published February 1, 2008

SENCER E-Newsletter, February 2008, Volume 7, Issue 4

SENCER Launches Leadership Fellows Program

David Burns, PI, SENCER

"We want to recognize and honor the contributions of distinguished SENCER leaders and enlist them in the movement to achieve new levels of accomplishment." - David Ferguson, Chair, SENCER Leadership Fellows Board

Over the past two to three years, faculty members and academic leaders who have been developing SENCER projects have expressed a desire and a willingness to take on new and increasingly significant leadership roles to improve STEM learning and to connect that learning to matters of great civic consequence. Having found their association with the SENCER community intellectually and professionally rewarding, a large number of SENCER alumni have expressed their desire to become even more involved with the SENCER initiative.

At a national program level, these expressions of interest and commitment have come at a pivotal time in the life of the SENCER project. We desire to find ways to encourage the further development of SENCER projects on campuses where these reforms have already begun. Beyond that, our project needs the advice, expertise, and support that a growing cadre of experienced SENCER participants can provide.

Our goals are four-fold. We seek to (1) recognize the leadership of those who have made reforms into campus realities, (2) broaden the impact of individual SENCER activities on campus, (3) apply what has been learned to new challenges, (3) create regional and, where desired, issue-specific organizations to nurture the expanding community of practice that SENCER has helped to foster, and (4) plan for sustaining and continually refreshing the SENCER ideals and national program over the long term.

To respond to the requests from you, the members of the SENCER community, and to further our program objectives, we are pleased to announce the "SENCER Leadership Fellows Program."

We invite you to consider applying and/or nominating others to be considered for selection as a "SENCER Leadership Fellow." A formal application will be made available on the SENCER web site in early March; informal expressions of interest and nominations are solicited at this time. Please read on for details. We invite your interest, as well as your nominations and applications.

What Will SENCER Leadership Fellows Do?

Fellowship activities will cover a broad range of possibilities. Fellows - who will be initially appointed to 18 month terms - will be asked in their applications to propose specific activities that will become the foci of their Fellowship.

Ideally, each Fellow would commit to: (1) promoting wider campus adoption of SENCER principles in undergraduate STEM courses through presentations, seminars, and informal discussions; (2) guiding the development of at least one additional SENCER project/course on campus; (3) engaging and mentoring other faculty members (and students who intend to be teachers) in implementing SENCER approaches; and (4) connecting with and supporting regional activities, where feasible and appropriate.

Additionally, we welcome applications from those who are also interested in and committed to: (1) developing strategies and ways to encourage students to take SENCER courses early in their academic careers (especially pre-service teacher education candidates); (2) coordinating institutional participation in the SENCER SALG and other assessment activities; (3) creating and disseminating curricular materials, and (4) organizing and carrying out consultations and workshops at nearby colleges and/or at local, state, and national disciplinary organizations.

All Fellows will be invited to help guide the SENCER project by participating in annual meetings of the SENCER Leadership Fellows Council, reporting on accomplishments using an interactive database, and proposing other activities and projects as they see fit.

How Will SENCER Leadership Fellows Be Selected and Who Will Guide the Fellowship Program?

Fellows will be selected by a distinguished National Fellowship Board following review of applications and upon the recommendation of the SENCER National Office. Professor David Ferguson of the Stony Brook University will serve as chair of the Board. The Board's other members will include Robert Full (University of California - Berkeley), Jay Labov (National Research Council), Cathy Middlecamp (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Barbara Tewksbury (Hamilton College). Melvyn Schiavelli (President of Harrisburg University), and David Burns (Executive Director of NCSCE) will serve ex officio. Danielle Kraus will act as secretary to the Board.

To facilitate contact with Fellows at regional meetings and events, each appointed member of National Fellowship Board will enjoy a special liaison relationship with one of our regional SENCER Centers for Innovation; Dave with the SCI-Mid Atlantic at Rutgers University; Bob with SCI-West at Santa Clara University; Jay with SCI-South at the University of North Carolina at Asheville; Cathy at SCI-Midwest at Harold Washington College; and Barb with SCI-New England at the University of Southern Maine.

