Faculty Reflection: Byron Straw

University of Northern Colorado
Course(s): Scientific Writing (SCI-291)

A Success Story in Programmatic Change

Environmental challenges facing today's society are numerous. By utilizing InTeGrate materials, students start to understand how cross-discipline and diverse these issues are, and become excited about creating solutions. Additionally, many common misconceptions are addressed by implementing these materials.
For Scientific Writing (SCI-291) students in particular, most seemed to be much more engaged in small group discussions, and were able to make connections to the environmental problems associated with their everyday lives, and many continue to describe what they have learned from the material with peers and family members.

Incorporating InTeGrate Materials

Slight modifications to existing course materials, the addition of the video SWITCH with small group discussions, and the worksheet on developing a title with an environmental concern allowed for the incorporation of InteGrate materials with SCI-291.


Three 50-minute class times were necessary for implementing InteGrate materials for Scientific Writing. Each of these class periods was dedicated to providing information related to environmental issues facing society today. Furthermore, two of the three class periods were dedicated to small group discussions based on the video SWITCH, and one dedicated to developing a title for a scientific term paper that connects students' majors, or areas of interest, to an environmental problem. Additionally, the original rubric needed slight modifications to allow for a section covering environmental concerns. No additional adaptation was necessary to implement the InteGrate materials for SCI-291.

Outcomes and Evidence

Several examples of student outcomes attributed to implementing InTeGrate materials in Scientific Writing classes during the Spring, 2016 academic semester include:

  • Increased weekly conservations with friends and family about current environmental issues
  • Increased motivation to take action on sustainability issues facing todays society
  • A greater interest in choosing a career in the geosciences

After developing and implementing new InTeGrate materials for SCI-291, I now utilize many of the materials from InTeGrate in all my lower and mid-division classes. Because of these materials, students start to understand how cross-curricular these issues are. Working with InTeGrate has positivity changed the way I teach, and ultimately, the material I use to teach. Some examples of preliminary data can be found below.