2019 SENCER Summer Institute Keynotes


Opening Plenary, Thursday, August 1, 4:30pm, Ford Auditorium

Partnership Power: Learning Networks and Civic Renewal

Marsha Semmel, Marsha Semmel Consulting.

Marsha Semmel is Senior Advisor to the National Center on Science and Civic Engagement’s SENCER-ISE project (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities-Informal Science Education). She currently serves as faculty for the Bank Street College of Education’s Graduate School of Education in the Leadership in Museum Education Program and as a member of The Museum Group (TMG), a consortium of museum leaders who support museums in achieving their greatest potential in an ever-changing world. http://museumgroup.com/

From 2013-15, Marsha was Senior Advisor to the Noyce Leadership Institute (NLI), a project envisioning an essential and transformative role for organizations that engage their publics in crucial science and technology issues. Her career has included more than two decades of work in major U.S. cultural agencies, including the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), where she served as the agency’s first director for strategic partnerships, deputy director for the Office of Museum Services, and acting Director. Previously, Marsha served 12 years in the Public Programs Division of the National Endowment for the Humanities, as program officer and Division Director.


Friday Plenary, August 2, 9:00am, Ford Auditorium

Partnership Power: Creating Collaborative Community Connections

Felton Thomas, Jr., Executive Director and CEO, Cleveland Public Library.

Felton Thomas, Jr. was appointed Director of the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) in January 2009.  Since then, he has positioned CPL as a community deficit fighter and launched initiatives aimed at addressing community needs in the areas of technology, education, and economic development. During Felton’s tenure, CPL has maintained its “Five Star” status and been named a “Top Innovator” by the Urban Libraries Council for its use of technology and data to inform decision making.  Felton also has guided CPL through the worst recession in decades by actively seeking input from the community, and then reducing CPL’s budget by millions while still providing superior service and keeping all neighborhood branches open. Under Felton, the Library has battled the digital divide, illiteracy, unemployment, and other community deficits with innovative programming and action at all branches.


Saturday Plenary, August 3, 9:00am, Ford Auditorium

How Asking the Right Questions Can Improve Learning and Build Civic Participation

Andrew P. Minigan, Director of Strategy, Education Program, Right Question Institute,

Andrew P. Minigan is the Right Question Institute’s (RQI) director of strategy for the Education Program. He is a co-principal investigator (Co-PI) on a National Science Foundation funded research grant to help researchers, including doctoral students and faculty in higher education, learn how to formulate better, more transformative research questions. He has facilitated learning experiences for faculty and doctoral students at Brandeis University, Northeastern University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Mt. San Antonio College, Citrus College, and the University of Prince Edward Island. Hundreds of faculty and students from around the country have participated in his active learning experiences, including a recent webinar for the American Society for Engineering Education. Andrew has written on the importance of question formulation and its connection to curiosity for Education WeekSocial EducationEducational Leadership, and PBS.