published March 1, 2006

SENCER E-Newsletter, March 2006, Volume 5, Issue 6

SENCER Makes a House Call to LaSalle University

La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA, was pleased to host a one-day SENCER house call for several of its Arts and Science faculty members on January 5, 2006. The house call was a follow-up from our participation in the SENCER Summer Institute 2005. We learned about the SENCER ideals and methodologies at SSI and returned to La Salle filled with enthusiasm for the SENCER initiative and with a desire to carry our involvement with SENCER to the next level. Our Dean Thomas Keagy wholeheartedly supported our idea to request a house call and to pursue the SENCER ideals, which coincide very well with the University's mission of informed service and progressive leadership in their communities and the School's development of interdisciplinary study, science and technology programs, and an emphasis on active learning pedagogies.

Group Shot

Fifteen faculty members from a variety of disciplines (economics, psychology, education, biology, chemistry, geology/physics/environmental science, mathematics/computer science, and integrated business science and technology) attended the house call session. SENCER PI David Burns, SENCER Senior Associates Monica Devanas and Terry McGuire, and Jeannette Haviland-Jones of Rutgers University generously facilitated the house call. Topics of discussion included the following:

  • What is the SENCER conceptual style?

  • What are the preliminary results of using the SENCER style?

  • How did SENCER change my teaching?

  • How do I "SENCERize" my course or create a new SENCER course?

Breakout groups engaged in lively discussion and exchange of ideas that furthered interest in the initiative. Assessment of the house call indicated that participants felt the workshop was successful in acquainting faculty with the SENCER initiative. Several faculty members indicated that the workshop gave them "great ideas" that could be implemented immediately. All in all, the participants thought that it was very valuable to meet the SENCER facilitators and that "this is an important programmatic initiative." The faculty are continuing to discuss the design of new interdisciplinary science courses, connecting science with civic engagement through active learning pedagogies.