Summer 2013 Issue
Pre-algebra is the first course of a sequence of two basic skill math courses offered at LaGuardia Community College. In order to contextualize and make the material relevant to students, the faculty of the college have integrated into the curriculum the PQL (Project Quantum Leap) projects. More
Heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes—four of the top ten death-causing diseases in the United States—are nutrition related and can thus be prevented or reduced through formal and informal education aimed at changing personal diet and lifestyle. In this learning activity, students work in groups to conduct research on nutrition, nutritional ingredients, and healthy diet, as well as on nutrition-related diseases. They design healthy diets and present their own recipes for healthy meals aimed at prevention and/or healing of a specific nutrition-related disease. Through this activity, students learn about the roles that nutrition and nutrients play in their lives and the importance of following a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. More
This paper discusses the design and integration of a scoring rubric to assess quantitative reasoning projects embedded in the basic math courses at LaGuardia Community College. In order to contextualize the basic math skills course material and make it more engaging and relevant to students' interests, LaGuardia's faculty have developed and incorporated PQL (a SENCER-based model) projects into courses such as Pre Algebra, Elementary Algebra, and College Algebra and Trigonometry. Here, we provide an essential tool, the PQL generic rubric, to measure students' success in these projects. The rubric can be used to grade students' work consistently, as well as to provide them with meaningful feedback for improving their learning. More
Students in a large lecture general education chemistry course at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) were required to design their own SENCER-based research project. The students were tasked with researching chemical topics found anywhere within the campus/local community, resulting in projects that were extremely diverse. These projects ranged from students researching the feasibility of opening an on-campus can/bottle redemption center to students exploring the disposal procedures of supplies in the art department. More
Harold Washington College has been a participant in the National Science Foundation funded program Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities (SENCER) since 2001. SENCER works to improve undergraduate science education and stimulate civic engagement by teaching basic science content through complex and unresolved public issues. Sustained participation in SENCER, through both the summer institutes and regional meetings, has had a significant impact on Harold Washington College's curriculum, an impact which is most evident in two important areas: notable improvements in faculty development and the establishment of new learning communities that have demonstrably boosted student retention rates. More
It is with great delight and appreciation that I announce the Summer 2013 issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. The focus on community colleges demonstrates the inclusive and innovative thinking of the editorial staff whose mission is the publication of articles that share insights and assessment results with an international community of educators.
The interview with George Boggs sets the stage for understanding the growing role of community colleges in STEM education, both nationally and internationally. Boggs is President and CEO Emeritus of the American Association of Community Colleges where he served for over 10 years as a well-respected advocate for broad access and success in higher education. For this issue, he offers his perspective on barriers to STEM degree attainment, the global role of community colleges, and the criticality of relationships between educational institutions and businesses.
The issue also features a Teaching and Learning piece by Sreedevi Ande of LaGuardia Community College, that identifies the underlying quantitative reasoning skills embedded in the Project Quantum Leap and SENCER projects. In addition, Abour Cherif and Maris Roze of DeVry University, along with their colleague Dr. Matthew Bruder, have written a Project Report that details a learning activity designed to create healthy meals in order to counter nutrition-related diseases. Another Project Report by Mangala Kothari of LaGuardia Community College describes an essential tool used to measure student success in Project Quantum Leap. And Jeffrey Webb of Southern Connecticut State University has contributed a research article on how to integrate SENCER into a large lecture general education chemistry course. Finally, in a Point of View piece, Dennis Lehman of Harold Washington College in Chicago, reflects on how SENCER's resources and strategies have impacted and helped improve curriculum, retention and faculty development at an urban community college.
Many thanks to all the contributors to this special issue and the educational champions they inspire!
— Judy C. Miner
President, Foothill College
Dr. Boggs served as faculty member and administrator at Butte College in California and, for more than 15 years, as the Superintendent/President of Palomar College in California. Dedicated to American excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), he serves as a member of the Board on Science Education of the National Academy of Sciences and has served on several US National Science Board and Foundation panels, commissions, and committees. More
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