SSI 2012

2018 SENCER Summer Institute

The 2018 SENCER Summer Institute (SSI) will be hosted by Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California on August 2-5, 2018.

Register for SSI 2018

SSI is the cornerstone of NCSCE’s faculty development efforts, and our largest annual meeting. SSI brings together formal and informal educators, learners, and community and government partners for a rich mix of plenaries, workshops, and other sessions that focus not only on what students should learn, but how that learning might be accomplished. Over SENCER’s existence, we have attracted and cultivated a community of educators who are highly experienced in and passionate about helping students find meaning in STEM disciplines, and generous in sharing best practices with other dedicated educators. We look forward to reconvening our community, and adding new members.

The theme for SSI 2018 is Civic Engagement and the STEM Learning Ecosystem. In addition to our core focus on effective pedagogy and course design, the Institute program will explore and focus on other themes in the STEM learning ecosystem, including:

  • Cross disciplinary conversations on sustainability
  • Engineering education
  • Indigenous studies
  • Diversity and inclusion in 2018
  • Equity and science education for all
  • The Next Generation Science Standards and informal science
  • Strengthening the liberal arts: humanities, social sciences and STEM in partnership, and
  • Service learning

Beyond these program foci, the SENCER Summer Institutes include sessions tailored to the interests, goals, and talents, that participants bring to the Institute. You will also be able to propose a poster or presentation about your own work as part of the registration process. Outside of Institute programming, SSI provides opportunities for our community members to network and form new collaborations with each other to advance the work being done nationwide. More than 98% of participants in last year’s program said that they found the Institute program useful.

SSI 2018 Plenary Speakers:

Amy Shachter of Santa Clara University
Topic: Regionalization and New Growth Areas for SENCER
Amy Shachter is the senior associate provost for research and faculty affairs and an associate professor of chemistry at Santa Clara University. She received her bachelor’s degree at Knox College and earned her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Her research interests center on porphyrin synthesis. Her work to improve undergraduate science education has been supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Science Foundation, W.M. Keck Foundation, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
Omar Quintero of the University of Richmond
Topic: Diversity and Inclusion in STEM
Omar A. Quintero, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at The University of Richmond where he was a member of the team responsible for revising the Biology Curriculum to align with the recommendations of the “Vision & Change in Undergraduate Biology Education:  A Call to Action” report from the NSF and AAAS.  He began preparing for his career as a research-active, student-centered, teaching-focused faculty member during his IRACDA-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he trained in teaching and pedagogy as well as in the cell biology of molecular motors and the cytoskeleton.  He has maintained an active research program where undergraduates are co-authors on many of his publications.  His model for running his research group is based on his experiences under the guidance of Dr. Jo Rae Wright during his PhD work at Duke University.  The success of his group is based upon each individual’s ability to contribute to the team, and each team member’s ability to contribute depends upon the mentor’s ability to individually guidance and motivate each member on that team.  His approach to his work in the classroom is similar—he views each class as an unique project where all members of the team (students and faculty) play an active role in the learning and success of the class.  In addition to leadership roles in pedagogy development in his home department, Dr. Quintero has taken a leadership role in the education-focused activities of his professional society, serving of the Education Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology.
Tim Ritchie of the Tech Museum of Innovation
Topic: Community Involvement and Participation in Advancing Learning and Civic Engagement

Tim Ritchie is president and CEO of The Tech Museum of Innovation. Tim joined The Tech in 2011, with a mandate to breathe life into its mission – inspiring the innovator in everyone. Since then, the institution has transformed its exhibits and programs to make them more relevant to schools, families and the community. Tim came to The Tech from McWane Science Center, in Birmingham, Ala, where he was president and CEO. A varied career led him to the science center world. After earning his B.A. from Davidson College and his J.D. from Duke Law School, he worked as a clerk for the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, represented defendants on North Carolina’s death row, practiced law in Birmingham and was president of Louisville Diversified Services, a Kentucky non-profit supporting adults with developmental disabilities. He also has an M.P.A. from Harvard.

