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--> Appendix A: Overview of the Committee on Undergraduate Science Education's Regional Symposia and Topical Forums Regional Symposium Series and Topical Forums: Introduction On April 9-11, 1995, the National Research Council (NRC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) jointly hosted a national convocation, "From Analysis to Action: Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology," at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Over the next 18 months, the NRC's Committee on Undergraduate Science Education (CUSE) capitalized on the intellectual energy generated by that convocation and report (From Analysis to Action, National Research Council, 1996a) and by the subsequent release by NSF of Shaping the Future (National Science Foundation, 1996b) by sponsoring four one-day regional symposia and 10 one-day topical forums. These meetings were designed to advance and extend to a larger audience the national discussion about improving undergraduate science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SME&T) education. With financial support from the Exxon Education Foundation, the committee worked with universities, scientific associations, and corporations to ensure that the symposia and topical forums were attended by a broad cross section of constituents vested in the issues under discussion. CUSE's goals for the meetings were to articulate new ideas for improving undergraduate SME&T education and to expand on strategies that encourage implementation of the recommendations contained in the NRC and NSF reports. Members of CUSE did not expect the one-day meetings to lead to major breakthroughs in addressing the challenge of increasing science literacy. Rather, the symposia and topical forums were designed to elicit information and perspectives from a wider spectrum of the SME&T higher education community than had participated in the April 1995 convocation in Washington. The meetings also were intended to catalyze and encourage ongoing dialogue among educators, administrators, and higher education policy makers about the need for greater scientific literacy in American undergraduate students. The symposia and topical forums were very effective in drawing attention to a set of issues that rarely had received sufficient attention during previous meetings attended by a wide range of stakeholders in higher education. During the CUSE-sponsored events, participants expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to interact with colleagues from local, regional, and state postsecondary institutions with highly variable educational missions. They were eager to share their concerns and challenges about undergraduate SME&T education and to report on and discuss informally promising courses and programs. The discussion of issues and the sharing of information during these events helped CUSE formulate the vision statements that form the body of this report. Therefore, references are made here to specific sections of the report, and, likewise, references are made in the main report to the roles and contributions of the regional symposia and topical forums.
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--> Summarized below are the structure, demographics, main themes, and topics of the symposia, first, then of the topical forums. Both the regional symposiums and the topical forums were exceedingly important in helping the members of CUSE to identify and analyze the most important issues that must be confronted by those who wish to improve undergraduate SME&T education. The wealth of ideas that emerged from the hundreds of participants served as the basis for the vision statements and strategies for implementation that are included in this report. Participants' commitment to sustainable improvement of undergraduate SME&T education surely will be critical to the success of subsequent efforts. Regional Symposium Series: Structure and Demographics The four symposia were held in different regions of the United States and hosted by a variety of institutions, organizations, and agencies from the academic, business, and government sectors. The dates, locations, and hosts of the symposia are listed in Table 1. Invitations and announcements for the four symposia were disseminated to attract participation from a broader spectrum of stakeholders in the SME&T education community than could be present at the national convocation held in Washington in April of 1995. Before each symposium, registrants received copies of the reports, From Analysis to Action and Shaping the Future to provide a common context for discussions at the symposia. Registrants also were polled about the recommendations in From Analysis to Action. The recommendations of most interest to registrants for any given symposium were then highlighted for discussion, and registrants were so notified. The committee also asked registrants to share information or visions for overcoming obstacles to implementing the recommendations in the report. The agendas for each symposium also included other issues identified by the registrants as critical for improving undergraduate science education. Attendance at each symposium ranged from 101 to 145 participants. Registrants included SME&T faculty, postsecondary institution administrators, K-12 teachers, business leaders, representatives from federal and state education agencies, and executives and program officers from public and private foundations. Appendix B lists the institutional affiliations of participants (pg. 88). Regional Symposia: General Themes The national convocation in Washington featured an "Options for Action" structure that allowed participants to discuss and recommend to the convocation organizers various strategies for overcoming barriers to improving undergraduate SME&T education. The committee adopted a similar structure for the regional symposia, with discussions TABLE 1 DATES, LOCATIONS, AND HOSTS OF THE FOUR REGIONAL SYMPOSIA Date Location Host October 16, 1995 Ann Arbor, Michigan University of Michigan November 10, 1995 Waltham, Massachusetts GTE Laboratories January 19, 1996 Houston, Texas Johnson Space Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration February 1, 1996 Claremont, California Pomona College
