NSF Awards $5.3 Million Grant to Improve Science Ed.

Posted: August 2, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Michelle Nery

George Mason is participating in a five-year dissemination project funded by a $5.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU). The project, Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER), was developed and is codirected by George Mason professor Karen Kashmanian Oates and AACU senior policy director W. David Burns.

“Students who are in my class may become senators,” says Oates. “They will be the ones who decide whether or not the Human Genome Project will get money or energy will be the focus. Students will be making the decisions, so we’d better start teaching them differently.”

SENCER is a strategic initiative to promote and sustain large-scale, durable, institutionalized science education reform. The three main goals of the project are to improve science education especially, for students who will never major in a scientific field; to connect science education reform to more robust and relevant general education programs; and to stimulate informed civic engagement with scientific questions on the part of today’s students.

During the first SENCER Summer Institute Aug. 3-7 at Santa Clara University in San Jose, California, George Mason’s “Mysteries of Migration: Consequences for Conservation Policies” course will serve as a model that exemplifies the SENCER approach. Taught by New Century College professors Tom Wood and Elizabeth Gunn, the course is structured as a learning community.

For more information, view the press release.

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