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--> Executive Summary Through science, mathematics, and engineering, our nation continues to lead the world in the development and utilization of new technologies. Whether related to our health, to the environment, or to our production and use of material goods, science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SME&T) are integral and essential parts of daily life for virtually everyone in the United States and around the globe. However, the understanding of SME&T by most Americans, which reflects the level of SME&T education most Americans have had, is inadequate for full participation in this increasingly technological world. Our nation is becoming divided into a technologically knowledgeable elite and a disadvantaged majority. Given the large and increasing numbers of students in the higher education system and the fact that all teachers of grades K-12 are products of that system, improving SME&T education, particularly at the undergraduate level, could be a critical means for closing the gap. Changes are needed in current approaches to teaching SME&T at the undergraduate level as well as in graduate training and continuing education for teachers. To effect these changes is an enormous challenge. However, on campuses across the United States, many individuals are making substantive improvements to SME&T courses, programs, and curricula. The time has now come for the institutionalization and sharing of these improvements. Nothing less than the fundamental reform of American postsecondary SME&T education is at stake. To guide the institutionalization and sharing of postsecondary SME&T education reform, primarily at the undergraduate level, the authoring committee of this report—the Committee on Undergraduate Science Education (CUSE)—has adopted a primary goal. It is based on five years of research and discussions with members of many sectors of the higher education SME&T community, including two years of intensive research into and consultations about major issues in SME&T undergraduate education. Institutions of higher education should provide diverse opportunities for all undergraduates to study science, mathematics, engineering, and technology as practiced by scientists and engineers, and as early in their academic careers as possible. This fundamental goal informs all that follows in this report. It embraces and builds upon the educational imperatives stated in the National Research Council report entitled From Analysis to Action: Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (1996a), the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee's report entitled Shaping the Future: New Expectations for Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (1996b), and the Boyer Commission's report entitled Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities (1998). It requires that the improvement of undergraduate SME&T education begin with a reexamination and restructuring of introductory and lower-level courses and programs. It is meant to benefit both those students who will go on to careers as professional scientists, mathematicians, engineers, or teachers for grades K-12, as well as the vast majority of
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--> undergraduate students who do not plan to declare SME&T or education majors. It provides strategies for implementation that are appropriate for the range of two- and four-year postsecondary institutions in this country. Readers will note that while this report, its visions, and many of its strategies address the breadth of undergraduate SME&T education, many of the report's examples of innovative practice are drawn from undergraduate science education. The committee would like to state here that many of the issues being debated in science education also apply to mathematics, engineering, and technology education. For example, the issues and recommendations addressed in Engineering Education: Designing an Adaptive System (National Research Council, 1995a) are quite congruent with the issues and visions of this report. In addition, many of the federal agencies that support science education (e.g., the National Science Foundation) are calling for greater integration among the disciplines. This report addresses the larger SME&T community in that spirit, as well. The committee acknowledges that achievement of the primary goal in the context of lasting reform will require execution of an exceedingly complex array of tasks by virtually all academic and service components of a college or university. This will require the commitment of faculty, academic administrators, academic support units (e.g., campus teaching and learning centers), facility planners, and undergraduate and graduate students. The organizational structure—and even the priorities of missions of many postsecondary institutions—will be fundamentally challenged. Therefore, committee members conclude that top officials in colleges and universities will need to play a special role: they will need to exert strong leadership, to display a deep understanding of the issues, and to provide tangible support for the necessary changes to take hold. The committee also recognizes that implementing the visions of this report will require new funds or shifts in the allocation of resources. Costs may vary considerably from institution to institution. With the evidence and information provided in this report, the committee hopes to stimulate serious discussions at all higher education institutions that will take into account the need for new or reallocated resources to implement change. What follows the statement of the primary goal, both here and in the body of the report, is a series of vision statements to which all postsecondary institutions might aspire. Extensive background and references support each vision statement, brief synopses of which are given below. Specific implementation strategies for improving many aspects of science education also accompany each vision, details of which are provided in the body of the report. These strategies for implementation