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--> focused around three themes: "Options for Action for Students," "Options for Action for Faculty," and "Options for Action for Institutions.'' Symposia discussions of these themes are synthesized and summarized below. Topics that received the most attention tended to be national in scope. Topics emphasized at a particular regional meeting are delineated as such. Discussion points are summarized to convey the breadth of issues covered at the meetings. At all of the regional symposia, participants raised many common issues regarding the current state of science education in the United States. They included issues that have been noted in previous reports on education, beginning with A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). These served as gambits for the general discussion that followed about how to improve undergraduate SME&T education. Once participants had raised several initial sub themes and issues, they proceeded to discuss solutions as well as obstacles likely to be encountered. Main topics that were raised repeatedly appear in boldfaced type. Theme I: Options for Action for Students Registrants often began discussions under this theme by commenting that the mediocre science and mathematics preparation of many incoming college students may be impeding their readiness to pursue SME&T courses as undergraduates. Participants also felt that students seem reluctant to tackle challenging SME&T subjects in college. Attendees remarked on the general lack of motivation and diligence among students, including students in upper-division courses who are SME&T majors. At each symposium, some participants speculated on whether appropriate pre-college preparation for SME&T education could be prescribed (see text related to Vision 1). There was discussion about faculty establishing informal guidelines in collaboration with college admissions offices that would indicate the level of mathematical and scientific knowledge and skills that entering students would need to go on successfully to complete lower-division undergraduate SME&T courses. The mention of guidelines led to discussions of the impact of national and state K-12 mathematics and science education standards and curriculum frameworks now—and in the future—on the background and interest levels of incoming SME&T students. Participants at the symposium in Houston were particularly concerned about how the pre-college preparation of students might affect the postsecondary community (see also "Theme II: Options for Action for Faculty" below for further discussion of K-12 standards). Participants in all of the regional symposia seemed to agree that the level of preparation in SME&T for most incoming college students is inadequate, and they raised the issue of what the postsecondary system could or should do to assuage the problem. Participants asked how enterprising universities should be in attracting to the natural sciences students whose incoming skill levels are weak. In discussing the level of preparation of today's students to undertake college-level work in SME&T, participants seemed particularly concerned with recurring evidence of the lack of access and exposure to high-quality pre-college SME&T education for some students, particularly those from groups historically underrepresented in these disciplines. Discussions of how to address this issue tended to differ by region. Participants' concepts of and ideas about equity, access, and exposure also emerged. Some of the participants pointed to the need for each postsecondary institution to develop a coherent, focused plan to improve SME&T education that includes informal linkages with K-12 education. Such partnerships would forge a more cohesive and synchronous SME&T educational continuum for grades K-16. At the symposium in Claremont, participants whose institutions have been affected by judicially or
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--> legislatively mandated dismantling of affirmative action programs indicated a high level of concern about the potential impact of these actions on K-12 education and students' access to college. Participants commented that it would be helpful if entities such as the NRC or the NSF could identify programs that successfully motivate and support women and minorities to move through the science and engineering "pipelines" at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Another topic discussed at all the symposia was high school Advanced Placement (AP) courses in science and mathematics (see additional text on this topic in Vision 1, beginning on page 22). Some participants questioned whether AP courses are beneficial for students. They observed that by allowing students to be exempted from college-level courses, AP courses in mathematics and science may interfere with the goal of producing more scientifically literate students. Simply stated, students who receive high scores on AP exams and place out of college graduation requirements in mathematics or science as undergraduates will not benefit from innovative efforts to improve technological and scientific literacy among college students. When asked to compare the quality of introductory undergraduate SME&T courses with AP courses, many participants in all of the symposia expressed cautious satisfaction with the organization and structure of postsecondary courses for declared SME&T majors. However, some participants noted studies showing some student dissatisfaction with these courses (e.g., Seymour and Hewitt, 1997), and it was suggested that administrators, faculty, and other interested constituents review how they could be better organized and presented. This suggestion typically led to a discussion of requirements for SME&T majors (see additional discussion of this topic in the report, beginning on page 26). Participants remarked that it might be counterproductive to isolate students majoring in SME&T from creative reform efforts aimed at non-majors. Some participants suggested that reforms being instituted in introductory SME&T courses for non-majors would likely offer valuable insights into how to revamp upper-level SME&T courses for majors. Participants expressed great interest in infusing genuine inquiry-based undergraduate research opportunities into the science curriculum, particularly in introductory courses. Many participants stated that it is problematic to provide hands-on opportunities that mirror genuine scientific experiences only to students who reach upper-division courses because "late bloomers" in SME&T could become discouraged while waiting for such opportunities. Also at risk are students who demonstrate an initial enthusiasm for science but then lose it while taking the typical undergraduate progression of courses. Participants did mention constraints imposed by accreditation boards and disciplinary societies as a barrier to innovation in courses for majors. Also discussed was the importance of including representatives from accreditation boards in departmental and other meetings when reform measures are discussed. In discussing requirements for non-science majors, many participants agreed that the lower-division undergraduate curriculum for non-science majors needs reshaping and revitalizing. They also recognized that a major barrier to this revitalization is ambiguity about what non-science majors should know, understand, and appreciate about SME&T. Which content is essential? What attitudes and perceptions are particularly harmful or useful? Participants wondered whether teaching style needed to be considered when developing appropriate content. Attendees recognized that these questions interfaced with the issue of standards for postsecondary SME&T education. Because universities and colleges have diverse missions and the overwhelming majority of faculty highly value this institutional heterogeneity, standards-setting across the postsecondary environment was seen as too challenging, too threatening, and, ultimately, too unprofitable to be pursued.
