We are pleased to announce the publication of the Winter 2014 issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. This issue contains four project reports that illustrate a variety of creative approaches to liking science education and civic engagement.
Peter Bower (Barnard College) and colleagues describe the dissemination of a SENCER model curriculum based on the Brownfield Action simulation. This project was accomplished by establishing a STEM education network of 10 colleges, universities, and high schools. The curriculum was adapted and implemented for a variety of different student groups, from introductory general education science courses to upper-level courses on environmental site assessment. The collaborative network described in this article provides a successful model for dissemination of innovations in STEM education.
In a second project report, Alex T. Chow, Juang-Horng Chong, Michelle Cook, and David White (Clemson University) provide an account of a citizen scientist project that uses fireflies as an indicator of environmental quality. Counting the bioluminescent flashes of fireflies at night provides a simple way to engage students, teachers, resource managers and members of the local community in creating a collaborative firefly survey. The article describes the implementation and outcomes of a three-year project that includes service-learning, sustainability, and environmental stewardship.
In the third article, a team of faculty members and civic engagement professionals from Southwestern University—Meredith Liebl Kate Roberts, Amanda Mohammed, Megan Lowther, Erica Navaira, Anna Frankel, Suzy Pukys and Romi L. Burks—describe a partnership with local elementary schools to integrate science into an affordable afterschool program. After participating in a 10-week initiative called Science and Math Achiever Teams (SMArTeams), elementary school students showed gains in confidence, experimental design, curiosity and science enjoyment. Future directions for this project include the development of strategies to broaden elementary students’ awareness of STEM career pathways.
The final project report in this issue is provided by a team of educators at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Matthew Baideme, Andrew Pfluger, Stephen Lewandowski, Katie Matthew, and Jeffrey Starke established a curriculum linkage between an environmental engineering course and a marketing course, with the goal of developing students’ skills at researching complex environmental issues. Students from the two courses collaborated on a semester-long project to develop sustainable environmental solutions to address community needs. A pre/post assessment of the project showed student gains in confidence, motivation, and research skills.
We wish to thank all the authors of these reports for sharing their interesting and important work with the readers of this journal.
— Trace Jordan and Eliza Reilly
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