Matt Fisher of St. Vincent College
Topic: SENCER Community Plenary
Longtime SENCER Community member Matt Fisher will deliver the plenary address at the 2018 SENCER Summer Institute which focuses on the ways in which involvement with SENCER can shape a career. Matt’s talk will explore the relationship between SENCER and the scholarship of teaching and learning, drawing on his 15 years of engagement with the SENCER community and methods. His talk will also explore the challenge of encouraging all of our students to “hear the cries of the world” and use their knowledge, particularly knowledge in STEM fields, to respond appropriately to those cries.Matt Fisher is an associate professor of chemistry at Saint Vincent College and a senior fellow with the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, where he coordinates NCSCE’s efforts in the scholarship of teaching and learning. He received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Temple University in 1982 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990. In addition to his responsibilities as a faculty member, Matt was department chair for seven years and the director of Saint Vincent College’s Teaching Enhancement and Mentoring Program for a similar length of time. He has developed two SENCER model courses: Chemistry of Daily Life: Diabetes and Malnutrition (2005) and Undergraduate Biochemistry Through Public Health Issues (2009). Chemistry of Daily Life is a course for non-science majors that fulfills general education requirements while Undergraduate Biochemistry Through Public Health consists of two courses for undergraduate STEM majors. Matt has been active in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Division of Chemical Education, serving on the Division Program Committee and as meeting program co-chair for the Division’s program at the August 2008 ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia. He was a member of the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement (CEI) for over a decade, helped lead CEI’s efforts in education during that time, and chaired the committee in 2013. He now serves as a member of the ACS Committee on Science where he chairs the Public Policy Subcommittee. Matt is a 2005 Carnegie Scholar and spent the 2005-2006 academic year working on a project to connect topics in undergraduate biochemistry to public policy, public health, and institutional/personal values in support of integrative learning. He has given presentations at conferences and facilitated workshops on integrative learning in the context of undergraduate science courses, published several book chapters on his work in SENCER, and is co-author (with Jacqueline Dewar and Curtis Bennett) of the forthcoming volume The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A Guide for Scientists, Engineers, and Mathematicians. Matt has been recognized as an ACS Fellow and received the ACS-CEI Award for Incorporating Sustainability into Chemistry Education in 2015.
SSI 2018 Special Programs
Case Studies in Academic Leadership: a S4HE Pre-SSI Workshop
You can register for the workshop here.
 Success 4 Higher Education and The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement colleagues and friends are invited to participate in pre-conference session before SSI 2018 using case studies to explore several dimensions of academic decision making and leadership. This workshop will take place on August 2, 2018 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM on the campus of Santa Clara University, where SSI is being held. (SSI begins at 4:30 PM on August 2nd.)
Often institutional leaders are chosen on the basis of their achievements in the core professorial functions of research, education and service, rather than on the basis of demonstrated leadership, innovation, and their human management skills. Through the use of case studies, we develop an understanding of both theory and practice by exploring the values, ideals, and aspirations that make the difference between managers and great leaders.
According to a recent Harvard Business Review, 2 of every 5 managers fail in their positions within their first 18 months. Although higher education managers may appear to have more flexibility than other professionals, when good people don’t succeed, some of the reasons are universal. An important lesson from the report is that most people do not quit the company, they quit their boss! It is the person who can manage effectively, while creating a mentoring, joyful and just transparent environment rather than creating undo stress and hostility that becomes successful and drives the success of others. Good academic administrators are hard to find and a poor leaders can cause undeterminable damage to the department and institution. During our case study pre-conference workshop you will be presented a variety of case studies followed by a focused discussion designed to uncover insights applicable to your work.
An Invitation to You
In addition to attending the workshop, members of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement/SENCER and friends are also invited to submit their own case study based on their experience for participant discussion.
The workshop participants will read your 1-2 page case study using a simple discussion format. We look at what led to creating this dilemma before attempting to offer possible solutions.
Those interested in submitting as specific case studies can email Karen Oates at or Amy for the simple case format template.
Participants can Register for the workshop here. There is no additional cost to attend.
This workshop is open only to registrants in the 2018 SENCER Summer Institute. You can register for the Institute itself here.
Thinking Like Leaders: A Systems Approach To Improving Introductory Level Courses
Thinking Like Leaders: A Systems Approach To Improving Introductory Level Courses
A 3-Session Workshop At The 2018 SENCER Summer Institute
Register here.
Synopsis: Introductory courses in biology and other STEM fields are (or should be) the keystones to recruiting majors to the discipline, improving STEM literacy for both prospective majors and students who will pursue other courses of study, and for preparing future K-12 teachers of STEM. “SENCERizing” such courses could enhance all of these roles. However, instructors may find themselves impeded by their colleagues in a course, other members of a department, or upper level leaders in their efforts to do so. Thus, despite best efforts to improve student learning, components of the higher education system may pose barriers. But understanding the larger system and the sometimes competing needs and interests of the multiplicity of stakeholders within the system may also provide important insights opportunities for education reform.This workshop is organized in collaboration with the leadership of SENCER, the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), and the Board on Life Sciences of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Thus the systems analyses will use introductory biology as a primary focus but with the recognition that changes to these courses can have profound impacts on other disciplines (and vice versa). Thus the second session will focus on these connections and interactions.The draft schedule for the workshop is below. Because the individual sessions in these workshops build on each other, participants will be required to enroll prior to the SSI and attend all three sessions. You can register here. The workshop organizers will contact all registrants prior to the SSI and request information that will help them better tailor the workshop to participants’ interests and needs. Several short background readings may be assigned.Learning Goals: This series of integrated sessions will explore the following issues and topics (subject to modification based upon participant feedback – see below):Session 1: Friday, 8/3 from 3:00 – 4:50 PM

