published December 31, 1969

SENCER E-Newsletter, June 2004, Volume 3, Issue 1

Philadelphia University Receives Notice of CCLI Award

We are pleased to share the news that Anne Bockarie, Jeff Ashley, John Pierce, and Faye Ross of Philadelphia University School of Science and Health will receive an NSF Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) award to support their work. The group attributes part of its success to its work with SENCER. Philadelphia had a full team at SSI 2003. What follows is an abstract of what they intend to do:

Exploring Science: Using Hands-On Research to Build Science Literacy for Non-Science Majors

Innovative inquiry-based teaching approaches address the national challenge facing the scientific community of how to effectively build the analytical and critical thinking skills needed for full participation in a democratic society.

As part of Philadelphia University's general education requirement, non-science majors must complete a two course science sequence. The first science course, Environmental Science, has successfully engaged students by adding service learning projects with over forty environmental agencies. In this project, we are designing and implementing an interdisciplinary inquiry-based second course in the sequence called Exploring Science. This research-oriented course is adapting successful approaches from SENCER (DUE-0088753) and ESA21 (DUE-0231171) to build critical thinking and life-long learning skills, instill a greater appreciation of the scientific mode of inquiry, and enhance and sustain awareness of critical environmental issues. Exploring Science students collect, analyze and present vital and usable data to agencies addressing pressing environmental problems in the Philadelphia area.

Philadelphia University's faculty is committed to using innovative approaches to science education. We are hosting workshops from nationally-recognized experts on discovery-based approaches and classroom engagement techniques to foster student participation. The assessment approach is iterative with an internal team collecting data and providing feedback on learning outcomes, while an external reviewer identifies successful project approaches and provides recommendations. Student learning, science literacy, attitudes/enthusiasm are quantified through pre/post surveys, the Student Assessment of Learning Goals (SALG) and the Science Attitude Inventory (SAI).

Half of Philadelphia University students are first generation college students and seventy percent are women. Exploring Science is being designed to engage these often underrepresented groups. Collaboration with regional environmental agencies provides scientific data for management and policy decisions. The Exploring Science approach is being disseminated at a regional hands-on workshop, symposia at two national meetings and publication in peer-reviewed journals.

We are always interested to hear about the progress of our SENCER colleagues, especially news of grant support for increased SENCER work. We are happy to help support your efforts in any way that we can. Please let us know of developments in your work and we will share your news with the SENCER community. You may e-mail Patti Simon at with your reports and requests.