The SCI-West has broad expertise among its members, but has a particular interest in sustainability with a focus on water resources, indigenous science, and undergraduate research. SCI-West initiatives are open to participants around the United States but are primarily designed to address the needs and interests of individuals in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

SCI-West leadership members coordinate at least two symposia each year to complement national SENCER programs.
Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University



Recent News

SCI-West has recently added Ulla Hasager as a new Co-Director. You can read the full announcement here. In addition to the announcement, fellow Co-Director Amy Schacter said that “Ulla has been integral for SENCER’s expanding work in SCI-West and building the Hawai’i SENCER state model. She brings a special touch of aloha to all that she does! Her leadership, organization, and creativity makes learning an engaging experience for her students throughout a range of interdisciplinary curricula. We are lucky and excited to have her aboard!”

Regional Meetings

Join the Grand Water Challenge, Co-sponsored by SENCER Hawaii, May 13-15, UH West O’ahu.  For registration click HERE


Assessment and Transformative Collaboration in Sustainability Education
Host: University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu
Date: March 18, 2017
On March 18, SENCER Hawaiʻi and the SENCER Center for Innovation-West, jointly hosted the 3rd Annual SENCER Hawaiʻi Spring Institute and SCI-West Regional Meeting at The University of Hawaiʻi West-Oʻahu. The theme of the meeting was “Assessment and Transformative Collaboration in Sustainability Education.” The Institute was led by Dr. Ulla Hasager of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, a SENCER Center for Innovation West Co-Director and Dr. Robert Franco of Kapiʻolani Community College, a SENCER Leadership Fellow. The program focused on innovative teaching and learning through high-impact practices such as undergraduate research and community engagement, and compelling civic issues, particularly related to sustainability.

High-Impact STEM Education Conference
Thursday, June 9th 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Friday, June 10th 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
University of Denver
SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) and Campus Compact – Mountain West are partnering to host a conference focusing on advancing STEM teaching and learning through high-impact practices (e.g. undergraduate research and community engagement) and compelling civic issues, particularly sustainability.  We invite a thread of indigenous science and ways of knowing through all of our tracks. We also welcome faculty across the disciplines to engage in discussions through the conference.

University of Denver

University of Denver

Track 1 – Undergraduate Research through the STEM Curriculum

Organizers: Dick Sheardy and Cynthia Maguire from Texas Woman’s University, Steve Bachofer at St. Mary’s College of California

Track 2 – Models for Community Engagement focused on STEM

Organizers: Stephanie Schooley with Campus Compact, Bob Franco from Kapiolani Community College  and Ulla Hasager from University Hawaii Manoa

Track 3 – Sustainability: Responsibility and Engagement across all disciplines:

Organizers: Amy Shachter from Santa Clara University and Cat Kleier from Regis University

Track 4 – Strengthening the Liberal Arts: Humanities, Social Sciences and STEM in Partnership: Eliza Reilly from The SENCER National Center and Stephen Carroll from Santa Clara University

Detailed Schedule

Download (PDF, 126KB)

Track Leader Bios

Download (PDF, 363KB)

Meeting Resources

9 Steps to Designing a SENCER Model in 1 Hour
Presented by Stephen Carroll and Eliza Reilly

Download (PDF, 607KB)

Strategic Local Partnerships for Engaging Undergraduate Science Students in Opportunities of Civic Importance
Presented by G. Reid Bishop

Download (PDF, 7.96MB)

More Ideas to Build on the Zoo Project
Presented by G. Reid Bishop

Download (PDF, 58KB)

Animal Movement Study
Video by Belhaven University Students

High Impact STEM Learning and the Humanities
Presented by Eliza Reilly and Stephn Carroll

Download (PDF, 878KB)

Campus Compact of the Mountain West
Presented by CCMW

Download (PDF, 774KB)

Undergraduate Research and Civic Engagement
Presented by Steve Bachofer, Richard Sheardy, and Cynthia Maguire

Download (PDF, 2.63MB)

High Impact STEM Education: A SENCER Campus Compact Partnership
Presented by Amy Shachter

Download (PDF, 431KB)

Track 3: Sustainability Description and Overview
Presented by Amy Shachter and Catherine Kleier