indicate what chief academic officers, faculty members, and academic departments can do individually and collectively to improve undergraduate science education, and by so doing, ensure that many more citizens can become full participants in our nation's scientific and technological future. Vision 1 All postsecondary institutions would require all entering students to undertake college-level studies in SME&T. Entry into higher education would include assessment of students' understanding of these subjects that is based on the recommendations of national K-12 standards. If undergraduates are to view SME&T as an integral component of their education, the stage should be set long before they enter college. Ideally, their pre-college experience should have included both quality instruction in standards-based classrooms and a clear awareness that achievement in science, mathematics, and technology will be expected for admission to college. Once implemented,
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--> Strategies for Promoting and Implementing Vision 1 Executive and academic officers of postsecondary institutions can implement Vision 1 by Individual faculty and academic departments can implement Vision 1 by 1. Asking academic SME&T departments and the Office of Admissions to establish appropriate institutional admissions standards for science and mathematics preparation. 1. Responding to both the current educational experiences and accomplishments of today's students and to the changing expectations about what pre-college students should know and should be able to do in SME&T as a result of the increased use of national and statewide standards-based curricula and assessment tools. 2. Working with their institution's Office of Admissions to make clear to prospective students the departments' expectations for entry into SME&T programs and the institution's goal of providing SME&T education to all of its enrolled students. standards-based approaches to science and mathematics (and eventually technology) education should enable more students to reach these desired levels of achievement. However, the committee recognizes that standards-based K-12 education in science, mathematics, and technology is not yet available to most students across the country. Colleges and universities must now rely on standardized examinations in these disciplines that do not necessarily assess the kinds of learning emphasized in national standards. Many postsecondary institutions also employ open admission policies. Such policies provide critical educational opportunities for students who may not have had the academic experiences called for by national and state standards. Moving K-12 education to a system that is more consonant with standards will likely require at least a decade. Nevertheless, change is occurring—albeit at different rates—in many parts of the country, and increasing numbers of students are likely to arrive at postsecondary institutions with greater exposure to science and mathematics standards. Thus, postsecondary institutions, their admissions offices, and faculty will need to monitor these trends in K-12 education with respect to admissions policies and the content and teaching of undergraduate courses. Admissions policies should be revisited regularly to account for changes taking place in the K-12 sector. The committee also recognizes that, although this vision and the accompanying implementation strategies are appropriate for a majority of students in the nation's high schools, many other students will need creative alternative pathways to higher education. These students include those who have not performed well academically in high school but who have potential to succeed at college-level studies and those who did not receive the kind of education articulated in this report and who, as adults, are now seeking additional education. Vision 2 SME&T would become an integral part of the curriculum for all undergraduate students through required introductory courses that engage all students in SME&T and their connections to society and the human condition.
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--> Science is an integral part of our daily lives. It also is an historical and procedural foundation for human thinking about and understanding of the natural and engineered worlds. Therefore, colleges and universities should require that all entering students, irrespective of their ultimate selection of a major, undertake college-level studies in SME&T. Science majors would gain a focused, in-depth exposure to scientific principles, and those who wished to do so could build on these experiences to participate in faculty-supervised original research. They and all non-science students would also enroll in courses that focus on providing awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the natural and human-constructed worlds and that involve at least one laboratory experience. Introductory undergraduate curricula would incorporate physical, biological, and mathematical sciences, engineering, and technology in a manner that allowed all students to understand and appreciate the interrelationships among these disciplines in the context of human society. All of these courses would include topics that are both intellectually challenging and near the frontiers of inquiry. Wherever possible, these topics would engage students in discussing problems that students would find timely and important. If this vision were to be realized, faculty would design and offer introductory science courses that met the needs of students with diverse educational backgrounds, experiences, interests, aspirations, and learning styles. These courses would be high-quality, laboratory-rich experiences that are meaningful and appropriate for all undergraduate students regardless of their intended majors. In addition to presenting content information in one or more areas of science, these courses would engage undergraduates in exploring the fundamental and unifying concepts and processes of science. They would be interdisciplinary in nature and focus, providing case