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--> Some participants questioned whether it was in anyone's best interest to isolate or segregate majors from non-majors in lower-division courses. This discussion complemented comments about the preparation of students for interdisciplinary or science teaching careers at the pre-college level and how this preparation would benefit from dismantling the separation of courses for SME&T majors and non-majors. Many participants in the symposium at Waltham thought that interdisciplinary undergraduate courses offered great promise either to invigorate (in the case of incoming students) or to reinvigorate (in the case of students already enrolled) interest in SME&T. However, some participants at this regional symposium were especially concerned about the many obstacles to creating such courses. In addition to the issue of interdisciplinary course work, some participants were keenly interested in the preparation of students for careers in SME&T, including as future pre-college teachers (see additional discussion of this topic in the section on Vision 4 in the report). One question was, what can universities do to convince faculty in undergraduate science departments to bring their courses more in synchrony with the national K-12 mathematics and science standards and to model teaching styles that would be effective for standards-based teaching at the pre-college level. Participants also wondered how discipline-based professors could be encouraged to recognize their tremendous influence on future teachers to the degree that they would then become more inclined to incorporate important aspects of the mathematics and science standards into their curriculum and classroom practice. Finally, many participants expressed a strong frustration with what could be characterized as societal issues and challenges—issues such as students' inability to think or reason independently or to maintain motivation and interest in subject matter. While concrete suggestions for combating these types of barriers were not offered, some participants conjectured that standards-based reform could have a positive impact. Discovery-oriented learning environments and technology-based instruction might positively influence this area as well. All participants expressed hope that multimedia instruction might assist in increasing or at least maintaining student interest and motivation in SME&T. Depending on their perspective, many participants were upbeat about the new skills the mathematics and science standards could help students acquire. In particular, many expected the standards to ensure competence in mathematics and reading comprehension (assuming that the standards backlash is neutralized), and stated that this would overcome many of the problems with incoming students identified in the opening discussions. Theme II: Options for Action for Faculty Faculty issues elicited a less vigorous discussion at these four symposia than issues perceived to be student-related (see "Theme I: Options for Action for Students"). A major faculty issue that arose dealt with balancing teaching and research and how these two aspects of a faculty member's responsibilities could be better integrated. Participants were keenly aware that the pedagogy employed in classrooms should be informed by educational research just as is the content covered in SME&T disciplines. It was recognized, however, that faculty are encumbered by many demands and that undertaking pedagogical studies or attending to pedagogical research literature are frequently postponed activities. Participants considered ways to make effective hands-on laboratory experiences available in lower-division courses without significantly increasing the number of personnel required to do so. There was particular interest in fostering an environment that encouraged faculty to create curricula using multiple media and to experiment with new technologies for more effective teaching. Throughout the symposium series, many attendees saw information technology as a liberating tool
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--> for many faculty and one that presaged more creativity in the structuring and delivery of SME&T courses. Beyond their general enthusiasm for increased use of information technology in postsecondary SME&T curriculum, participants recognized that what constitutes effective use has not yet been well defined. A final concern expressed was how to expand cooperative learning skills in the undergraduate science and engineering classes. Participants also broached the subject of preparation and development of SME&T professionals (see discussion of these topics in the Vision 6 section of the report). Discussions centered on preparing doctoral candidates for leadership roles at community colleges or in teaching lower-division SME&T courses for non-majors. Participants noted that tackling the challenges of supply and demand for Ph.D. positions is problematic, as well as investigating alternative, creative career paths available to SME&T majors outside of academia (see also National Research Council, 1995b). Symposia participants also raised, but did not discuss at length, another issue of concern to many of them—how to assess and evaluate accurately and fairly the teaching performance of faculty.35 Theme III: Options for Action for Institutions Participants acknowledged and confirmed that chancellors, presidents, provosts, and other high-level administrators representing the interests of their institutions are essential partners in implementing any plans to improve the science literacy of the general postsecondary student population. Attendees agreed that some issues related to modernizing the teaching of SME&T disciplines must be under the purview of administrators, including recognition and reward structure. The need to change the traditional faculty reward structure so that it encourages faculty to manage their teaching duties more responsibly and effectively was a commonly heard refrain. Many participants agreed that executive and academic officers of postsecondary institutions must decide on a plan of action to align recognition and rewards with a more equitable set of expectations for research, teaching, and service. They observed that, in a balanced reward structure, research contributions would not compensate for teaching inadequacy. The majority of attendees felt that, at the very least, institutional administrators must champion the implicit obligation of faculty to teach undergraduate SME&T students well. As described in the previous section ("Theme II: Options for Action for Faculty"), participants proposed implementation of more hands-on activities in lower-division SME&T courses but also felt that administrative involvement was important. Several participants strongly encouraged administrators to make available the resources needed to allow faculty to provide more inquiry-based laboratory experiences to all students. Participants stated that the excitement of offering such an approach for more introductory students might, in turn, inspire increased faculty enthusiasm. Greater student engagement and greater student competence in SME&T might be the ultimate rewards. Another proposal for administrators that also received general support throughout the symposium series centered on postsecondary institutions engaging in K-12 and industry partnerships. It was suggested that administrators could play a greater role in motivating and rewarding individual faculty and program units to establish partnerships with K-12 schools or industry. The goals would include helping K-12 schools locally and regionally to align with national and their state's standards for mathematics and science; 35 The NRC's Committee on Undergraduate Science Education will oversee a project to examine special circumstances related to the evaluation of teaching by SME&T faculty and how such evaluations might be tied to student learning outcomes and continuing professional development. Additional information about this project will be available in late 1998 from the NAS Main Web Page under "Current Projects," as well as from the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education's home page, <www2.nas.edu/center/>
