Who is this program for?

Established in 2001, SENCER has engaged over 6000 faculty at 500 institutions in a national community of practice that aims to foster student engagement with STEM while increasing civic awareness by teaching of rigorous STEM content through real, relevant, and unsolved public challenges, including environmental quality, public health, the growth of technology, and climate.

SENCER courses and programs strengthen student learning and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by connecting course topics to issues of critical local, national, and global importance. Students and faculty report that the SENCER approach makes the STEM content they learn more real, accessible, "useful," and relevant to their lives and their communities.

SENCER improves science education by focusing on real world problems, and extends the impact of student learning across the curriculum to the broader community and society. We do this by developing faculty expertise in teaching "to" basic, canonical science and mathematics "through" complex, capacious, often unsolved problems of civic consequence. Using materials, assessment instruments, and research developed through SENCER, faculty members design curricular projects that connect science learning to real world challenges.

What is our approach?

SENCER offers field-tested exemplary course models and modules of this strategy, curriculum design workshops, professional development in high-impact teaching, assessment, undergraduate research, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and academic leadership. We also publish guides to applying the SENCER approach in the classroom, research on teaching and learning, and model courses that highlight particularly successful SENCER curricula.

Example areas of focus:

  • STEM, the arts, and humanities
  • Diversity, inclusion, and social justice in STEM
  • Partnership Power–leveraging community partnerships and informal educators to advance learning
  • Assessment for STEM learning that supports Civic Engagement
  • SENCER approaches in K-12 and professional programs
  • Fostering faculty leadership for civically relevant and problem based learning

More about NCSCE:

The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) seeks to empower responsible, lifelong learners who can apply the knowledge, values, and methods of science to the complex civic challenges facing our democracy.

NCSCE is a national organization that supports a community of teachers and learners. Through symposia, materials, and grant funding, we help educators in and outside the classroom make connections between the content they teach and real world issues of civic importance.

SENCER is the signature undergraduate education program of NCSCE.