Great Lakes

Great Lakes

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.

Regional Symposia

Teaching Undergraduate Science Through Great Lakes Focused Research
May 15, 2017
Wayne State University

Traditional approaches to undergraduate science education focus on teaching from disciplines such as biology, chemistry and environmental engineering to Great Lakes issues such as invasive species control, harmful algal blooms, and habitat restoration.  This interactive curriculum-development session highlighted strategies for Great Lakes researchers to reverse this paradigm by teaching through these issues to the basic science in undergraduate coursework for both majors and non-majors.  Part of IAGLR 2017

SCI-Great Lakes Spring 2015 Meeting: Wicked Problems: Interprofessional Education Through Community Engagement
April 24, 2015
Case Western Reserve University

“Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.”

Laurence J. Peter, formulator of the “Peter Principle”

Tame problems can be clearly defined, have logical solutions and when solved, usually stay solved. Wicked problems are complex, ever changing, conflicting and, when solved, often result in new problems. Precisely because of their “wickedness,” civic engagement with them has enormous teaching and learning potential for higher education faculty and students.

To tap this potential, we invite you to attend:

Wicked Problems In Science And Health: Teaching and Learning Opportunities
April 24, 2015

9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio

Many of the problems facing society today are complex, challenging to define, and even more challenging to solve and are, indeed, wicked problems. Environmental issues such as clean water and air, global warming, or health issues such as childhood obesity, pandemic threats, and health care financing are wicked problems that challenge our society but also provide real life learning opportunities for our students.

This workshop will bring together higher education faculty and students from the STEM fields and the health professions to explore ways in which the wicked problems of our communities, whether international or local, can provide opportunities to engage, inspire and motivate our students.

Featured Speakers:

Dr. Sherryl Broverman from Duke University will share her journey from a collaborative project to teach chemistry through the establishment of an innovative school for girls in rural Kenya.

Concurrent Workgroups will focus on:
Ecological Services
Global Health
Inter-professional Collaboration: Engineering/Nursing

In addition to learning from these unique approaches to the solution of wicked problems, attendees will engage in interdisciplinary planning sessions exploring ways to engage students in addressing and learning from the wicked problems around them.

Spring Meeting Addresses Shale Gas Development and Civic Engagement in the Undergraduate Curriculum
May 30, 2014
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH
Opportunities for Applying SENCER Principles to Repurposing Vacant Land in the Urban Centers of the Great Lakes Region
November 21-22, 2013
Gary, IN
Best Practices Linking STEM Education and Great Lakes Stewardship
March 14-16, 2013
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

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, SCI-Great Lakes Co-Director

Dr. Joseph Koonce
Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology
Case Western Reserve University
[email protected]

Dr. Marilyn (Lynn) Lotas, SCI-Great Lakes Co-Director

Dr. Marilyn (Lynn) Lotas
Associate Professor, Department of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University
[email protected]

Dr. David Zeng, SCI-Great Lakes Co-Director

Dr. David Zeng
Professor and Chair, Department of Civil Engineering
Case Western Reserve University
[email protected]

Leadership Council

Dr. Erin Argyilan
Indiana University Northwest

Dr. James Bader
Case Western Reserve University

Dr. David Karpovich
Saginaw Valley State University

Mr. Glenn Odenbrett
Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Dennis Taylor
Hiram College