Download (PDF, 403KB)

A SENCER Model: Chemistry and the Environment
Presented by Amy Shachter

Download (PDF, 160KB)

Strategies for Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum
Presented by Amy Shachter

Download (PDF, 433KB)

SENCER Hawi'i Spring 2016 SCI-West Hawai'i Regional Meeting
Theme: Sustainability and High Impact STEM Education
Saturday, March 12th, 9:00AM-6:30PM
Campus Center Ballroom, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Sunday, March 13th, 8:00AM-12:30PM
Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology
Moku o Lo'e/Coconut Island

Theme: Sustainability and High Impact STEM Education

Registration Details:

There is a flat registration charge of $25 to participate in either or both days of the institute. Please note that there are no registration refunds. Capacity of Sunday’s activities at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology on Coconut Island is limited to the first 40 attendees. Transportation from UH Manoa Campus to He’eia Pier will be arranged.

Register for the Institute

If you would like to be apart of the Saturday poster session or give a presentation on Sunday please complete this google form.

To present for both days, please complete the form twice. You will receive an email confirmation when your submission is reviewed and approved. The deadline to submit the form for a poster or presentation will be Wednesday, March 9th at 5 PM Hawaii Time.

For further questions on presenting during the Saturday or Sunday sessions you can contact Ulla Hasager, Director of Civic Engagement for the College of Social Sciences at University Hawaii Manoa at [email protected].  

Event Description:

SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) Hawai’i is hosting a spring institute focusing on innovative teaching and learning through high-impact practices (e.g. undergraduate research and community engagement) and compelling civic issues, particularly around sustainability. We invite faculty, administrators, and students to consider how to thread Indigenous sciences and ways of knowing through all of our courses and research. We also welcome faculty across the disciplines to engage in discussions throughout the conference.

Saturday’s activities offer an array of concurrent and poster sessions with a keynote from Karen Oates, Dean of Arts and Sciences & Professor of Biochemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and 2015-2016 Sigma Xi distinguished lecturer.

Come and share your experiences, network, and learn more about:

  • how to integrate SENCER theory and practice into STEM courses designed for both general education and STEM majors
  • how to use the SENCER assessment tools – and create your own SALG (Student Assessment of Learning Gains) survey instrument
  • how sustainability and climate change can be the cornerstone for active & project-based learning
  • how to utilize existing and create collaborative, civic-engagement projects as part of sustainability education

Institute Schedule

Download (PDF, 67KB)

Hawai’i: First SENCER State

From left, the late Congressman Mark Takai, UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences Dean Denise Eby Konan, UH Mānoa Director of Education Hokulani Aikau and Kapiʻolani CC Director of the Office for Institutional Effectiveness Robert Franco.

From left, the late Congressman Mark Takai, UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences Dean Denise Eby Konan, UH Mānoa Director of Education Hokulani Aikau and Kapiʻolani CC Director of the Office for Institutional Effectiveness Robert Franco.

On September 29, at the U.S. Capitol, NSF SENCER Program Director, David Burns, introduced the Hawai’i SENCER Team. Then Hawai’i Congressman Mark Takai addressed the audience and spoke with pride about Hawaii’s effort to develop citizen scientists. Mika Morse and Jonathan Elkin, representing Senator Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, were also in attendance.

Establishing Model States is a SENCER strategy for sustaining the citizen science effort beyond the life of NSF funding.

Learn more about Hawaii as the first SENCER state.

About the Host Institution: Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University is a leading Jesuit, Catholic institution that has grown in size and stature during the last decade and is increasingly recognized as one of the most dynamic and successful private, nonprofit educational institutions in the West. Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University is California’s oldest institution of higher learning.

The University has over 8,000 students and is organized into six academic units: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Jesuit School of Theology, the Leavey School of Business, the School of Education and Counseling Psychology, the School of Engineering, and the School of Law. Student learning takes place in an educational environment that integrates rigorous inquiry and scholarship, creative imagination, reflective engagement with society, a deep understanding of ethics, and a commitment to fashioning a more humane, just, and sustainable world. The vision of the University is to educate leaders and citizens of competence, conscience, and compassion.

