published February 21, 2013

New TUES III NSF Award Supports the Next Phase of SENCER's Work: Expanding Follow-up Activities, Regional Efforts, Assessment Services, Sustainability Planning, and New Curricular Resources

The National Science Foundation approved a new four-year grant to support the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement to enable new SENCER initiatives focusing especially on expanding resources, outreach to new institutions, deepening assessment, expanding regional centers, and enhancing follow-up with existing members of our community. In addition, the support will allow the continuation of the annual SENCER Summer Institutes, Washington Symposia and Capitol Hill Poster Session, our online journal, and the implementation sub-award program to encourage SENCER projects. More than 150 implementation sub-awards will become available over the next four years.

David Burns, principal investigator, will continue to lead the SENCER efforts along with four new co-principal investigators: Dr. Monica Devanas of Rutgers University, Dr. David Ferguson of Stony Brook University, Dr. Catherine Hurt Middlecamp of University of Wisconsin Madison, and Dr. Amy Shachter of Santa Clara University. Each Co-PI will take charge of specific areas of focus for new SENCER activities.

"We are excited about the possibility of expanding the SENCER community to new members, as well as deepening the involvement of colleges and universities already associated with SENCER and strengthening connections among our alumni," remarked Burns. "I'd like to express my gratitude to the National Science Foundation for what will now amount to more than 15 years of support for SENCER programs. We will not achieve the promise of a democracy without a citizenry that possesses the intellectual skills that come from excellent instruction and engagement in the STEM disciplines and exercises their right to access the benefits that come from science and scientific research. We pledge our energies toward this important goal."

Outreach efforts will include partnerships and special programs with organizations such as the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Council of Colleges on Arts and Sciences, and the White House Office on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Along with these collaborations, expansion of the Leadership Fellows program, recognition for exemplary applications of the SENCER ideals to courses, programs, and faculty development efforts, and new issues of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal, will continue to showcase community achievements and resources.

Dr. Monica Devanas will coordinate efforts to intensify follow-up support for the community, providing resources and outlets for teams to continue work begun at Summer Institutes and other symposia throughout the year.

Maintaining connections through continued support for our regional SENCER Centers for Innovation will be the primary focus of Dr. Amy Shachter's efforts as a co-PI. (Amy also currently serves as project director for our Keck-supported initiative to create regional networks ion the West.) As noted in this issue of the eNews, SENCER now hosts nine regional centers to support efforts across the country with the addition of the SCI-Chesapeake Bay.

To increase the usefulness of SENCER resources, Dr. Cathy Middlecamp will lead efforts to develop and make available materials inspired by our existing course models. As we develop new resources, we will also be investigating the best strategies for making them easily accessible to users. Cathy will be working with Eliza Reilly, who will continue as general editor of our model series and co-editor in chief of the journal.

Dr. David Ferguson will focus his efforts on leadership development and work with David Burns on new assessment activities. Dave will help coordinate activities to measure 'enduring understandings' in partnership with the College Board and the SALG. Over the next four years, this effort should produce a collection of items that our collaborating faculty members can use, in their customized SALG assessments, and/or independently in their course assessments, to begin to accumulate data to show whether and how their courses are contributing to gains in learning.

Sustainability of SENCER efforts and programs will also be an area of focus for the entire leadership team, who will work to ensure the growth and strengthening of these activities over the long term.

Future issues of the SENCER eNews will include features that will expand on each of the goals for SENCER moving forward. In the meantime, we invite you to contact us with any questions or suggestions.

Photograph Key


Danielle Kraus Tarka, deputy executive director

Chuck Gahun, project consultant

Amanda Moodie, network and events coordinator

Hailey Chenevert, SENCER-ISE project assistant

Ellen Mappen, Senior Scholar

Monica Devanas, Co-PI

Katie Shade, SENCER program assistant

Cathy Middlecamp, Co-PI

Janice Ballou, evaluator


Karen Kashmanian Oates, Senior Fellow

Eliza Reilly, Senior Scholar, Editor of the SENCER Model Series, Co-Editor in Chief of SECEIJ

David Ferguson, Co-PI

David Burns, PI and executive director

Glenn Odenbrett, GLISTEN project director

(Not pictured)

Amy Shachter, Co-PI

Bill Bennett, Senior Scholar