studies that examine real problems and applications. They would emphasize the evolving processes of scientific thought and inquiry and would encourage and assist students to understand the need to be lifelong learners of SME&T. In short, these lower-division courses would be designed in content and subject matter approach in such a way as to encourage many students to continue to advance, rather than to end, their SME&T study. That is, the courses would serve as "pumps" to, rather than "filters" out of, higher levels of study in SME&T. The creation and support of innovative courses also would include the building of a sophisticated communications infrastructure so that students, faculty, and local, state, national, and international communities could share ideas, strategies, and solutions for richer, more genuine educational experiences. Collectively, this communications network (constructed primarily on the Internet) would deepen the reform of undergraduate SME&T courses. An important contribution would be the effective use of information technologies in SME&T curricula.1 In addition, all programs in SME&T would be structured to allow as many undergraduate students as possible to engage in original, supervised research under the tutelage of a faculty or senior graduate student mentor. Undergraduates would become involved with as many phases of a research project as time permitted. These might include experimental design, searching the literature, performing the research using modern scientific instruments and techniques, analyzing and interpreting data, and preparing a report for publication or presentation at an institutional, regional, or national scientific meeting. SME&T majors would undertake such research for a minimum of one academic term, although research experiences that last for longer periods of time would be 1 The NRC's Committee on Information Technology, under the auspices of the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, anticipates concluding by the spring of 1999 a study on effective, appropriate use of information technology to enhance SME&T courses. More information on this project can be found at the National Academy of Sciences' home page, <http://www.nas.edu>, under "Current Projects."
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--> Strategies for Promoting and Implementing Vision 2 Executive and academic officers of postsecondary institutions can implement Vision 2 by Individual faculty and academic departments can implement Vision 2 by 1. At institutions with active research programs, convening a local blue-ribbon panel of faculty who are recognized for their contributions to both research and teaching to report on what is needed to offer a cutting-edge SME&T curriculum for undergraduates on their campuses consistent with their institutions' respective missions. 1. Working with colleagues who teach introductory interdisciplinary courses to delineate carefully fundamental concepts about the natural and human-constructed worlds to which students should be exposed. 2. Supporting the inclusion of core SME&T requirements and core course offerings that include at least one or preferably more laboratory experiences at the undergraduate level for all students and an option for independent research for all science majors. 2. Devising a plan for involving all undergraduates in at least one laboratory experience, including—for all interested SME&T majors—an experience in supervised original research on- or off-campus for at least one academic term. 3. Encouraging individual faculty to learn to develop new and innovative courses and make existing courses more effective by promoting an institutional culture that rewards this participation and that provides technical support. 3. Emphasizing the development of introductory SME&T courses that include applications and hands-on learning experiences. 4. Providing incentives for individual faculty and departments in SME&T, the humanities, and the social sciences to work together to develop introductory interdisciplinary courses that are meaningful for all students, including both those who are and who are not likely to major in the faculty members' disciplines. 4. Sharing course syllabi, examinations, assignments, and laboratory experiments, expectations, successes, and failures with departmental colleagues, other faculty members, and academic advisors whose students are taking innovative, introductory SME&T courses. 5. Encouraging senior SME&T faculty who have been recognized for teaching excellence and innovation to participate in lower-division course offerings and in curriculum planning. 5. Adopting formal mechanisms whereby faculty in different departments who teach similar concepts can share information about what is being learned in innovative courses, including the use of effective techniques and materials. 6. Establishing reward incentives for faculty and departments to contribute to the sustained availability of interdepartmental, integrative responsibility for teaching or maintaining them. 6. Encouraging faculty who were not original designers of an innovation to participate in the resulting courses without having to take full courses and excellence in teaching. 7. Providing avenues for students, alumni, professional advisory groups, and the community to participate in the development of new, interdisciplinary courses. 7. Discussing curricular as well as non-curricular issues (e.g., use and sharing of facilities and equipment) with everyone involved with an interdisciplinary course. 8. Encouraging faculty to interact with partners both across campus and at other nearby two-and four-year institutions in order to share effective teaching practices and course and curricular innovations. 8. Offering local workshops, possibly seeking the advice of outside experts from other two- and four-year institutions, on innovations that foster undergraduate learning. 9. Including the space needs of lower-division teaching in active learning environments and of undergraduate research participation when planning for capital improvement projects and allocating resources.
