2017 SENCER Summer Institute

Stony Brook University Logo

The 2017 SENCER Summer Institute (SSI) was hosted by Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York on August 3-6, 2017.

We are excited to deliver an Institute program which will address issues of critical importance for the SENCER community. In addition to the newest iterations of core sessions on course design and research-based approaches to learning, we were proud to host a slate of plenary speakers to lead the program and address a variety of these critical areas, including:

  • conversations about the changing landscape for civic engagement as a pedagogical approach,
  • educational synergies between STEM and the humanities,
  • strategies for scaling STEM education reform efforts,
  • challenges related to diversity and inclusion in science, and
  • examples of the impact of SENCER practice on career advancement.
SSI 2017 Schedule and Program Information

Beyond these main sessions, we remain committed to ensuring that the program responds to your needs as educators. The SSI 2017 registration process provided a sense of the interests, goals, and talents, that you bring to the Institute, along with with the logistical information needed to make your experience comfortable and enjoyable. Participants were able to propose a poster or concurrent session as part of the registration process.

Those of you who are new to the Institute can view the SSI 2017 New Participant Orientation recording below.

Watch the SSI 2017 New Participant Orientation

NCSCE is pleased to announce the plenary speakers for this year’s SENCER Summer Institute. The 17th annual Institute will be held at Stony Brook University, the home institution of the National Center, on August 3-6, 2017. These Plenary speakers were invited to highlight and address a number of critical issues particularly relevant to the SENCER community.

Fotis Sotiropoulos, Stony Brook University

CEASDean photo (Fotis)

The opening plenary for the 2017 Institute will be delivered by Fotis Sotiropoulos. Fotis will speak about the role of educational institutions in developing civic capacity and awareness in STEM learning in the era of exponential technological growth and discuss related programs and initiatives in the College.

As Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University, Fotis is committed to fostering “creative, cross-disciplinary research and educational programs, to produce the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.” His research focuses on simulation-based engineering science for fluid mechanics problems in renewable energy, environmental, biological, and cardiovascular applications. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the Sandia National Laboratories, private industry, and other state and federal agencies, Fotis has raised over $35M in externally-sponsored funds for research and research facility development and renovation. He is the 2017 Recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers Hunter Rouse Hydraulic Engineering Prize and a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS).  He has authored over 170 peer reviewed journal papers and book chapters, has twice won the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Gallery of Fluid Motion (2009, 2011), and is also a recipient of a Career Award from the National Science Foundation. He is also a 2014 distinguished lecturer of the Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies at Tel Aviv University and is serving or has served on the editorial boards of several journals. Fotis was named a Distinguished Professor at Stony Brook University in 2017.

Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, National Writing Project


Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Executive Director of the National Writing Project (NWP), will speak on Friday, August 4th. Elyse will describe the work of the NWP as it relates to applications for writing education in the STEM disciplines, and discuss how the NWP leverages its network through collaborations that advance civic engagement and enrich the “ecosystem” of learning across disciplines and domains.

NWP is a network of sites anchored at colleges and universities and serving teachers across disciplines and at all levels, early childhood through university. The network provides professional development, develops resources, generates research, and acts on knowledge to improve the teaching of writing and learning in schools and communities.

In her role at NWP, Elyse draws upon 15 years of experience designing and leading national programs, partnerships, and action-learning efforts for the NWP and other educational organizations. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Elyse directed National Programs and Site Development for the NWP where she developed many of NWP’s signature national programs and partnerships. Her recent work involves educators in schools, libraries, and museums as they rethink their teaching and learning environments with a view toward digital composition and production, connected learning, equity, and civic engagement. In that regard, Elyse is the founder of NWP’s Digital Is project and community, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative (DML), and is a member of the DML’s Youth and Participatory Politics research network. She is a founding member of the Connected Learning Alliance and helped establish the YOUmedia Learning Labs network, the Make to Learn Initiative, and the Educating for Democracy in a Digital Age project.

A special plenary panel on Saturday, August 5th will focus on the origins and development of Communities of Transformation (CoTs) in undergraduate STEM reform. In an National Science Foundation supported study, four STEM projects – SENCER, POGIL, PKAL, and BioQUEST –  were identified as CoTs by Dr. Adrianna Kezar and Dr. Sean Gehrke.The panel will include Karen Kashmanian Oates, SENCER co-founder; Rick Moog, POGIL Executive Director; and Myles Boylan, Lead Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at NSF.