The Board will be responsible for making appointments and providing overall guidance to the Fellowship program. Ultimately, however, we plan for the Fellows, themselves, to develop into a self-governing element within the SENCER organization. To encourage this, at each of our SENCER Summer Institutes, in addition to being recognized and honored, Fellows will be invited to participate as a Council to plan activities and events, provide advice and guidance to the national staff, and shape the future of the fellowship program and SENCER, itself. As implied earlier, Fellows will also be invited to affiliate with a regional SENCER Center for Innovation. The Centers will host gatherings of Fellows in connection with regional events. Fellows will be invited to engage in SCI program activities and serve in advisory roles to newly emerging regional SENCER organizations.

Who Is Eligible to Be Named a SENCER Leadership Fellow?

All faculty and academic leaders (including "home team" members who have not attended a SENCER Summer Institute) who have been involved with SENCER since its inception in 2001 are eligible and invited to be nominated and/or to apply.

Those who are nominated by others will receive a letter from the SENCER national office informing them of the nomination and soliciting their formal applications.

Candidates who have served as PIs on SENCER's NSF-sponsored sub-awards should have substantially met all our relevant award requirements.

More than one person from a SENCER alumni institution may apply or be nominated; in the case where more than one applicant from a single institution is under consideration, the Fellowship Board may require a statement outlining how the activities of the proposed fellows will be related and, if applicable, coordinated once the decision on fellowship status has been reached and before the formal announcement of fellowship status is made.

SENCER alumni who have since moved to another institution that has not been engaged with the SENCER initiative are also eligible and encouraged to apply. For a list of Institutions that have been engaged with SENCER, please see the SENCER web site.

From time to time, the National Board may make appoint "Honorary Fellows" to recognize those whose contributions it regards as extraordinary.

All applications/nominations will be considered and treated as confidential.

When Will Formal Applications Be Due and When Will Selections Be Made?

Applications for consideration for the inaugural class of Leadership Fellows will be due on April 18, 2007. We hope to announce the appointment of 2008 SENCER Leadership Fellows by May 29. Following this initial period, applications and nominations will be received on an open-ended basis and appointments will be made on a quarterly basis, beginning in October, 2008.

The term of the Fellowship shall be for 18 months. Fellowships are renewal upon invitation and receipt of an updated plan and report on accomplishments and contributions during the initial term of appointment.

How Many Fellows Will Be Selected?

Though more than 1,100 faculty and academic leaders have been formally involved with SENCER since our inception, the Board anticipates making only 50 appointments to fellowship status in the initial class. That number could change, of course, and is dependent on the character and quality of the nominations and applications.

As noted, we anticipate announcing the first class of Fellows sometime before May 29th. Following the initial appointments, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with appointments made quarterly beginning in October, 2008.

How Will SENCER Leadership Fellows Benefit from Their Service?

While SENCER Leadership Fellows will serve as volunteers, without financial remuneration, their selection as Fellows will be recognized and celebrated in a number of ways.

- An official appointment signifying leadership in this National Science Foundation-supported program will be provided to all Fellows.

- A formal letter announcing the fellowship appointment will be sent to the president and leader of the governing board of each fellow's affiliate institution.

- A new section on the SENCER website will contain the photo and brief biography of each fellow, along with a brief summary of proposed fellowship activities.

All Fellows will be considered as members of the Fellows Council and will be invited and encouraged to participate in an annual meeting and awards dinner at the SENCER Summer Institute.

To support the work of the Fellows, the SENCER national office will (1) create a password-protected Fellows member space on the SENCER web site, (2) provide recognition of appointments and accomplishments, (3) connect SENCER senior associates/scholars with Fellows, (4) convene annual working sessions for Fellows at regional meetings and the Summer Institutes, (5) provide a fund to support travel subventions to Fellows for presentations at professional meetings and other activities, and (6) verify and confirm Fellowship membership at a Fellow's request to an interested third party.

Using reports and materials provided by the Fellows, SENCER also plans to collect and publish dissemination news, program reports, and best practice strategies from the Fellows periodically.

What Can You Do Right Now If You Are Interested in the SENCER Leadership Fellows Program?

As noted, we expect to have a formal nomination and application page on the SENCER Web site by early March. We will send an e-mail to the SENCER Community when this is live.

In the meantime, if you are interested in applying to become a SENCER Leadership Fellow and/or would like to nominate someone for this honor, please send an e-mail to David Burns,, to express your interest as soon as possible. Those nominated will be invited to make formal application as soon as the application site is launched.

We encourage your interest in the Fellowship program and look forward to hearing from you.