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Faculty Professional Development by means of Case Based Reasoning


Posted: Nov 22 2011 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Metacognition, Collaboration, Community

photo from SERC Workshop
Small group discussion at SERC Complex Earth sysetms workshop
I've now been to five workshops in the "On the Cutting Edge" series of professional development workshops for college geoscience faculty (this one, and this, and this, and this, and this). I've been amazed and somewhat bemused at how well they work. People show up, they contribute genuinely good teaching ideas, they ask seriously probing questions of the expert speakers, new ideas get generated through small group discussion, and then people go home and actually make use of ideas from the workshop in their teaching practice. I'm not the only person who really likes these workshops: as of about a year and half ago, 1400 geoscience faculty from more than 450 geoscience departments had participated in Cutting Edge workshops (Manduca, et al, 2010).

In contrast, many of my colleagues concerned with the quality of science education in other disciplines moan and groan about how hard it is to get college faculty to pay attention to research on learning or to change their teaching practice. So how–by what mechanism–does the Cutting Edge approach work? Here's an idea. More

What could the President do?


Posted: Jan 30 2011 by Cathy Manduca
Topics: Community, Collaboration
Earlier this month I was invited to attend a planning meeting for PCAST, the President's advisors on science and technology. They (via a subcommittee) are gearing up to write a report on STEM higher education, which will be a companion to their excellent piece on STEM K-12 education (my favorite parts of this are the emphasis on preparation and inspiration together, and the reminder that we do need to worry about high-achieving students). You can find the report here by scrolling down to K-12 STEM Education report.


By way of introduction at the meeting, we were asked to provide three minutes of advice to the President as to how he could help improve STEM higher education and in particular the preparation of students for the STEM workforce. Here is my response. There were lots of people at the meeting who could speak to the general question, so I spoke from the point of view of helping faculty be better teachers. More

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Reflections from the Front Lines of Interdisciplinarity


Posted: Mar 26 2010 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Collaboration
I recently spoke on a panel about "Interdisciplinary Research" at a conference of education researchers. I was recruited to provide an eye-witness account from the point of view of someone who does interdisciplinary research, to be followed by three speakers who research interdisciplinarity. I found this to be an interesting assignment, requiring new thinking on my part. Here's what I came up with:

Title slide from Kim\'s interdisciplinarity talk

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Congratulations to "On the Cutting Edge"


Posted: Feb 26 2010 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Community, Collaboration
SPORE award notice from Science mag onlineAnnouncement featured on sciencemag.org front page during week of Feb 25, 2010.
Please join me in congratulating Earth & Mind co-editors Cathy Manduca and Dave Mogk, Earth & Mind computer engineer Sean Fox, plus Barb Tewksbury, Heather Macdonald, Ellen Iverson, Karin Kirk, John McDaris, Carol Ormand, and Monica Bruckner, upon their receipt of the "Science Prize for Online Resources in Education." This prize is given by Science magazine, "to encourage innovation and excellence in education, as well as to encourage the use of high quality on-line resources by students, teachers and the public." The group won for their work in developing the "On the Cutting Edge" website, as documented in an essay entitled "On the Cutting Edge: Teaching Help for Geoscience Faculty."

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Geoscience Departments at Risk


Posted: Feb 4 2010 by Cathryn A Manduca
Topics: Community, Collaboration
The current shortfall in state budgets is making this a challenging time for geoscience departments (check out David Steer's insightful article predicting this trauma last year in the NAGT e-news, the recent article in the Jan 1, Science: Recession Hits Some Sciences Hard at Florida State University). The Building Strong Geoscience Department's project has been working for several years to help departments strengthen their programming, their internal management, and the relationship to the institution. Their website is full of good ideas. However, now I'm starting to hear about departments who are doing all of these good things and are still under threat. If being really good at what we do isn't enough, what is our next step? Three things come to mind More

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