  • Welcome, introductions, agree on goals, work and desired outcomes of the workshop.
    • Jay Labov, Senior Advisor for Education and Communication (Retired), National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
    • Jacki Reeves-Pepin, Executive Director, NABT
    • Eliza Reilly, Executive Director, SENCER
  • Overview of NABT’s and related efforts to reform introductory courses in biology.
    • NABT Introductory Biology Taskforce: Steve Christenson, Chair, Department of Biology, Brigham Young University
    • National Perspectives on Improving Introductory Courses in Biology: Gordon Uno, Professor of Plant Biology, University of Oklahoma
  • Facilitated Discussion: Participants describe challenges to their efforts to SENCERize their courses and how they have addressed them (both successfully and unsuccessfully)
  • Based on participant discussion, engage them in analyzing and better understanding
    • Presentation and Facilitated Discussion: The larger system of higher education at their institutions and at the state and federal levels
    • George Boggs, President Emeritus, Palomar College, and President and CEO Emeritus, American Association of Community Colleges
    • Panel Discussion: the pressures facing stakeholders in different parts of the system and how understanding those pressures can help address challenges.
    • George Boggs
    • Steve Christenson
    • David Ferguson, David Ferguson, Distinguished Service Professor, Technology and Society, and Provost’s Scholar, Stony Brook University
    • Theo Koupelis, Dean of Academic Affairs, Broward College
    • Karen Oates, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Success 4 Higher Education

Session 2: Saturday, 8/4 from 8:00 AM – 9:50 AM

  • Examine the interconnectedness of introductory biology to other disciplines in STEM as well as the arts and humanities from a systems perspective (facilitated case study)
    • David Ferguson (Engineering)
    • Matt Fisher, Associate Professor of Chemistry, St. Vincent College (Chemistry)
    • Theo Koupelis (Physics)
    • Cathy Middlecamp, Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Environmental Science and Chemistry)
    • Eliza Reilly
  • Explore the roles and consequences of offering different introductory courses in STEM disciplines for prospective majors and non-majors: a systems approach.
    • Jay Labov
    • Karen Oates

Session 3: Sunday, 8/5 from 8/5 from 2:00 – 3:50 PM

  • Develop a “systems-informed” plan to address the challenges that they are facing on their campuses and then work in groups to review and offer suggestions for improving the plan.
    • Small group discussions facilitated by presenters and panelists.
  • Reports from Small Groups and Summary
    • Moderated by Jay Labov, Jacki Reeves-Pepin, and Eliza Reilly

This workshop is open only to participants in the 2018 SENCER Summer Institute. There is no additional cost to attend. You can register for the workshop here. and you can register for SSI 2018 here. Contact Jay Labov at JLabov(at) with any questions about the workshop.

SSI 2018 Schedule
The schedule of the overall Summer Institute is below. A session schedule will be released when all sessions are approved and tentatively scheduled. This schedule does not include private any private invitational meetings.

Download (PDF, 45KB)

SSI 2018 Session Schedule
A schedule of sessions at SSI is below. This schedule does not yet include all sessions and is subject to change. All posters will be displayed at the Poster Session on Friday, August 3rd, from 5:00 – 6:30 PM.

Download (PDF, 57KB)

SSI 2018 Presentation and Classroom Technology Information
The classroom technology at Santa Clara University will include capabilities for the following:

  • Projectors with included computers
  • Sound for videos
  • Internet access
  • Zoom videoconferencing
  • Connections to your own computer via VGA cables

It is recommended that you bring your presentation on a flash drive.The computers in use are “dual boot” meaning that they run both Mac OS and Microsoft Windows operating systems. The rooms will be open before the start of sessions each day to allow you the opportunity to test your presentation if you so desire.

For posters, we will provide boards, clips, and pins for you to mount and display your poster. 

