SENCER Summer Institute 2023

August 3-6, 2023

Our theme for last year’s Institute was:


Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) was launched in 2001 with the mission of improving STEM learning for all students, but importantly, to ensure that our efforts produce (in the words of the founding PI, David Burns) “Knowledge to Make our Democracy.” Two decades later, and since the assault on the US Capitol, there is no longer any question that US democracy is in crisis. Racial, economic, social, and political divisions are growing. Media manipulation, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and strategic court rulings have allowed an explicitly anti-democratic minority to disproportionately influence public discourse, law, and policy, a situation accelerated by a lack of public understanding of the basic elements of American governance.  

The ability to use empirical reasoning and evidence to guide action—what John Dewey called “the scientific habit of mind”– is a critical capacity for citizens in a democracy. SENCER has always maintained that science learning was a powerful and foundational context for civic education, and essential for effective civic agency in a democracy.  But science education can never meet this challenge if it is practiced as the transmission of “facts.” Science education can only contribute to the effort of building civic capacity if the connections between content and context, inquiry and action, knowledge and responsibility, are clear and relevant to the learner. Program information here


Virtual Conference and Showcase – Connecting Indigenous and Western Knowledge was held April 23-25th, 2021.

Full program

For more information, contact [email protected]

Transcending Barriers: Connecting Indigenous and Western Knowledge

To mark the conclusion of the Wm. M. Keck funded project “Transcending Barriers to Success: Connecting Indigenous and Western Knowledge,” the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement will host an on-line conference to feature work done by the project partners, and to highlight many other initiatives and efforts taking place to advance inquiry, research, and education that honor indigenous knowledge, and connect indigenous, local, and “Western” knowledge systems in order to work towards effective and equitable solutions for the important and contested issues of our time. For more information go to

Past meeting:  MidAtlantic SENCER Regional Center for Innovation


As scientists, science educators, and science communicators, we employ narrative in a variety of ways to shape the stories we tell about our work. Narrative can be a powerful way to connect the public to the work that we do. This virtual SENCER conference will focus on the many ways we can use narrative to teach science and engage the public. Please join us to share your ideas, learn form each other and network!

We are currently accepting abstract submissions for Interactive Workshops, Discussions/Panels, and Posters focusing on “Narrative in Science.” The virtual conference will be held in January 16,2021. We anticipate a schedule that runs from about 11 am thru 4 pm EST. Information and Conference Description Here