogy" and the philosophy of SENCER can be found in "Knowledge to Make Our Democracy" and "Reflections on the Premises, Purposes, Lessons Learned, and Ethos of SENCER."
Since 2001 more than 6,000 educators, administrators, students, and community leaders from over 500 two- and four-year colleges, universities, agencies, informal education venues, and community-based organizations have taken part in SENCER and NCSCE activities and contributed their knowledge and work to the project. NCSCE was founded in 2004, and since 2015 has been hosted by the Department of Technology and Society at Stony Brook University.
We currently support four initiatives, in addition to SENCER, that advance education and civic engagement.