The SENCER Community Responds to COVID-19

Over twenty years ago the SENCER initiative was launched.  The idea was simple, to use complex public problems as a curricular frame to teach rigorous science content, thus improving both STEM learning AND civic understanding and capacity. While the approach was extended all STEM disciplines and a wide range of public/civic challenges, the original model for this approach emerged from a public health crisis—HIV-AIDS.  We are now living through another public health crisis, a pandemic greater than any the world has faced for over 100 years, and in the last 6 months the SENCER community of educators have responded rapidly and with great energy, bringing their experience and commitment to demonstrating the relevance of STEM teaching and learning to real-world problems.  Here we feature just some of the great work being done by SENCER educators to address this public health crisis

The Summer 2020 issue of SCIENCE EDUCATION AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL includes a special section on Teaching Through COVID. These reflections document experiences and lessons learned while teaching science and civic engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. We received a very enthusiastic response to our call for submissions, and we are publishing 35 contributions to this special section.  Special thanks go to our editors, Matt Fisher and Trace Jordan, for their editorial skill in organizing this section, and to our managing editor Marcy Dubroff, for coordinating such a timely issue.

The 2020 SENCER SUMMER INSTITUTE, held online in August featured a range of sessions by faculty using COVID-19 in their courses and undergraduate research projects, many of which are captured on the NCSCE Youtube channel:

The full program, poster sessions, and PPT’s can be found here:


NCSCE Deputy Director, Davida Smyth was funded by the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Program in the Division of Environmental Biology for RAPID: Collaborative Research: Metapopulation Modeling to Develop Strategies to Reduce COVID-19 Transmission in Public Spaces

Amy Shachter, Director of SENCER Centers of Innovation and Regional Engagement, and NCSCE Sr. Research Fellow and SENCER co-PI Karen Oates were funded by the IUSE program of the Division of Undergraduate Education for RAPID: Online Educational Resources on the Science of Vaccines.  SENCER will be supporting this project in disseminating these resources nationally.

Join us in offering thanks and congratulations to all of these colleagues for their efforts in addressing the pandemic.  If you want to share your own news with the SENCER community, (awards, promotions, new initiatives or resources) please use this google form:

Posted in eNews.