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--> encouraged whenever possible. Other students, especially those who aspire to careers in teaching, would be encouraged to participate in original research, either through inquiry-based laboratory experiences associated with SME&T courses or through the kinds of supervised research opportunities available to SME&T majors. For research experiences lasting one semester or less, students might become involved with faculty- or student-originated projects in progress or with smaller projects designed by a faculty member and a group of students in a research-based course. Vision 3 All colleges and universities would continually and systematically evaluate the efficacy of courses in SME&T. Faculty would continually evaluate their courses for efficacy in promoting student learning. Such evaluations would reflect in part the emphases outlined for Vision 2. Thus, in addition to mastery of the specific subject matter taught in a course, success would be defined and measured by the degree of understanding and appreciation gained by students of both general scientific concepts and of the scientific approach to understanding natural processes. Evaluations would include measurements of learning at several levels: in the courses themselves, in subsequent SME&T courses, and, ultimately, in career and life. The results of such evaluations would be used continually to produce improvements in courses for students both inside and outside of the major, to assist in the professional development of individual faculty, and to allow departments continually to assess and improve their curricular offerings. Strategies for Promoting and Implementing Vision 3 Executive and academic officers of postsecondary institutions can implement Vision 3 by Individual faculty and academic departments can implement Vision 3 by 1. Benchmarking undergraduate programs within their institutions against the best practices of peer institutions, 1. Setting clear learning goals for individual courses and for the department's curriculum in general, especially for introductory and general education courses that the department oversees. 2. Requiring that any proposal submitted to the institution that seeks funds to create new courses, to modify existing courses, or to explore some alternative approach to teaching SME&T courses contain information about how the course or teaching practice will be evaluated for effectiveness. 2. Including both undergraduate and graduate student representatives in departmental discussions about individual courses and/or curricular issues. 3. Encouraging participation in departmental assessments as a significant component of individual faculty evaluations for promotion, tenure, and post-tenure review. 3. Involving departmental colleagues in substantive, regular evaluation of teaching and curriculum. 4. Providing active learning environments for all students, even in large section, lecture-dominated courses. 5. Hiring within SME&T departments individuals who wish to pursue research on how undergraduate students learn.
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--> Vision 4 SME&T faculties would assume greater responsibility for the pre-service and inservice education of K-12 teachers. Improving the SME&T education of both pre-service and in-service K-12 teachers is one of the most important challenges facing college and university faculties.2 Scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and teacher educators all need to share responsibility for teacher preparation (e.g., Riley, 1998). If Vision 4 were to be realized, these faculty would provide integrated pre-service and inservice experiences that blend scientific knowledge with pedagogical methods and effective teaching practices. Teacher education programs would be informed by the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996b), the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics and the Professional Development Standards for Teaching Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1989, 1991), the Standards for Technology Education (The International Technology Education Association, in preparation3), and other national and state-level science and mathematics education reform initiatives (e.g., American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993; Council of Chief State School Officers, 1997). A critical component of new teacher preparation programs would be the adoption of teaching approaches that enhance pre-service teachers' desire to continue both their professional development and their own personal learning. SME&T faculty need to become involved in this effort by providing motivating pre-service and in-service opportunities Strategies for Promoting and Implementing Vision 4 Executive and academic officers of postsecondary institutions can implement Vision 4 by Individual faculty and academic departments can implement Vision 4 by 1. Making available new tenure-track faculty positions for candidates with dual backgrounds in a SME&T discipline and in science education who are interested in promoting innovative and effective undergraduate learning. 1. Measuring the effectiveness of each component of the pre-service curriculum in fostering innovative and effective pedagogy and in exploring SME&T concepts. 2. Actively promoting partnerships, consortia, or outreach programs with local school districts to advance the professional development of teachers and to provide resources not otherwise available to local schools. 2. Inviting regional K-12 science and mathematics teachers to participate in on-campus seminars where recent scientific or pedagogical research is discussed. 3. Removing institutional obstacles to department donations and continued servicing of high-quality equipment to local school districts. 3. Inviting master teachers to serve as adjunct faculty and colleagues in both schools of education and SME&T departments. 2 For a more in-depth study of this topic, see the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future reports, What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future (National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 1996), and Doing What Matters Most: Investing in Quality Teaching (Darling-Hammond, 1997), which explain the challenges of preparing future teachers and offer findings and recommendations for improvement. 3 The Standards for Technology Education are expected to be released in early spring of 1999. CUSE members have not reviewed the standards but know that the authoring committee, the International Technology Education Association (ITEA), has modeled its efforts on the standards work of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Research Council. Indeed, several members of these earlier standards efforts are members of the ITEA working group.
