Conference Highlights

Thursday, October 31, 2013

7:00 – 8:30 p.m. 
Keynote Address
Persistence in Science by All Students:
Lessons from the Little Red Hen and Other Fairy Tales

David J. Asai, Senior Director, Undergraduate and Graduate Programs, Science Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Persistence of undergraduates in science fields is of critical importance to the future of our nation. More than just crossing the finish line, our work on persistence should be about adding value to the undergraduate experience, encouraging students to discover new ideas about themselves and science. Persistence in science by all students is poor. Persistence of students from underrepresented ethnic groups is abysmal. Even when factors that affect persistence are the same, minorities leave science at a significantly greater rate than do whites and Asians. Dr. Asai will discuss key ingredients to improving persistence in science by all students: 1) What we teach—providing authentic research
opportunities for all students early in college; and 2) How we teach—examining the way we think about student development. What are our expectations and how do we define excellence?

Friday, November 1, 2013

9:15 – 10:30 a.m. 
Plenary
Metacognition and Motivation: Advancing STEM Learning for All Students
Saundra Yancy McGuire, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Professor of Chemistry, Louisiana State University

Many learners today seem more focused on becoming credentialed, and less concerned with gaining a deep understanding of the concepts and principles taught in their courses. At the same time, faculty may find it challenging to provide engaging learning activities for students who present a wide range of interests and levels of college readiness. Enhancing undergraduate STEM learning, particularly for
underrepresented students in both STEM and non-STEM majors, begins with a clear understanding of how students learn and what motivates them to learn. Dr. McGuire will address how educators can instill a desire to think critically and teach metacognitive learning strategies that will advance STEM knowledge, skills, and careers for all students.

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Community Forum
Advancing Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skills: The STIRS Project
Katherine Hunting, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University; and Kevin Hovland, Senior Director of Global Learning and Curricular Change, AAC&U

The STIRS project aims to make evidence-based reasoning a more explicit outcome of liberal education. STIRS rests on the belief that, to become engaged and productive citizens prepared to address the critical challenges of the twenty-first century, college graduates in all fields of study need to be able to use scientific reasoning to gather and evaluate evidence; understand how scientific and social science studies are designed and executed and recognize the implication of design choices; use statistical reasoning to evaluate data and use data to communicate effectively; and base decisions on analysis of evidence, logic, and ethics.

Forum participants will explore how they might create and use case studies to integrate evidence-based thinking across liberal education—focused by engagement with big questions, and anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

9:15 – 10:15 a.m. 
Plenary
Institutional Change: An Evolving Revolution That Begins One Voice at a Time
Tuajuanda C. Jordan, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Chemistry, and Chief Diversity Officer, Lewis & Clark College

The science education landscape is gradually changing as educators redesign individual courses, pedagogies, curricula, and co-curricular activities to engage students in the process of doing science.  But the full promise of these approaches remains unmet as the culture of most higher education institutions evolves more slowly than these individual advances. Drawing on experience as a student, faculty member, and administrator, Jordan will offer suggestions on how to empower those on the forefront of change to facilitate institution-wide transformation–beginning with one voice at a time.