SENCER Models that Address Infectious Diseases and Epidemics

The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of the complex global civic challenge that SENCER approaches were developed to address. The foundational idea was that by using a real-world problem as a context for teaching the STEM disciplinary content, students’ learning would be more durable, meaningful, and transferable to their actual lives as civic agents in their communities. The very first SENCER Model was a transformed biology course for non-majors, Biomedical Issues of HIV-AIDS, taught by Dr. Monica Devanas at Rutgers University.

Since 2001, many SENCER Models have used real cases of infectious disease as the context for teaching basic biology, chemistry, and mathematics while also demonstrating the range of other domains of knowledge that must be invoked to better understand a complex phenomenon like human health.  Below is a list of Model courses in various disciplines that address a range of examples, including HIV-AIDs, Ebola, Influenza, Malaria, Tuberculosis, etc.

We hope you will revisit some of these courses for ideas, examples, and strategies that use case studies of disease spread and transmission your teaching as we all work together to better understand how to address this global crisis.


Dr. Tammy Tobin, Professor of Biology, Susquehanna University


Emerging Infectious Diseases (BIOL 215)

Dr. Rachel Bergstrom, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Marion Field Fass, Department of Biology, Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin


Undergraduate Biochemistry Through Public Health Issues

Dr. Matt Fisher, Associate Professor, Chemistry, St. Vincent College


Ordinary Differential Equations in Real World Situations

Victor Donnay, Professor of Mathematics, Bryn Mawr College


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

John A. Mecham, Department of Biological Sciences, Meredith College

Erica Kosal, Department of Biology, North Carolina Wesleyan College

Dr. Pearl Fernades, Department of Biology, University of South Carolina Sumter


AIDS Research: Global Understanding and Engagement (ARGUE)

Sherryl Broverman, Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of Biology, Duke University


Environment and Disease

Michael F. Tibbetts
Associate Professor of Biology, Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Bard College



Richard A. Fluck, E. Paul and Francis H. Reiff Professor of Biology, Department of Biology, Franklin & Marshall College





Posted in eNews.