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--> Strategies for Promoting and Implementing Vision 4 Executive and academic officers of postsecondary institutions can implement Vision 4 by Individual faculty and academic departments can implement Vision 4 by 4. Establishing an institutional ''hot line" telephone number or current events website to provide local teachers with information about departmental or campus-wide events involving SME&T speakers or other activities. 4. Employing discipline-based science teachers in the continuing education of fellow teachers. 5. Providing incentives for faculty from schools of education and SME&T departments to work together to develop both certification options for science majors and continuing education courses for teachers that specifically examine the NCTM's Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics and Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics, the National Science Education Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, Standards for Technology Education (in preparation), and state curriculum frameworks and how these can be implemented at various grade levels. 6. Making available financial resources to hire local master teachers as adjunct faculty to work with faculty in both schools of education and SME&T departments on improving pre-service education and in assessing student learning. for scientific discovery for K-12 science educators in the classroom, in laboratories, and in the field. Pre-service opportunities also could include classroom teachers and scientists working together with students through school/college partnerships. for scientific discovery for K-12 science educators in the classroom, in laboratories, and in the field. Pre-service opportunities also could include classroom teachers and scientist working together with students through school/college partnerships. Vision 5 All postsecondary institutions would provide the rewards and recognition, resources, tools, and infrastructure necessary to promote innovative and effective undergraduate SME&T teaching and learning. The central importance of offering high-quality introductory SME&T courses must be visibly recognized through appropriate recognition of and rewards to individual faculty and staff and, collectively, to departmental and other program units. If Vision 5 were to be realized, postsecondary institutions would recognize and appropriately reward faculty leaders and departments or program units that have introduced new teaching and learning methods into their courses and curricular programs. Modern tools (e.g., access to information technology) and other kinds of institutional support would be provided to faculty and staff who wanted to use these tools in their classrooms and laboratories. Well-staffed resource centers would be provided where faculty and students could obtain the latest information about alternative and effective teaching and learning techniques. These resource centers also would serve as sites for
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--> piloting new programs and practicing effective teaching and assessment activities. The authoring committee recognizes that implementing the visions of this report could require new funds or shifts in the allocation of resources. The costs involved may vary considerably from institution to institution. With the evidence and information provided in this report, the committee hopes to stimulate serious discussions at all higher education institutions that will take into account the need for new or reallocated resources to implement change. Strategies for Promotion and Implementing Vision 5 Executive and academic officers of postsecondary institutions can implement Vision 5 by Individual faculty and academic departments can implement Vision 5 by 1. Creating both general and discipline-based Teaching and Learning Centers that provide advice and technical support so that innovations can be implemented successfully; provide students with internships, assistantships, or fellowships to encourage input into the development of courses; and offer small grants to provide faculty with released time or other resources for particularly innovative SME&T course development that exceeds substantially the normal course preparation commitment. 1. Including a scholarly assessment of faculty participation in improving teaching and curriculum as one of the criteria for promotion, tenure, and other personnel decisions. 2. Providing incentives, including recognition, to individual faculty to upgrade their teaching skills and knowledge of educational issues by and/or facilities utilization. participating in programs at their institution's Teaching and Learning Center and in departmental or cross-disciplinary seminars and workshops. 2. Using a departmental vision and plan for curricular innovation to guide requests for space 3. Providing incentives, including institutional recognition and additional financial support, to departments and other program units that collectively work to improve teaching, student learning, and curricular offerings to meet the needs of all of their students. 3. Allocating space for students to work together in environments equipped with readily accessible visualization and computational tools. 4. Making easily accessible to the faculty new software useful for common tasks, including those associated with innovative SME&T courses. 4. Discussing case studies of innovative and effective practices in science and mathematics teaching as a routine part of departmental business. 5. Devising a comprehensive plan to update or replace computer hardware, software, and associated resources on a regular basis, 5. Discussing with colleagues information about effective teaching practices that is increasingly available on the World Wide Web. 6. Working to assess and meet institution-wide needs for space, equipment, and other resources needed to upgrade and improve the curriculum.