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--> championing the effective incorporation of information technology into the K-12 SME&T curriculum; strengthening the access of all pre-college students, including minorities and women, to K-12 SME&T courses; seeking out and initiating partnerships, summer internships, or activities beyond the school environment to update the skills and knowledge of pre-college teachers in the SME&T disciplines. Attendees speculated about industry's opinion of the content of undergraduate SME&T courses and the knowledge and skills that industry expects or would like graduates to possess. A small number of business and industry representatives attended the symposia, so these questions were not answered definitively. However, some representatives suggested that, where feasible, postsecondary institutions involve industry in education discussions. Finally, many participants acknowledged that funding issues in relation to education reform (see discussion of Vision 5 in the report) are a perpetual challenge for institutional administrators. Nonetheless, many participants felt it was extremely important for executives within postsecondary institutions to examine and implement many of the suggestions raised during the symposium series for improving undergraduate SME&T education. Participants urged administrators to accept assistance and guidance from faculty in what they projected to be a long and time-consuming process. Regional Symposium Series: Conclusion As revealed in the summaries given above, the symposium series was very useful in catalyzing broad conversations among a diverse set of education representatives interested in improving K-12 and undergraduate SME&T education. Attendees at all four symposia touched on many of the daunting challenges postsecondary institutions face in the current era of reform. These include educating all students to become more scientifically literate, incorporating valuable and realistic scientific experiences into undergraduate SME&T courses, and balancing rewards and recognition for faculty among their primary responsibilities of research, teaching, and community service. Participants in all four of the symposia showed keen interest in having postsecondary institutions clearly and forcefully articulate renewed commitment to teaching and a judicious appreciation for innovation and research by faculty who are trying to become better teachers. Finally, participants stated their strong appreciation for networking opportunities offered by meetings such as the regional symposium series. Participants noted that such meetings encourage interactions between constituents from diverse educational communities and perspectives, permitting discovery of common concerns, solutions, achievements, and the sharing of information, experiences, and findings. Institutions such as the NRC and sponsors such as the NSF and Exxon Education Foundation were urged to continue hosting meetings such as these symposia to continue regional dialogues about improving SME&T education. Topical Forums: Overview The 10 one-day topical forums were held after the four regional symposia. CUSE designed the forums to explore more specific issues in undergraduate SME&T education with a variety of scientific and educational audiences. The symposium series was an opportunity for a broader constituency to initiate discussions on issues associated with making scientific literacy a priority for all undergraduates. Host organizations for the forums assisted CUSE in identifying topics for discussion and in formulating agendas. CUSE members helped focus the topical forums to give participants opportunities to devise practical solutions to overcome those
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--> barriers identified or discussed in the regional symposia. Where possible, CUSE revisited the issues raised in the symposia series to gain as broad a perspective as possible for articulating the visions and strategies for implementation found in this report. Topical Forums: Structure and Demographics The 10 topical forums were conducted between October 10, 1996 and May 1, 1997. Forum dates, topics, hosting organizations, locations, and number of participants are given in Table 2. For nine of the forums, participants were asked to pre-register, although some people attended who had not. The forum held at the annual meeting of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography was announced in the meeting program, and participants were not asked to pre-register. Attendance at the topical forums was more variable than at the regional symposia (see Table 2 for attendance figures). Many of the forums were held in conjunction with annual or regional meetings of professional associations and societies, as professional development activities on university campuses, or, in one instance, via a multi-site video conference link as a cooperative activity with the Florida State Department of Education. Because of the diverse agendas for the different forums, attendance ranged from 15 to 125 participants, and the length of time for these sessions ranged from one hour to a full day. Wherever possible and appropriate, invitations were extended to people outside the hosting organization, such as local K-12 teachers, business leaders, federal and state education representatives, and foundation executives. The partnerships formed between CUSE and the organizations that hosted each of topical forums gave committee members additional opportunities to engage postsecondary educators and administrators in discussions about changes needed in postsecondary education and factors that may be impeding such changes. Indeed, by scheduling some of these forums in conjunction with other types of activities, such as annual meetings, CUSE was able to engage people from the SME&T community who were unable—or otherwise might not have elected—to participate in the regional symposia. Topical Forums: Synopses A synopsis of each forum is presented below, grouped into one of three categories: forums hosted by 1) Professional Organizations and Associations, 2) Universities, and 3) a State Educational Organization. Each synopsis contains cross-references to the specific visions contained in the body of this report. Forums Hosted by Professional Organizations and Associations National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM): This half-day forum was held in conjunction with a regional meeting of the NCTM. It focused on communication between SME&T faculty and faculty in schools of education in creating and fostering effective interdisciplinary courses that complement educational goals articulated in K-12 mathematics and science standards (see additional discussion in the section on Vision 2 in the report). As a result of similar discussions at the regional symposium hosted by GTE, this topical forum highlighted effective interdisciplinary programs and collaborations among faculty in different kinds of postsecondary institutions.36 The forum also gave participants the time and opportunity to consider the characteristics of a successful interdisciplinary program. The intention was to encourage forum participants to replicate similar courses at their own institutions. Forum participants—both SME&T and education faculty—acknowledged that interdisciplinary courses can be very challenging 36 Courses highlighted at this forum have been taught at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Kansas State University, and the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
