The SENCER models are curricular approaches to improving science learning and supporting engagement with complex issues. Through the “lens” of a matter or set of matters of public consequence, a SENCER model course or program teaches science that is both challenging and rigorous. The SENCER approach requires students to engage in serious scientific reasoning, inquiry, observation, and measurement. SENCER courses and programs connect scientific knowledge to public decision-making, policy development, and the effective “work” of citizenship. SENCER approaches encourage students to engage in research, to produce knowledge, to develop answers, and to appreciate the uncertainty and provisionality of the knowledge and answers produced.
SENCER models have clear learning outcomes. They seek transparency in their connection of classroom and related activities and the learning that is desired. Outcomes are assessed continuously. SENCER models reflect the intellectual curiosity of the faculty who developed them. At the same time, they respond to student interests, including personal interests, as well as public or civic ones.
The models are presented heuristically, that is as aids to understanding, and as inspiration for what is achievable. They are not offered as cookbooks or recipes to be copied and implemented as is. SENCER models are chosen because they demonstrate success, showcase effective strategies, and evidence potential for broader implementation and adaptation. The models also advance institutional aspirations to connect learning and other goals, such as fostering interdisciplinary understanding, increasing civic engagement and personal responsibility, and helping students develop more refined ethical sensibilities leading to improved personal choices and behavior.
We welcome your review, use, and appraisal of the SENCER models.
Dr. Eliza Jane Reilly
General Editor, SENCER Model Series
Executive Director, NCSCE
The SENCER Models
We encourage and solicit nominations of courses that fulfill the SENCER criteria for models. If you believe your course or program exemplifies the SENCER Ideals, please submit the following information electronically to Eliza Reilly (eliza.reilly[at]stonybrook.edu):
- Faculty name(s), titles, and contact information
- Title of Course and course web site (if available)
- Brief description of the course that includes the science topics covered and the civic or policy issues they are linked to, the course’s learning objectives (for both science and non-science elements), the role of the course in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum (major/non-major course, meets general education requirements, part of undergraduate core, etc.), the internal or external funding, or other support, received for this course.
Note: We continue to accept nominations on a rolling basis and will contact you directly concerning the dissemination of models.
Pearls of Practice: A new series of course modules and course activities
Sources of Biological Energy by Dr. Linden Higgins, Education for Critical Thinking, and Dr. Elizabeth Dolci, Johnson State College
Answers That Lie in the Questions by Dr. Catherine Hurt Middlecamp, University of Wisconsin-Madison
What’s Radioactive in This Room? by Catherine Hurt Middlecamp, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Do I Live in a Food Desert? by Dr. Autumn Marshall, Lipscomb University
How Big is My Footprint? by Dr. Alison O’Malley, Butler University
Cell as City by Dr. Gillian Backus, Northern Virginia Community College
Meet the Beekeepers by Dr. Susan Cusato, Southern Connecticut State University