Past Symposia

SCI-West 2015 Hawaii Meeting
February 28, 2015
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

A team from SENCER traveled to Hawai’i to consult, inspire, and learn about existing and new Hawai’i SENCER initiatives. Opportunities for further work with SENCER and proposal development to NSF also was explored.

SENCER is NSF’s leading initiative to reform undergraduate science education. The SENCER team was interested in how the University of Hawai’i is integrating SENCER principles and practices in both the natural and social sciences with a sharp focus on Native Hawaiian culture and epistemology. From that interest came the idea of making Hawai’i a model state in the SENCER context.

As a first step, the SENCER Center for Innovation West, the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences and its Native Hawaiian Initiative team, as well as the KCC-led, Hui o Moku inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional, Hawai’i SENCER team hosted a faculty institute, regional meetings, consultations, and house calls during the period from February 26 to March 6, 2015.

Thanks to everyone who joined us at the faculty institute on February 28, 2015 to take advantage of the opportunities to meet and work with members of the SENCER leadership teams.

Faculty Institute Schedule:
(8:00-10:00am: Meeting time for inter-island groups, including the Hui O Moku group; the Hawai’i Pacific Islands Campus Compact leadership group; and the Sustainability Summit Leadership debrief)

10:00am-12:30pm: Introduction to SENCER theory and practice by SENCER leaders

12:30-1:30pm: Networking lunch, poster presentations

1:30-4:00pm: Presentations of work linking social, natural sciences and indigenous knowledge in Hawai’i

4:15-5:30pm: Work session at tables: Brainstorming about sencerizing courses and civic-engagement programs in break-out groups.

5:30-6:00pm: Summary and closing – planning for the future

The SENCER conference/workshop was focused on faculty and administrators, but some of the presentations involved students and community leaders.

For more information about the Faculty Institute and meeting arrangements with the SENCER teams, please contact
Dr. Ulla Hasager, Director of Civic Engagement for the College of Social Sciences, UH Mānoa, at [email protected], (808) 956-4218 and (808) 330-1276.

Read summaries of proceedings and events:

  • SENCER, Sustainability, and the Hawaiian Islands
    Click to learn about SENCER’s participation in Hawaiʻi’s 3rd Annual Higher Education Sustainability Summit.
  • Faculty Institute
    Click to read about the SCI-West sponsored faculty institute, which featured presentations by Hawaiian faculty and visiting SENCER representatives.
  • Kapi’olani Community College Site Visit and SENCER Reception
    Click to read about the visiting SENCER’s teams first site visit while in the islands, and Dean Denise Eby Konan’s reception for the group.
  • Windward Community College Site Visit
    Click to read about the SENCER team’s busy day at WCC, from sitting in on a class to touring an ancient fishpond.
  • University of Hawai’i at Hilo and Hawai’i Community College Site Visits
    Click to read about the SENCER team’s visit to the big island spent meeting with students and faculty.
  • University of Hawai’i at West O’ahu Site Visit, Hawai’i Public Radio Interview, and Hawai’i Strategy Institute Presentation
    Click to read about the SENCER team’s last days in Hawai’i, featuring a radio interview, trip to West O’ahu’s campus, and presentation on strategic implementation of SENCER.
Sustaining STEM Education Innovation with Civic Engagement
Saint Mary's College of California, November 2013
Mike McAlpin, Director of Media Relations
Original story posted here
Palm tree

How do you increase students’ interest in STEM subjects and at the same time create a civic engagement course that benefits communities surrounding your college? That question was the focus of math and science professors from a dozen California colleges and universities who gathered at Saint Mary’s for a regional conference on November 16, sponsored by SENCER.

Saint Mary’s chemistry professor Steve Bachofer, along with Santa Clara University chemistry professor and senior associate provost Amy Shachter, the co-directors of SENCER’s Center of Innovation for the West Coast (SCI–West), hosted the conference in the Soda Center and Brousseau Hall.

“The SCIs are regional centers that support faculty involved in SENCER projects and these regional meetings give faculty pursuing SENCER coursework an opportunity, and a venue, to present their findings and project research,” said Bachofer. “The gatherings also serve as a way to recruit new faculty into the SENCER family, so to speak, by showing them how these sorts of class assignments can be successful with students and with community partners.”