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--> TABLE 2 DATES, TOPICS, HOSTING ORGANIZATIONS, LOCATIONS, AND NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS OF THE TEN TOPICAL FORUMS Date Forum Topic Host Location and Number of Participants October 10, 1996 Productive Partnerships: Collaborations between Science, Mathematics, and Education Faculty for the Improvement of Teacher Education National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Meeting Kansas City, MO 13 participants October 15, 1996 Involving Research Faculty in the Reform of Undergraduate Science Education University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 53 participants November 8, 1996 Minority Access and Recruitment in the Sciences City University of New York, Medgar Evers College Brooklyn, NY 60 participants November 4, 1996 Implications of Standards-based Education for Introductory College Science Courses Florida Department of Education Tampa, FL (7 sites) 269 participants total November 18, 1996 Developing Scientific Literacy through Environmental Science Courses and Programs Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Washington, DC 16 participants December 14, 1996 Addressing the Needs of the Workplace in Earth Science Classes American Geophysical Union San Francisco, CA 24 participants December 28, 1996 Implications of the National Science Education Standards for Teacher Preparation National Science Teachers Association's "Global Summit on Science and Science Education" San Francisco, CA 30 participants February 9,1997 Limnology and Oceanography: Meeting the Needs of Non-Science Majors in Introductory Courses American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Santa Fe, NM 21 participants January 28, 1997 Strategies for Developing Interdisciplinary Courses for Non-Science Majors University of Washington System Seattle, WA 87 participants May, 1, 1997 Integration of Pedagogy and Content Courses for Future Teachers Center for Education and Equity in Mathematics, Science, and Technology, California State Polytechnic Institute Pomona, CA 35 participants
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--> to organize, implement, and maintain. After examining the characteristics of successful interdisciplinary programs, forum participants engaged in an active investigation of the steps required to produce similar programs to meet the needs of a wider range of students, including science majors and K-12 teaching majors. Featured at this forum were comprehensive, introductory courses designed to bridge the natural sciences and humanities. They reflected, in part, national standards in mathematics and science. Participants in the forum were urged to view such courses as an effective way to impress upon students—especially prospective K-12 teachers—the importance and significance of SME&T in their lives (a perspective that would later be reflected in Vision 2 of this report). Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry: This forum was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of this society, and several CUSE members attended to conduct a half-day break-out session. Entitled "Developing Scientific Literacy through Environmental Science Courses and Programs," the session provided an opportunity for members of CUSE to interact with environmental scientists on ways to enhance the general scientific literacy of environmental science students (see this discussion of Vision 2 in this report). Participants reviewed environmental science programs from different postsecondary institutions, including several being taught at the University of Oklahoma, as follows: "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment" (Department of Philosophy), "Environmental Policy and Administration" (Energy Center), ''Environmental Evaluation and Management" (School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science), "The Ecology of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean" (Department of Classics), and "Principles of Plant Ecology" (Department of Botany). Another course, "Environmental Science," offered at Trinity College in Washington, DC, also was examined. Participants then discussed the creation of additional programs for non-science majors that would link environmental concepts in interesting, informative, and creative ways. American Geophysical Union: This half-day forum was conducted as a workshop that used earth science and geological exploration as the basis for discussion. Participants identified various skills that their students are expected to master in undergraduate courses and that might be needed in the modern work environment. Conversation centered mainly on skills for science majors, although participants noted that students with other interests and career aspirations also need many of these skills. The skills identified included • Ability to undertake scientific inquiry Define a scientific question Plan a way to answer the question scientifically Use scientific equipment Analyze data Interpret results • Ability to create products of scientific inquiry—data Maintain an organized and detailed laboratory notebook Develop data sets Produce diagrams that allow students to relate variables to one another • Ability to communicate the product of the scientific inquiry-oral reports Organize presentations for coherence and conciseness Effectively present data and conclusions Prepare visual aids Syntax and grammar • Ability to communicate the product of the scientific inquiry—written reports Organize presentations for coherence and conciseness Effectively present data and conclusions
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--> Interpret data Prepare written reports of high quality, using proper English Prepare illustrations By using such criteria, participants felt that faculty could structure classroom assignments to provide students with the skills they must learn to become educated people and to satisfy SME&T employers. The practical discussion that took place during the workshop presaged Vision 2 of this report-making science an integral and integrated part of students' college experience. National Science Teachers Association (NSTA): This forum was held in conjunction with NSTA's "Global Summit on Science and Science Education." Participants collectively reflected on the changing emphases in content, teaching, assessment, and professional development that can be expected as the National Science Education Standards and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics are adopted and implemented. Many of the suggestions and comments that arose during this forum mirrored those from the symposium series and influenced almost all of the vision statements and rationales offered in the body of this report. Many