Citizens First! Democracy, Social Responsibility and Chemistry
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The consequences of such a stance have harmed the teaching and learning in science and put the bulk of humanity and the planet earth at unnecessary risk. In a recent National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), 61% of seniors responded overall by saying they "often" or "very often" connected learning to societal problems or issues in their major. But the contrasts across majors were wildly different. For instance, 78% of seniors in social sciences majors reported connecting societal problems
or issues in their major. By contrast, for physical sciences, math, and computer science, only 38% of seniors responded affirmatively. Of the ten clustered majors in the NSSE question, the lowest rated three categories were all science disciplines.
AAC&U also just awarded twenty-four mini-grants to departments interested in beginning a dialogue about layering civic engagement and social responsibility across levels in the major. Twenty-five percent of the awardees were in science departments: a sign that more scientists have gone AWOL. That is good news for student learning, for scientific discoveries, for the health of the planet and its people, and for the civil society that seems to be dangerously unraveling in the U.S. and many
spots around the globe.
Citizens First! An Historical Perspective
1. Teaching Chemistry with Civic Engagement: Non-Science Majors Enjoy
Chemistry When They Learn by Doing Research that Provides Benefits to the Local Community
2. Value of Using STEM Professionals in the K-12 Classroom: Connecting Chemistry to the Real World
3. Introduction to Environmental Issues as a Chemistry for Non-Science Majors Course
4. Partnerships that Foster Civic Engagement in Undergraduate Science
Education and Research: Assessment of an Urban Zoo
5. Developing Sustainable Pollinator Gardens for Habitat and Education
6. Connecting Chemistry to Community with Deliberative Democracy
7. Crossing Boundaries: Teaching Chemistry for Prisoners and Non-Majors
8. Incorporating Intercultural and Global Competencies into Higher Education STEM Programming
9. Communicating Your Research to the Public: A Trip to the Mall
10. Assessing Citizenship: Questioning Our Goals
course and several environmental science courses for non-majors. She has been active in Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER), an NSF-supported science education reform pedagogy since she created the first SENCER course at TWU in 2007. Ms. Maguire is Co-Director of the SENCER
Center for Innovation-Southwest at TWU and is also a SENCER Leadership Fellow and a TWU Senior Experiential Learning Fellow. Her work has been published as a chapter in three ACS Symposium books about SENCER, and several journal articles.
Richard D. Sheardy was born in Lake Orion, MI and received his BS in Chemistry Education at Michigan State University. After earning his PhD in organic chemistry at University of Florida, he had a Post Doctoral Fellowship in biophysics at University of Rochester. Sheardy began his academic career at the Hazleton Campus of Penn State University and then went to Seton Hall University where he initiated his research on DNA conformation and stability. At Seton Hall, Sheardy
mentored sixteen PhD students. In 2006, Sheardy moved to Texas Woman's University where he is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He teaches freshman and biophysical chemistry and continues his research focusing on the structure, stability and ligand binding properties of unusual
DNA conformations such as the G Quadruplex and the i-Motif. Sheardy is Conference Chair for the North American Calorimetry Conference and is a SENCER Leadership Fellow and has organized many symposia at
regional and national conferences on nucleic acid biophysics and science education reform.