by Meghan Carter, STEM Collaboration Coordinator at Maine Campus Compact
On Thursday, May 26th, Maine Campus Compact, with support from Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine, hosted a SENCER training at the University of Southern Maine. The SENCER training was facilitated by Karen Oates, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, who addressed the complex topic of how students learn. With about 40 higher education faculty and K-12 educators in attendance, Oates led the group through a discussion about how students learn best when they are learning about something they are interested in or connected to. Oates also had faculty and educators consider the importance of a powerful learning experience and how we can create powerful learning experiences for all students.
In the second half of the workshop, faculty and educators formed diverse groups and created the framework for a potential “SENCER-ized” course or module. One group created a course titled “Tech-free Survival in a Natural Disaster” that would cover topics such as first-aid, orienteering, mapping, backcountry camping, and food harvesting and safety. Another group brainstormed the idea of creating a curriculum around transportation design that could begin in kindergarten and follow students through to 12th grade. Finally, a third group developed a course that would examine the fate of lobsters in the Gulf of Maine and would aim to propose recommendations to the Maine Marine Commissioner for sustainability of the lobstering industry.
This SENCER training was offered as part of Maine Campus Compact’s STEM Collaboration Program. This program leverages Maine Campus Compact’s expertise in facilitating campus community engagement. The STEM Collaboration Program was established in 2014 to encourage and implement Maine initiatives that have the potential to link K-12 schools and higher education to strengthen the STEM ecosystem.