published May 2, 2013

New Initiative to Harvest and Disseminate Pearls of Practice from the SENCER Community

Have you ever tried to find just the right "gem" to enhance your SENCER course? Over the next three years, a team of SENCER practitioners will identify and refine such "Pearls of Practice," which will be published electronically in "strings" by civic themes. Other "strings" will gather pearls according to their intended use, by class size, format, or service-learning and other pedagogies.

Leading this initiative are Cathy Middlecamp, a co-principal investigator in the new NSF SENCER III award and Glenn Odenbrett of the NCSCE staff. They will work in collaboration with Eliza Reilly, editor of the SENCER Model Series. Moving from "models to materials" was one of the four new areas of special focus in the newly-awarded SENCER grant. Our "MtoM" team has already launched review of the SENCER Models that focus on food availability and security, nutrition, diet, and health-related issues such as obesity and diabetes. For this first collection of "Pearls," the team will also tap the expertise of Marion Field Fass, Bennett award winner and author of the "Slow Food" SENCER Model.

SENCER food-related model authors are being contacted now for assistance in sharing and developing effective assignments and activities for application in a variety of disciplines. In the next three years, the MtoM team will solicit activities, assignments, and pedagogical approaches from a wide range of civic themes for dissemination on a rolling basis.

The activities and assignments selected will be incorporated into a template currently under development that includes learning goals, detailed descriptions, methods of assessment, and levels of anticipated learning outcomes such as those described Bloom's taxonomy, the College Board's "enduring understandings" and "cross-cutting themes," the standards advocated by the National Academy of Sciences.

The team hopes to release the first collection of "Pearls" at the 2013 SENCER Summer Institute for review and comment. That collection will be published electronically in late 2013.

For more information on "Pearls of Practice," or to offer activities and assignments for inclusion in the first and future collections, contact Cathy ( or Glenn (