by Susan Reiser, SCI-South Co-Director
The theme of the SENCER Center of Innovation South’s regional meeting, Reception conversation held at UNC Asheville on October 15, 2015 wasImproving the STEM Pipeline. It drew 32 participants from SENCER SCI-South’s constituent colleges, K-12 schools, and organizations. We came together to learn about each other’s innovative work in STEM Education. Presentation topics included undergraduate STEM education for majors and non-majors, assessment of teaching and learning, informal science education, as well as 6th through 12th grade STEM education.
UNC Asheville Associate Provost Ed Katz kicked off the meeting, and was followed by Dean of Natural Sciences Keith Krumpe’s opening plenary, Improving the STEM Pipeline with SENCER. Opening day concluded with a poster session and reception that sparked many interesting conversations.
Out of town attendees stayed in downtown Asheville at the Aloft Hotel during Asheville’s “leaf season.” The hotel’s central location allowed everyone to explore Asheville’s vibrant downtown scene, or relax, or grade papers on the hotel’s roof garden. Even Lipscomb University’s Nutrition Department Chair, Autumn Marshall, got into the unique Western North Carolina cuisine: e.g. The Junction’s Pumpkin Pie Pork Rinds.
Our theme of Improving the STEM Pipeline was intentionally inclusive, embracing SENCER-style STEM education for the college science major; the non-major; and the scientist-to-be, our K-12 students. Presentations included projects or curriculum design aimed at expanding student interest in STEM learning, through an exploration of the connection between science and its civic or social impact. We were particularly interested in facilitating our colleagues’ creativity and exploration of such projects on their own campuses, through encounters with various model and experiences, particularly through the lessons our colleagues learned doing this important work.
Meeting attendees at Friday’s Morning Plenary To explore the presentations, workshops, and posters including our plenary talk, Watershed UGA, delivered by Paul Matthews, the Associate Director of the Office of Service Learning at the University of Georgia, please see the agenda.