participants in this forum recognized the importance of teaching science content courses well. By entrusting introductory and gateway courses to faculty members with exceptional teaching ability, colleges and universities can help ensure that all students are exposed to important concepts as well as to the processes of SME&T that are critical to enhancing scientific literacy and lifelong learning. A corollary raised by participants was that colleges and universities also must encourage and support faculty in their own pursuit of lifelong learning and scholarship. Another important issue raised at this forum involves the role and responsibility of SME&T faculty at all types of institutions to prepare prospective K-12 teachers of science and mathematics. Because this is such a vital but often overlooked role of faculty in SME&T disciplines and because the mathematics and science standards encourage an inquiry-based style of teaching, future teacher candidates should be encouraged to teach science to younger children. They could do so by engaging in innovative practicum experiences and other activities as part of their own pre-service educational experience. Furthermore, once new teachers have acquired basic skills and knowledge in these approaches to teaching, they—as well as more experienced teachers—must be afforded additional, extensive in-service training within school districts throughout their professional careers. Participants at this forum recommended that classes where future teachers practice their teaching be small enough to encourage innovation, creativity, and risk-taking. However, some participants cautioned that new and additional assessment tools are still needed to gauge learning that is consistent with the goals and approaches of the current K-12 science and mathematics education standards. (See additional discussion of these topics in the section on Vision 5 in the report.) Participants at this forum also discussed the level of preparation expected of entering students (reflected in Vision 1), providing innovative interdisciplinary courses that spark students' interest in a variety of educational pathways (reflected in Vision 2), and systematic evaluation of courses (reflected in Vision 3). Participants also mentioned the need to change incentives and rewards for innovative teaching (reflected in Vision 5) that would, in part, lead to improved programs for preparing prospective K-12 teachers of mathematics and science (reflected in Vision 4). American Society of Limnology and Oceanography: This topical forum took place in conjunction with the society's annual meeting. The conversation at this forum focused on how to tailor introductory courses to enhance the scientific literacy of students. Participants agreed that a primary
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--> goal of all SME&T courses should be to teach students about the scientific method. Forum participants agreed that understanding this fundamental way of thinking about science would enhance students' general scientific literacy and their ability to understand specific scientific issues more clearly. Attendees also agreed that hands-on experiences generated via field trips are effective in realizing this goal. Participants suggested that by using familiar societal concerns (e.g., an environmental issue on or near the campus) as starting points, science courses, particularly those for non-science majors, could be enhanced. Such concerns could then lead to exploration of which scientific principles are needed to understand and address the issues. Forum participants also indicated that central repositories of information, such as websites that provide useful information for non-science majors in introductory courses, could also be very useful to faculty members who are interested in revamping and revitalizing their courses. Useful resources that could be disseminated in this fashion include laboratory exercises, video clips, case studies, other useful web pages, examples of "bad science," and information about how scientific understanding about some issue or problem develops and evolves.37 Attendees called for the realignment of faculty rewards and recognition at postsecondary institutions to recognize those faculty who have redesigned their courses in innovative ways, especially those courses aimed at non-science majors. Finally, forum registrants encouraged postsecondary institutions to make graduate teaching assistantships more prestigious. The value and relevance of teaching assistantships to graduate students would be emphasized by collaborative workshops for scientists, teaching assistants, and K-12 teachers and broad distribution of resources on effective teaching strategies. Professional societies also could influence the national undergraduate SME&T reform effort and add to the prestige and distinction of teaching by sponsoring educational sessions at regional and national conferences, collaborating with other professional societies (Project Kaleidoscope, 1998), and seeking new and innovative ways to encourage teaching excellence at the postsecondary level. Forums Hosted by Universities University of Texas at Austin: During this half-day seminar, faculty were encouraged to recognize their obligations and contributions to teaching. Forum leaders noted that high-quality, innovative approaches to teaching can inspire SME&T majors and other students alike to appreciate and value these subjects. As one participant observed, "Individuals can appreciate science without being a scientist, just as individuals can appreciate art or music without being an artist or musician. However, both scientists and non-scientists need a cultural basis for understanding theory and scientific phenomena." Included in this general discussion of improving SME&T courses for both majors and non-majors was a call for SME&T faculty to present their courses as they practice their professions. Because research universities wield such great influence over the rewards and recognition structures typically found in the postsecondary community, participants in this forum pointed out that research universities also could have a great deal of influence over the improvement of teaching in their own institutions and elsewhere. Participants agreed that faculty and administrators in research universities carry an enormous responsibility because they either can perpetuate or change the current balance of rewards and recognition for teaching, research, and service. Participants concluded that creating a more scientifically literate citizenry is such a worthy goal that faculty must acknowledge the pivotal role of introductory SME&T courses in preparing students for technologically 37 The National Science Foundation is beginning to address the need for such a resource. See footnote on page 36 of this report for additional information.