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--> Vision 6 Postsecondary institutions would provide quality experiences that encourage graduate and postdoctoral students, and especially those who aspire to careers as postsecondary faculty in SME&T disciplines, to become skilled teachers and current postsecondary faculty to acquire additional knowledge about how teaching methods affect student learning. Graduate degree programs should provide graduate and postdoctoral students with training in the pedagogical skills they need to teach undergraduates effectively in classroom, laboratory, and field settings. In adopting Vision 6, universities also would provide all faculty with resources and opportunities for continuing professional development, informal education, and professional interaction with their higher education colleagues to help faculty enhance their professional skills and expertise as teacher-scholars throughout their academic careers. The committee recognizes that not all of the recommendations and strategies for implementation provided above and in the main body of the report will be equally useful or applicable to all postsecondary institutions. Different institutional histories, patterns of governance, campus cultures, and efforts to date to improve undergraduate education may make some implementation strategies more useful than others for a given institution. For example, many of the strategies for implementing Vision 6 (changes in graduate and postdoctoral programs) will not apply to community colleges and four-year undergraduate institutions. However, the committee believes that most SME&T departments and institutions should be able to utilize or adopt many of the implementation strategies offered in the report. The committee also recommends that all SME&T programs at two- and four-year colleges and universities work with other professional schools on campus that have direct or indirect interests in SME&T education (e.g., education, medical, business, and law schools), with programs in the humanities and social sciences, and with SME&T departments at other institutions in their regions.
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--> Strategies for Promoting and Implementing Vision 6 Executive and academic officers of postsecondary institutions can implement Vision 6 by Individual faculty and academic departments can implement Vision 6 by 1. Working with graduate faculties to establish programs that integrate discussion of important current issues in teaching and learning while both faculty and graduate teaching assistants acquire new teaching skills. 1. Encouraging departments to offer graduate and postdoctoral students opportunities to improve their teaching skills in laboratories, classrooms, and in the field, even when such activities might compete with time dedicated to individual research. 2. Establishing arrangements with community colleges, other undergraduate institutions, and K12 schools that allow graduate and postdoctoral students to experience teaching at these types of schools. 2. Serving as role models and mentors for graduate and postdoctoral students interested in pursuing careers in K-12 or postsecondary teaching. 3. Providing infrastructure that encourages graduate student and faculty access to publications, videos, and other materials that address the improvement of undergraduate teaching. 3. Asking invited speakers at departmental colloquia to discuss briefly aspects of their teaching as a routine part of the introduction to their scientific work or educational research. 4. Encouraging appropriate academic departments and campus service units to assist graduates with preparing summaries of their work in a form accessible to the general public. 4. Reserving time at department meetings to discuss participation of graduate students in curriculum, assessment, and other educational issues. 5. As part of the interview process, asking faculty candidates to present a general lecture to undergraduates on a topic selected by the department or program or to give a pedagogical seminar to faculty and graduate students that discusses some aspect of teaching.
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