Stephen Carroll at Denver Regional Meeting on High Impact STEM Strategies

SENCER and Campus Compact Strengthen STEM Education and Collaboration in Denver

by Kelly Uchiumi, Johnson Scholars Program Assistant, Santa Clara University

On Thursday and Friday, June 9th and 10th, 42 faculty gathered from across the country for a conference on high impact STEM education at the University of Denver. Partnering with Campus Compact of the Mountain West, SENCER Center for Innovation (SCI)-West and SCI-Southwest hosted four program tracks on the topics of Undergraduate Research in the STEM Curriculum, Models for Community Engagement Focused on STEM, Sustainability: Responsibility and Engagement Across All Disciplines, and Strengthening the Liberal Arts: Humanities, Social Sciences and STEM in Partnership. The track leaders who brought a variety of expertise in faculty development, assessment, and curriculum expertise included:

Amy Shachter from Santa Clara University

Steve Bachofer from St. Mary’s College of California

Cynthia Maguire from Texas Woman’s University

Richard Sheardy from Texas Woman’s University

Robert Franco from Kapi’olani Community College

Ulla Hasager from University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Stephanie Schooley from Campus Compact of the Mountain West

Catherine Kleier from Regis University

Stephen Carrol from Santa Clara University

Eliza Reilly from NCSCE, the National Center for Science & Civic Engagement

The first day began with a welcoming and engaging presentation from Dr. Shachter about the SENCER approach. For many of the attendees, this conference was their first time attending a meeting hosted by NCSCE, SENCER, or Campus Compact. The afternoon progressed with a station activity where attendees were able to get to know the track leaders and one another in smaller group settings. The room buzzed with the excitement of getting to know new colleagues, making connections, and sharing their hopes for the conference. The evening concluded with a reception and a poster session. During the poster session, attendees were able to network and gain new insight and ideas on experiential learning, designing new experiments, and case studies for sustainability from their peers. Some of the poster titles were, “Practice Makes Proficient: Reflections on the Impact of Experiential Learning”, “Designing a Better Experiment: Chemistry in the Real World”, “Measuring Lead Concentration in Raptor Feces”, “Case Studies from Modelling Sustainability”, “Using Sustainability As an Integrative Theme in a Capstone Science Course for Future Elementary Teachers”, and “Design of a High-Impact Interdisciplinary Course-based Research Experience: Molecular Mechanisms for Nature & Science.”

On Friday morning, the large conference room was filled again with attendees ready to dig into the content of strengthening STEM education. Participants divided into two groups for the morning and afternoon tracks. Small group settings allowed for many opportunities in collaboration, working on individual projects, and brainstorming new ideas on research and community outreach. One participant shared that, “the most useful sessions involved working with others to create a tangible course plan using guidelines provided” and another that they had the opportunity to, “actually build a project that crossed disciplines [that] was very valuable. This is just what I hoped to gain.”

A huge thank you to the members of Campus Compact of the Mountain West and the University of Denver for their hospitality and partnership to further strengthen the bridges between civic learning and student interest in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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