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--> challenging careers and commit to improving them for all of their lower-division undergraduate students. Acknowledging that such changes will require shifts in the culture of research universities, participants in this forum offered several straightforward suggestions, including the following: Researchers should highlight their teaching during guest lectures or when speaking at their own or other institutions. Researchers should ask guest speakers and lecturers at professional conferences and other academic events to convey information about their teaching. At least one departmental research seminar in a colloquium series could be devoted to a discussion of educational issues and pedagogy. Such a meeting also could be constructed to inform faculty of the most current research on science teaching, as well as K-12 education reform efforts. SME&T faculty could engage in greater collaboration with colleagues in their institution's school of education. A good beginning would be inviting education faculty to meetings of SME&T departments to inform SME&T faculty about best teaching practices. Because research SME&T faculty have the best perspectives of the "cutting edge of knowledge" in their disciplines, they could collaborate with education faculty who are knowledgeable about pedagogy and methodology. Together, these faculty could design exciting and modern courses and programs. To enhance their ability to teach diverse student populations, faculty at research universities could collaborate with their colleagues at two-year colleges, who generally have developed greater expertise in this area. Such collaboration also would benefit faculty at two-year colleges by increasing their exposure to cutting edge research that could be incorporated into their courses. Discussion at this University of Texas forum also centered around two other positive outcomes of excellent teaching: the expectation of increased scientific literacy among all students and the creation of the next generation of K-12 teachers. The forum informed many of the vision statements in this report, predominantly Visions 4, 5, and 6. In addition, discussion at this forum about the role of university faculty in preparing prospective K-12 teachers to teach SME&T in a style commensurate with national mathematics and science standards is reflected in Vision 1. Medgar Evers College (City University of New York): The theme for this day-long workshop aimed at community college personnel was how to weave SME&T into the required undergraduate curriculum so that all students could become more scientifically literate. Participants discussed several critical barriers that discourage and often prevent minority and other underrepresented students from pursuing SME&T courses. Strategies to remove those barriers also were discussed. Participants at this forum believed that introductory SME&T courses should be both gateways to careers in SME&T and to general literacy in these subjects. Attendees recognized that two-year colleges could and should play an important role in attracting students from diverse backgrounds to higher education. Indeed, as the demographics of the United States continue to change over the next century, some participants suggested that the expertise two-year colleges have in meeting the needs of a diverse student population would be instructive to four-year colleges and universities. For example, low-income students often need to work to support themselves through college or have familial obligations that impinge on study time but should not be permitted to thwart their educational goals. Furthermore, these students often cannot afford to take more than the minimum number of science courses unless they expect to major in a SME&T discipline. Therefore, the SME&T courses that
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--> they do take should be rigorous, emphasize the interrelationships among disciplines, incorporate information technology effectively, and include an inquiry-based laboratory experience. This expectation would enable students to become scientifically literate and to pursue a B.S. or beyond at four-year colleges or universities. In addition, prospective teachers, many of whom begin and sometimes complete their SME&T requirements at two-year colleges, would be better prepared to conduct standards-based teaching at the K-12 level. Participants emphasized that, to meet these goals, increased dialogue and collaboration between all the higher education institutions is important and, indeed, necessary. An enduring challenge for postsecondary faculty, and especially those at two-year colleges, is addressing shortcomings in the educational backgrounds of entering students. This problem can have an impact on advising, career focus and aspirations, and retention of students. Participants agreed strongly that postsecondary institutions must, as central priorities, commit both to recruiting and admitting motivated students and to instituting programs that improve the likelihood of retaining those students throughout their undergraduate careers. Colleges and universities should admit capable students and then nurture them toward graduation and fulfillment of their professional and personal goals. In addition, they stated that university faculty cannot simply dismiss the present weaknesses of the pre-college educational system. Rather, faculty must consider methods to impart remedial and college-level information and skills quickly and engagingly so that students remain enrolled in SME&T courses and perhaps even elect to major in a SME&T discipline. Participants agreed that introductory courses could be constructed to fill gaps in knowledge and understanding that students bring to college from the high schools. Participants also suggested that partnerships be built between high schools, two-year colleges, four-year colleges, community-based organizations, and industry to make education a seamless process. One participant reported that, at Medgar Evers College (a four-year campus of CUNY that offers both associate and baccalaureate degrees), the restructuring of calculus, physics, and chemistry courses into a workshop format has helped retain minority students. In addition, once students have completed the course, they then serve as workshop leaders for other students. Also, an on-campus learning center provides tutoring, collaboration, and information about career opportunities and presentation skills, as well as acts as a home base for students who need supplemental instruction. Medgar Evers faculty and administrators see the learning center not as a remediation resource but as providing an alternative method of teaching and learning that has benefited their students. Students at two-year colleges who seek careers in teaching, especially those who will teach in the primary grades, may take all of their required courses in science and mathematics before transferring to a four-year institution. Therefore, the quality and diversity of SME&T courses at two-year colleges strongly influences what knowledge and skills they take to teaching but also whether students decide to continue to take SME&T courses at a four-year institution and thus become eligible for secondary teaching certification. For both primary and secondary grade teachers, two-year colleges play a critical role in teacher preparation.38 In light of this, it was suggested that prospective teachers at two-year institutions could become involved in peer communities, where they could discuss issues related to teaching and provide encouragement to one other. Another suggestion was that students could become involved in professional activities to more closely link them to faculty mentors and help them build bridges between the academic and professional communities. Finally, participants noted that students need assistance in securing positions that can provide both meaningful work and income. 38 Also see reference in this report to the Virginia Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers article on the role of two-year colleges in the preparation of future K-12 teachers of mathematics and science.
