published April 1, 2007

SENCER E-Newsletter, April 2007, Volume 6, Issue 7

SENCER Alumni Present Workshop at Two-Year College Chemistry Consortium

Ralph Bain, Montgomery College and Theo Koupelis, University of Wisconsin-Marathon


An invitation to participate in the 177th Conference of the Two-Year College Chemistry Consortium (2YC3) was extended to SENCER last Fall by the program director of the conference. The host institution was Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL. The conference took place during March 23-24, 2007.


Four SENCER faculty represented the program during "Science Education, Civic Engagement, and the SENCER Project," a 2.5 hour workshop that took place on Saturday, March 24: Steve Bachofer (Saint Mary's College of California), Ralph Bain (Montgomery College), Theo Koupelis (University of Wisconsin-Marathon), and Dennis Lehman (Harold Washington College). At the start of the session Theo gave a general description of the SENCER program, followed by presentations by Steve and Ralph on their work SENCERizing their chemistry-related courses. Ralph discussed some of the obstacles for students and faculty as well as institutional barriers to implementing SENCER in a chemistry class, based on his experience with his Chemistry and Society course. He also covered some of the failures and successes with incorporating writing projects and briefly talked about the SALG instrument. Steve gave an interesting presentation on his experiences and civic interactions as he implemented the SENCER approach at a Superfund Site, the former Alameda Naval station in California. Dennis then discussed how to develop a SENCER course, using the example of community outreach efforts interactions in Chicago concerning urban health. Theo gave a quick description of the "nuts and bolts" of a SENCER course and a summary of all chemistry related SENCER model courses. The end of the session included an interactive component during which participants considered the possibility of SENCERizing one of their courses and discussed their plans and questions with the presenters.


Taking into account that this session was scheduled against three chemistry workshops, the participation was good (17 people), and the discussions excellent. Participants referred to the SENCER idea as "very interesting," "intriguing," and "inspiring." A number of participants expressed interest in participating in future summer institutes and regional meetings and provided contact information for future announcements. We hope that we will again be invited to participate in future annual conferences of this consortium.