SSI Registration Deadlines

Late registration, beginning June 19, 2018, will be offered on a space-available basis and will be $900 per registrant.

The Institute registration fees include the following:

  • Admission to all educational sessions
  • All related session materials
  • Breakfasts on all days except Thursday, August 2nd
  • Lunches on all days except Thursday, August 2nd
  • Dinner on Thursday, August 2rd
  • Poster reception on Friday, August 3rd
  • Admission to The Tech Museum on the Afternoon of Saturday, August 4th

Register for SSI 2018

More information:

View and Download the SSI 2018 Flyer
Below is a flyer you may feel free to distribute in order to spread the word about SSI 2018. The download link is below the flyer.

Download (PDF, 88KB)

SSI 2018 Travel Information
For the purpose of planning your trip to SSI, the Institute will begin at 4:00 PM on Thursday, August 2, 2018. It will end at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, August 5, 2018.

Santa Clara University is located at:
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053

The nearest airport to Santa Clara University is the San Jose International Airport (SJC). The airport and University are approximately 3.5 miles apart.

The Holiday Inn San Jose will provide shuttle service on request between the San Jose airport and the hotel. If you will be staying there, call them at (408) 453-6200 to book a shuttle trip. Participants staying in dorms can take a taxi or an app-based ride service (Lyft, Uber, etc) from the airport.

If you decide to fly into San Francisco Airport (SFO), there is a $20 shuttle you can take to SJC to continue onto campus or the hotel. You can book it online here.

SSI 2018 Lodging Information
Participants at SSI have the option of staying in either the University Villas apartments or the Holiday Inn San Jose hotel.

University Villas
Participants staying in the University Villas will be in suite style accommodations with separate bedrooms, sharing common areas and restrooms.

The price is $100 per night which includes linen service. You can make your reservation in the Villas as part of the SSI online registration process. The final day to book rooms in the Villas is July 9, 2018.

The address of the University Villas is:
1260 Campbell Ave
Santa Clara, CA 95053

More information on the villas, including photos and a video, is available here.

Holiday Inn San Jose Silicon Valley
Participants staying in the Holiday Inn San Jose Silicon Valley can book rooms with king-sized or two double beds.

The SSI rate is $146 per night plus tax, which comes to a final per-night price of $168.19. You can book your room online here (select the appropriate dates and the code will automatically populate).  You can also call the hotel at (408) 453-6200 to book your room and mention that the group code is SSI.

The final day to book rooms at the hotel is July 9, 2018. After that point, rooms will be subject to the hotel’s availability and the current rate being charged by the hotel.

The hotel’s address is:
1350 North 1st Street
San Jose, California 95112

More information about the hotel is available here.

Shuttle service will be provided each day of the Institute between the Holiday Inn and campus during peak travel times.

All participants will be shuttled to and from The Tech Museum of Innovation on the afternoon of August 4th.

SSI 2018 Payment Information and Refund Policy (also included on registration invoices)
NOTE: The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement is part of the Department of Technology and Society at Stony Brook University and the Research Foundation for the State University of New York.

Payment can be made by check made out to The Research Foundation for SUNY and mailed to:

Department of Technology and Society
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York 11794-4404

Please note that as of April 25, 2018, NCSCE has moved. We recommend sending checks using certified mail or another traceable method to avoid delays and errors.

NCSCE is now also able to accept Credit Cards via PayPal for Registration Payments.

We are able to accept PayPal payments via the “send money” function using Stony Brook University’s Office of Grants Management account, with a 2% fee to defray the transaction costs.

Step 1: Under the “send money” option in paypal, select “pay for goods and services” and enter OGM_Billing@stonybrook.eduas the recipient address.

Step 2: Enter the amount of the payment from your invoice, along with the 2% transaction fee. (e.g. $510.00 for a $500.00 registration fee)

Note: If you require an invoice which reflects this fee, please contact Kyle Simmons at kyle.ncsce@gmail.comand you will receive one in one business day.

Step 3: In the “note” section you must use the following phrasing to ensure that the payment is properly applied:

(Full name(s)) of (Institution(s)) paying for (event/purpose) to RF account 74467.

For immediate application of your payment to the invoice in Wild Apricot, please forward your payment confirmation to If not, we at NCSCE receive reports of payments 2-3 business days following their completion and will apply the payment to your invoice and send you a receipt.

All payments are due by July 6, 2018.

Full refunds can be requested until July 6, 2018 by sending an email to Refunds will be issued following the Institute.

If you have any questions about the SENCER Summer Institute, please contact Kyle Simmons, NCSCE’s Faculty Development Events Manager, at