Bachofer’s course Urban Environmental Issues, a civic engagement class that examines how a contaminated formal U.S. Naval Base in Alameda is being reclaimed for use by the City of Alameda was selected as a model course by SENCER. The Saint Mary’s chemistry professor developed the popular course 10 years ago with SMC sociology professor Phylis Martinelli. The course is now an example SENCER uses to help professors across the nation develop science civic engagement courses.

More than 30 professors, including 10 STEM faculty members from Saint Mary’s, attended the mid-November SENCER conference. Biology professor Vidya Chandrasekaran, who partnered with Bachofer in organizing the event, said the event provided faculty with opportunities to compare notes and discuss ideas for new approaches in the classroom.

“It allowed me connect with biology faculty at SF State and LMU (Loyola Marymount University) who are incorporating civic engagement in their courses,” said Chandrasekaran. She added that since some of the attendees were new to SENCER, a poster session displaying successful SENCER courses was very useful. “They were able to see what other professors have done and were able to talk to them about the issues involved with implementing a civic engagement course on their overall curriculum and, importantly, what institutional resources are needed for success.”

Both Chandrasekaran and Bachofer noted that Saint Mary’s hosting of the SENCER conference was timely. The College’s new core curriculum requires participation in campus-wide courses that engage the world in substantial and meaningful ways, including math and science courses that promote the common good and provide opportunities for community engagement.

The conference included workshops on designing a SENCER course, incorporating civic engagement in math courses and examples of successful science and civic engagement initiatives. It also featured a KQED educational media session on using multimedia to teach science and reach out to the public. KQED presenter Andrea Swensrud said more science professors are exploring how multimedia tools can assist in the classroom and in making science accessible to the public. “They are creating their own media now, blogging, using digital storytelling, slideshows, creating short little videos, using different ways to get their work out into the community, instead of just publishing papers,” said Swensrud. With so many channels of communication available through social media she added, “it’s really important for scientists to know how to communicate information about their work in a variety of ways.”

Mathematics professor Ellen Veomett, one of the Saint Mary’s professors in attendance, said she found the conference to be very informative. She was especially interested in how LMU structured a civic engagement mathematics course around outcomes at a health facility. Veomett is currently working with mathematics professor Chris Jones on the upcoming Jan Term class Math In the City: California Prison Realignment, which aligns with the goals of SENCER. Using statistical data from the state, her class will analyze the effects of the realignment of the California correctional system, which has transferred thousands of inmates from state prisons to county jails.

The outcomes of Veomett’s Jan Term class could possibly wind up as an example at a future SENCER conference. There is precedent for it. Steve Bachofer’s model SENCER course on urban environmental issues started out as a Jan Term course examining the impact of closures of Bay Area naval bases. The rest is science and civic engagement history.

SENCER Summer Institute
Santa Clara University, August 2013
2012 SENCER Summer Institute
Santa Clara University, August 2012
SCEWestNet Organizational Meeting
Santa Clara University, March 2012
Energy, Resources, and Island Sustainability
Kapi'olani Community College (HI), October 2010
Symposium on Teaching Science and Engineering Through Civic Engagement
Santa Clara University (CA), October 2008
SENCER Summer Institute
Santa Clara University (CA), August 2008
Western Regional Conference
Chapman University (CA), April 2007
SENCER Summer Institutes
Santa Clara University (CA), 2001-2006

West Co-Directors

Amy Shachter, Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Amy Shachter
Santa Clara University
[email protected]

Dr. Steven Bachofer, SCI-West Co-Director

Dr. Steven Bachofer
St. Mary’s College of California
[email protected]

Dr. Ulla Hasager, SCI-West Co-Director

Dr. Ulla Hasager
University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
[email protected]

Leadership Council

Dr. Gary Booth
Brigham Young University

Dr. Stephen Carroll
Santa Clara University

Dr. Virginia Carson
Chapman University

Dr. Lawrence Duffy
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Dr. Robert Franco
Kapi’olani Community College

Dr. Garon Smith
University of Montana

Dr. Julia Smith
Holy Names University