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Hope Chosen for New National
Symposium on Science Education

Posted February 22, 2000

          HOLLAND -- Hope College is among 28 colleges and
  universities invited to participate in the first national
  symposium on "Science Education for New Civic Engagements
  and Responsibilities" (SENCER).
          The Symposium, held at the Annual Meeting of the
  Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U),
  caps Phase I of SENCER, a new initiative supported by the
  National Science Foundation (NSF) designed to link science
  education and current issues.
          "SENCER's aim is to improve undergraduate science
  education by supporting approaches that teach 'though'
  complex, unsolved public issues 'to' basic science," said
  David Burns, senior policy director at AAC&U and the
  director of SENCER.  "We were delighted with the nomination
  we received from Hope College and impressed by their
  commitment to high quality, innovative instruction in the
  sciences."
          Dr. Janet Andersen is the coordinator for Hope
  College's GEMS (General Education Mathematics and Science)
  program.  GEMS courses are designed to help students learn
  science and mathematics, appreciate their power as well as
  limitations, and engage students in the real-world problems
  that require science.
          The GEMS program consists of a collection of one
  mathematics course, six laboratory science courses, and
  eight investigative topical courses.  Each of the courses is
  interdisciplinary and designed to meet the needs of non-
  science, non-mathematics majors.
          Andersen is the principal investigator for an NSF
  grant that supported the development of three of the courses
  ("Mathematics in Public Discourse," "Populations in a
  Changing Environment" and "The Atmosphere and Environmental
  Change").  Dr. John Krupczak is the principal investigator
  for another NSF grant that supported the development of
  "Science and Technology in Everyday Life," the college's
  first GEMS course.
          "Students need to be engaged with the great issues
  of our day, and increasingly, more than a modest scientific
  literacy is required in understanding the choices we need to
  make in a democracy," Burns said.  "Courses that enlist
  students in the analysis and solution of complex problems
  will not only help us teach science better, but we hope that
  students who complete them will be able to be more effective
  citizens, as well."
          "There's a pretty broad range of issues that
  require scientific analyses and approaches, or at least a
  robust appreciation of scientific claims about matters of
  great consequence," said Karen Kashmanian Oates, who is
  AAC&U's senior science fellow and a professor at George
  Mason University.  "We have received nominations of courses
  that have taught science though a focus on biomedical
  issues, HIV/AIDS, the emergence of new diseases, nuclear
  disarmament, migration, the human genome project,
  environmental issues, and many others."
          At the close of this initial planning year, SENCER
  will be developing a comprehensive national dissemination
  strategy so that the work of Hope College and others may be
  shared with others who are committed to improving science
  education.
          "We are grateful to Hope College for the
  leadership they are showing on this very tough issue of
  science education.  Our efforts are certainly benefiting
  from our association with the important work that Dr.
  Andersen and others at Hope College are doing," Burns said.
          Founded in 1915, AAC&U is the leading national
  association devoted to advancing and strengthening
  undergraduate liberal education.  AAC&U's membership
  represents some 700 institutions who collectively enroll
  more than four million students.
                                 -30-
  


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