SENCER E-Newsletter, December 2003, Volume 2, Issue 6
Report on the SENCER Symposium IV, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina - By: Edward Katz, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Asheville
Charleston, SC, 24-25 October 2003
UNCA sent Edward J. Katz, Associate Vice Chancellor for University Programs, to attend a Southeast Regional SENCER Symposium, in Charleston, SC, 24-25 October 2003. Representatives from the following colleges convened to review progress and explore opportunities to work together: Georgia College and State University, Kennesaw State University, Oxford College at Emory University, The College of Charleston, University of South Carolina - Sumter, Wofford College, Bennett College, Duke University, Meredith College, North Carolina Wesleyan College, and University of North Carolina at Asheville. A number of important issues were addressed at the symposium, which in turn have had a significant impact on the ways that UNCA would like to extend its participation in the SENCER project.
First, UNCA is committed to participation in the 2004 SENCER Summer Institute, as part of its curricular reform and implementation initiative. The new curriculum, called Integrative Liberal Studies (ILS), will feature the sciences prominently in clusters that include the social sciences and the arts, and which will be organized around topics of current cultural and social importance.
In addition to an administrator from Academic Affairs, UNCA's SENCER team will include scientists who will serve as coordinators of the ILS Topical Clusters. Our aim at SSI will be twofold: first, to begin curricular planning that incorporates SENCER principles and values into the clustered science courses; and second, to apply these same curricular ideals, pedagogies, and values into the clusters as a whole. Following our conversations with other regional institutions participating in SENCER, UNCA is also considering adding a student to the team.
The second outcome of UNCA's participation in the Symposium is that we have begun discussing ways in which we might take a leadership role in a regional SENCER dissemination project or some other regional initiative. We are interested, for example, in exploring how our Asheville Institute on Liberal Learning (AILL) may become involved in, or serve as a site for, some of this dissemination. AILL has a significant student-participation component, which may serve to enrich and extend SENCER's own interests in fostering student involvement in curricular reform in the sciences. Of course, this is only one possibility among many for UNCA to assist SENCER regionally in its mission. We are eager to develop and extend our relationship with the SENCER project.