The SENCER Great Lakes Center for Innovation (SCI-Great Lakes) focuses its efforts on Great Lakes stewardship. The Center continues the GLISTEN (Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship through Education Network) initiative of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement.
Extending the GLISTEN approach to STEM curriculum development (K-16), the Center applies SENCER concepts of teaching through engagement with important civic issues in the Great Lakes region in formal and informal education venues, in the eight Great Lakes States and the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
The goal of the Center is to build the capacity of STEM faculty at colleges and universities in the Great Lakes region to:
- improve learning in the STEM disciplines;
- engage students in direct action (i.e., service-learning) and community-based research to benefit resource-strapped governmental and community-based organizations;
- position students to take advantage of “green” professional opportunities upon graduation;
- provide students with 21st Century skills (such as critical thinking and capacity for collaboration, as well as associated civic engagement skills); and to
- help students as well as members of the involved communities become enlightened stakeholders who practice active stewardship in their private and civic lives.
The Center pursues these goals through three areas of Great Lakes stewardship:
- restoration and maintenance of Great Lakes ecosystems;
- improving sustainability of local food production and small scale agriculture in urban communities; and
- improving human health by addressing important environmental health issues.
About the Host Institution: Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is one of the top research universities in the nation. With an endowment of more than $1.4 billion, CWRU supports about 100 designated academic and research centers, and receives nearly $400 million in external research awards each year. The University’s undergraduate enrollment is about 40% of the 10,000 total student enrollment, and virtually all of its more than 2,600 faculty members hold doctorate or appropriate terminal degrees. The University’s eight schools and college offer close to 200 top-ranked undergraduate, graduate and professional programs that range from arts, law, and humanities to engineering and medicine.
The University has a rich history of community engagement and curriculum innovation. With funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Science transformed undergraduate training in the biological sciences through innovative, inquiry-based curriculum reforms, summer research experiences tied to academic year study, and outreach to community partners and high school and middle school students and teachers. The College of Arts and Science formed the Center for Science and Mathematics Education to create a clearinghouse for the wide variety of pre-college programs at CWRU and to serve as a catalyst for development of new and innovative partnerships for outstanding programs housed at the university. The CWRU School of Nursing, for example, has initiated a project to address health issues in Cleveland’s school children. One school has improved its health focus by incorporating content related to nutrition, food production, and clean water and air into the science curriculum beginning with the 5th and 6th grades. Activities have included field trips to the CWRU’s Squire Valleevue Farm and growing straw bale gardens at the school. The project has been implemented in collaboration with the CWRU Biology department and School of Medicine, the science staff of the Squire Valleevue Farm, and the School Nurses of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
In an effort to better link community engagement and academic programs, CWRU faculty have participated in the CLEAN (Collaborative Learning for Environmental Action Network) initiative of the Western Reserve Resource Conservation and Development Council, which was a forerunner of NCSCE’s Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship through Education Network (GLISTEN). The CLEAN initiative also drew support from the wide variety of curriculum reform and educational outreach programs of the University. CWRU faculty, students, and community partners benefited from this history of activity in the Northeast Ohio Cluster of the GLISTEN initiative.
Great Lakes Co-Directors
Dr. Joseph Koonce
Dr. Marilyn (Lynn) Lotas
Dr. David Zeng
Dr. Erin Argyilan
Dr. James Bader
Dr. David Karpovich
Mr. Glenn Odenbrett
Dr. Dennis Taylor