In SERC's first year, of the On the Cutting Edge professional development program for geoscience educators, Cathy served as Co-PI on this initial grant with SERC hosting the program's website. Under the supervision of technical director Sean Fox, the initial 10 page website went public in the summer of 2002, using the prototype for what is now our content management system 'