published March 31, 2010

Fisher Serves as Distinguished Lecturer for MTSU

Matt Fisher, Senior Fellow for the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, spent three days on the Middle Tennessee State University campus as the spring 2010 Distinguished Lecturer. The WISE (Women In Science and Engineering) student organization was his host. Matt arrived on campus the evening that Gloria Steinem spoke as the keynote speaker for the 2010 MTSU National Women's History Month celebration. Steinem is certainly the icon for the women's movement, however as far as we are concerned, Matt is a star and spokesperson for the scholarship of teaching and learning and for SENCER on our campus.

Matt presented a workshop titled Inquiring into Our Students' Learning - The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning which was well received by our faculty and administrators. As our Distinguished Lecturer, he presented a public talk titled Sustainability and Chemistry: Tomorrow's Challenge for Today's Students. He asked about challenges that sustainability and chemistry pose for our students toady and in the future. As his faculty host, I also invited Matt to present a technical to the chemistry department. His talk, Connecting Head, Hand, and Heart - The Three Apprenticeships Needed by Undergraduate Science Majors, focused on work done over the past five years in upper level biochemistry courses to create opportunities for integrative learning and exploration of societal and global contexts. He reviewed how the course was redesigned, the level of content mastery demonstrated by students in the redesigned course, and some rich and unique examples of student work that illustrate both integrative dimensions and social/global contexts of biochemical topics for chemistry and other STEM faculty. He also held a conversation with our non-major students in our SENCER general education course. One student remarked that "Dr. Matt Fisher came all the way to Tennessee to hold a lecture on global warming. I really appreciated that instead of just lecturing us, he asked us how we felt about global warming and answered any questions that we wanted to ask. He also mentioned that yes, we can sit here and complain about how the weather is drastically changing, or we can make small changes in our daily lives to minimize our carbon footprint." This is exactly the reason why I invited Matt to campus and why he is on the same level as Gloria Steinem in our eyes.

- Judith Iriarte-Gross, Middle Tennessee State University