Karen Kashmanian Oates, SENCER Co-Founder

Before joining Worcester Polytechnic Institute as the Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences, Karen Kashmanian Oates was the deputy director for undergraduate education at the National Science Foundation. She was also the founding provost at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and Associate Dean for the College of Integrated and Interdisciplinary Studies at George Mason University. She received her BS in biology from Rochester Institute of Technology and her PhD in biochemistry from George Washington University. Karen conducts faculty development workshops on a variety of topics, including progressive pedagogical approaches to support learning, assessment strategies, and discovery-based undergraduate research, as well as using research on how people learn to inform curricular design. She has served as a Eurasia Specialist with USAID/HED (Higher Education for Development) and participated routinely in global research and education initiatives. In recognition of her founding role in SENCER, Karen, along with Wm. David Burns, received the 2008 Bruce Albert Award for excellence in science education.

Rick Moog, POGIL Executive Director

moog head 2 for bios

Rick Moog received an A. B in chemistry from Williams College and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Stanford University. He is currently Professor of Chemistry at Franklin & Marshall College. He is the 2016 recipient of the George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education from the American Chemical Society. Along with colleagues Jim Spencer and Frank Creegan, Rick is also the co-recipient of the 2015 James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry from the Northeast Section of the American Chemical Society.

Rick has been using a guided inquiry approach to teaching chemistry since 1994, and is the coauthor of POGIL materials for general chemistry and physical chemistry. In addition, he has developed guided inquiry experiments for use in the general chemistry laboratory. Rick has organized numerous symposia at national ACS and BCCE meetings concerning POGIL (and active learning more generally) throughout the chemistry curriculum, and has given dozens of presentations, posters, and workshops on POGIL. He is also coauthor of several journal articles and book chapters concerning POGIL, and the coeditor of the ACS Symposium Series volume: Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning.

Myles Boylan, Lead Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at NSF

Myles Boylan Crop Pic

Providing an overarching longitudinal perspective from the National Science Foundation is Myles Boylan, Lead Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education within the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). Since becoming a Program Director in 1996, he has worked on many education programs. In recent years he has co-led TUES (Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM) and WIDER (focused on catalyzing institution-wide implementation of evidence-based teaching methods). After these two programs were coalesced into a broader program titled “Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE)” in 2014, he led this new program in its EHR version, IUSE: EHR.

Myles’ doctoral work was in industrial economics.  He held a variety of academic appointments before joining the NSF in 1984. His academic research focused on the process and diffusion of technological innovation in private industry and he continues to work through NSF to accelerate the diffusion of proven teaching methods and institutional change.

David Asai, Senior Director for Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute


The fourth plenary address, on the afternoon of Saturday, August 5th, will be delivered by David Asai, Senior Director for Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The address, titled “Race Matters,” will discuss challenges related to diversity and inclusion in science.

David directs the HHMI Undergraduate and Graduate programs, providing grants to higher education institutions, faculty, undergraduate and graduates students. Before moving to HHMI in 2008, David was on the faculty for 19 years at Purdue University and for 5 years at Harvey Mudd College.  He served as Head of Biological Sciences at Purdue and was Stuart Mudd Professor and Chair of Biology at Harvey Mudd.  Until 2010 when he closed his lab, his group authored more than 75 papers on the molecular motor dynein in sea urchins and Tetrahymena thermophila.  David served as a member of the boards of trustees of the National PTA and the Higher Learning Commission-North Central Association, and served on the BIO Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation.  He is an elected member of the Purdue Teaching Academy and was inducted into Purdue’s “Book of Great Teachers.”  Currently, he serves on several advisory committees, including the Progress Through Calculus project of the Mathematical Association of America, the Interdisciplinary Teaching About Earth for a Sustainable Future (InTeGrate) NSF STEP center, the University of Delaware NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation project, the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology, the Understanding Interventions project, the Committee on Opportunities in Science (COOS) of the AAAS, Research Enhancement for BUILDing Detroit, the NIH Advisory Committee of the Director’s Working Group on Diversity, and the Children’s Opportunity Fund of Montgomery County, Maryland.  David received the bachelor’s degree in chemistry and co-terminal master’s degree in biology from Stanford University, and the Ph.D. in biology from Caltech.

Katayoun Chamany, The New School


The closing Plenary for this year’s Institute will be delivered by Katayoun Chamany, Mohn Family Professor of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Chair of the Interdisciplinary Science Program, and Project Shepherd and Director of University Science Labs at The New School. Katayoun will talk about the impact of SENCER on her academic career, using lessons from projects she has pursued at the New School.

A longtime participant, contributor, and faculty leader in  SENCER programs, Katayoun has developed educational materials integrating social justice perspectives into biology, providing more highly-contextualized biology education to students. In Spring 2016, she launched Stem Cells Across the Curriculum, an open access collection of educational modules developed in collaboration with colleagues in the humanities, social sciences, and arts/design. In recognition of her transformative teaching and leadership, Katayoun was became the first-ever endowed professor Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts. She received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from UC Berkeley, and serves on the editorial boards of the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science and the journal Life Sciences Education.

Registration for the Institute is currently open. The deadline to register and propose a session is May 19, 2017, and the general registration deadline is June 17, 2017. More information about the Institute is available on the Institute webpage.