For many of us, summer is a time to relax and to tackle those pedagogy projects you are keen to introduce but have been sitting on the shelf. Are you stewing over how to engage students in a new way? Do you have an idea you would like to polish and then implement in the fall, one that incorporates topics that are contextual and relevant, while not losing content? Need a place to think, and a place where like-minded educators can offer feedback?
Join attendees at the SENCER Summer Institute (SSI) in Stony Brook, New York, this August for FREE! This small conference has allowed Dr. Gillian Backus to network with expert colleagues from two- and four-year institutions nationwide. Core sessions focus on course design and research-based approaches to learning that include global issues to teach critical STEM concepts. Best of all, SSI builds in time to talk and to work with colleagues. Backus notes she almost always have new “shovel-ready” projects ready to implement each fall. SSI is your opportunity to focus on a project and move forward, all while hearing from inspirational plenary speakers and workshop facilitators.
SENCER stands for “Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities” and its mission is to ”…strengthen student learning and interest in STEM fields by connecting course topics to issues of critical local, national, and global importance.” The SSI gathers educators from all over the country and the world to share what they know about civic engagement in STEM disciplines. Humanities and arts faculty are invited to attend with the goal of collaborating with STEM faculty to create natural crossovers between the disciplines, especially as these connections strengthen the understanding of complicated, multifaceted local, national and global issues.
Going to the SSI has benefitted Backus and her students greatly. She found that her students are far more engaged and curious when she teaches in a more contextual way, and keeps topics and modules relevant and updated. She also notes that she is no longer teaching content for its own sake. Faculty who love to teach are happier and more energized by engaged students. SSI represents a chance to learn more about how to create and assess those efforts. Moreover, the SENCER staff and community members provide support and help as you implement changes at your institution or in your classes long after the conference has ended.
This year’s SSI will take place at Stony Brook University, in Stony Brook from August 3 to 6, 2017. Thanks to a generous grant, three NOVA faculty can participate in this institute for FREE (registration and housing). If you are interested contact Backus at 703.948.7785 or firstname.lastname@example.org before June 1.