Dr. Joanne Stewart, professor of chemistry at Hope College, is co-editor of a book focused on making college science education more effective and engaging.

“Connected Science” which was published in June in the “Scholarship and Teaching” series of Indiana University Press of Bloomington, Ind., calls for an interdisciplinary approach that stresses integrative learning and engaging students through open-ended inquiry, compelling real-world questions and data-rich experiences.

In the book, faculty authors from a variety of disciplines and institutions present case studies based on research in the classroom, offering insights into student learning goals and best practices in curriculum design.  The publication also brings together themes from the case studies, presents an overview of the connected science approach and identifies strategies and future challenges to help move the approach forward.

Dr. David W. Oxtoby, who is president of Pomona College and a physical chemist, has called “Connected Science” “A significant contribution to science pedagogy and to the scholarship of teaching and learning,” noting that the book “will be of interest to researchers in the area of science education and to college and university faculty members who seek to improve their teaching.”

Stewart, who also co-authored one of the book’s chapters, has been active at the national level for more than two decades in efforts to enhance science education.  She has held or administered multiple grants, from agencies and organizations including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), for projects focused on science education nationally as well as on the Hope campus.  Through the years, she has made presentations on cooperative learning at off-campus workshops sponsored by Project Kaleidoscope, the NSF and the Pew Mid-States Consortium, among others.

“Connected Science” developed from her participation as a 2005-06 Carnegie Scholar in the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), which engaged 21 college and university faculty in projects that explored the integration of learning across courses, over time, and between campus and community life.  Many of the faculty who contributed chapters to the book were also in the program.

Since 2007, she has been part of the leadership team of the national online resource “IONiC: Transforming Education Through Collaborative Development of Materials at the Frontiers of Inorganic Chemistry.”  She is also a Teagle Pedagogy Fellow in the “Lattice for Pedagogical Research and Practice” program developed by the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) to enhance student learning and achievement.

Stewart has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1988, and her professional interests include chemistry research as well science teaching.

In 1996, she was one of the first two recipients of the college’s “Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching” (now the “Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award”).  In 2009, she was chosen to speak through the “Last Lecture Series” organized by the college’s chapter of the national Mortar Board honorary society.  She has mentored more than 50 undergraduates in collaborative research, in both her current initiatives and in her work in synthetic inorganic chemistry.

Stewart was one of four science educators serving as co-editor of “Connected Science.”  The others were Dr. Tricia A. Ferrett, who is a professor of chemistry at Carleton College and founder and former director of the Carleton Interdisciplinary Science and Math Initiative; Dr. David R. Geelan, who is a senior lecturer in science education at Griffith University in Australia; and Dr. Whitney M. Schlegel, who is an associate professor of biology and founding director of the Human Biology Program at Indiana University.