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--> University of Washington System (UW): This forum, held at UW in Seattle, focused on identifying strategies to create interdisciplinary courses within the SME&T disciplines. A panel briefly discussed issues and opportunities in developing interdisciplinary courses, then participants divided into four break out groups to discuss strategies for developing different kinds of interdisciplinary courses that would launch students towards greater scientific literacy and lifelong learning. Attendees also considered possible institutional impediments to the development of such courses. The four areas considered by these break out groups were capstone courses, courses for non-majors, courses for future K-12 teachers, and courses for undergraduates completing general education requirements in SME&T. The plenary was then reconvened to share ideas and conclusions from the break out sessions. Common issues that have an impact on the creation of interdisciplinary courses were identified by all four break out groups. For example, how to allocate credit to participating departments was identified as a barrier to the creation of interdisciplinary courses. Because students are required to take certain courses, they may be precluded from taking interdisciplinary courses. Students and their advisors also might perceive interdisciplinary courses to be more demanding or, conversely, less rigorous than required courses in traditional subject areas. To overcome these problems, attendees recommended that advocates of interdisciplinary courses strive for buy-in from academic advisors, all the science departments, registrars, and perhaps even from the institution's office of student affairs. Most participants agreed that another important variable in creating successful interdisciplinary courses is the personal compatibility of faculty members who work together in the effort. Building camaraderie, particularly when courses involve faculty from different departments, takes time but is nonetheless vital to forging a coherent, focused interdisciplinary course or program that can synthesize and achieve multiple academic goals. Discussion from this forum informed the creation of Visions 2, 3, and 5 of this report. California State Polytechnic University (CSPU): Participants at this topical forum sponsored by CSPU's Center for Education and Equity in Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Pomona considered 1) ways to develop working relationships between SME&T and education faculty in the preparation of teachers and 2) effective collaborations among SME&T faculty, education faculty, and K-12 schools. To promote effective collaboration among such a diverse set of faculty stakeholders, participants urged universities to provide more recognition and rewards to faculty who focus on improving education. Attendees also suggested that postsecondary institutions could enhance teaching and learning in both SME&T departments and schools of education by offering joint appointments for qualified faculty so that they would have credibility and influence in both the SME&T and education communities. Others suggested that real improvement will require a "triad" approach that encourages student teachers, master teachers, and community college and university faculty to work together on projects that would improve teacher preparation and professional development. Introductory courses were again identified at this forum as a pivotal point of influence in a student's academic career. To enhance student interest in and understanding of SME&T, attendees believed that introductory courses should be restructured to include a balanced perspective of history, philosophy, ethics, and applications in relation to SME&T disciplines. Some participants also suggested the development of new integrated science majors by rearranging existing courses rather than developing new ones. CSPU offers such an integrated program for certification of SME&T.39 39 More information about CSPU's integrated programs is available at <http://www.intranet.csupomona.edu/-sci/descript.html>
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--> This forum's final theme was the state of pre-college science and mathematics education. Many participants urged the postsecondary community to lend active support to K-12 education reform by adjusting college admission requirements and SME&T courses to reflect the current national standards for K-12 mathematics and science. In addition, participants said that courses for prospective teachers should not simply mimic courses for science majors but should be more specifically attuned to teachers' needs. Some participants wondered whether there should be special content courses for future teachers and, if so, how to decide what those courses should contain. However, most participants agreed that prospective teachers should learn their science as other science students do. Thus, their science methods courses should be taught in science buildings and should include laboratories. Courses should be taught in ways that students will be expected to teach in their own classrooms. Early field placement was also considered an essential component of effective preparation of K-12 teachers so that these students can apply as soon as possible the information, skills, and techniques they learn in their college classrooms and laboratories. Discussions from this forum helped the committee prepare Visions 2, 4, and 5. Forum Hosted by a State Educational Organization Florida Department of Education: This forum, although physically based in Tampa, was an interactive teleconference with participants at seven sites around the state. It examined the implications of standards-based education for introductory college science courses. Participants began by considering the opportunities and challenges that national and state mathematics and science education standards might present to undergraduate SME&T education. For example, as K-12 mathematics and science reform efforts become more ingrained in the K-12 system, students from different schools systems might increasingly be expected to matriculate at postsecondary institutions with a greater parity of skills and understanding in SME&T. If these students come to their college study of SME&T with greater experience in inquiry-based and collaborative learning, they may have different expectations for their postsecondary learning experiences. Therefore, university administrations and faculty should consider how they will respond to new expectations. One way that postsecondary institutions might prepare is by creating cross-disciplinary task forces that could spearhead new programs for prospective SME&T teachers and other SME&T-based disciplines. For example, teachers of both science and mathematics should learn how to help their students develop quantitative reasoning skills. More coherent integration of pedagogy and SME&T content in undergraduate courses that have been aligned with the goals and objectives of the science and mathematics standards could facilitate this goal. A more systemic plan could involve developing and implementing a capstone course for prospective teachers that integrates SME&T content and methods and is in concert with the goals and expectations of the NRC's National Science Education Standards and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards for curriculum and professional development. Practicing teachers could collaborate with college faculty in the development of such courses to enhance course effectiveness and simultaneously to gain valuable professional development. As in other forums, participants at this one clearly identified the roles that university and college administrators must play in recognizing and responding to the challenges of standards-based experiences that incoming students increasingly will bring to the institutions. Participants looked to deans and provosts as the academic leaders in higher education to accept the charge of responding and to respond, in part, by using introductory and other required SME&T courses as
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--> the starting point for more encompassing systemic changes in SME&T education. (It is important to note that most faculty remarked that the message to improve undergraduate teaching must come from university administration, while conversely, deans and provosts commented that, ultimately, faculty controlled the classroom environment. This strongly suggests that more effective communication is essential between faculty and administrators about expectations, strategies, and goals for teaching at the postsecondary level.) This forum's discussions helped to inform the development of Visions 1, 2, 3, and 5 in this report. Topical Forums: Conclusion The topical forums offered important opportunities for the members of CUSE to build upon the momentum of the national convocation held in 1995 and the subsequent regional symposia. In collaboration with professional organizations and universities and, in one case, with a state department of education, CUSE members were able to explore with colleagues across the United States issues that were raised at the regional symposia. For example, strategies for developing and implementing interdisciplinary courses—prominent topics in the first symposium at the University of Michigan—were subsequently revisited at the two topical forums held in collaboration with the NCTM and the University of Washington System. The topical forums also enabled committee members to engage diverse stakeholders in conversations about particularly challenging and complicated topics. These included increasing scientific literacy for all undergraduate students, improving the preparation of future K-12 teachers in science and mathematics, and identifying how to overcome professional and institutional obstacles that faculty face in improving their teaching skills.
Representative terms from entire chapter: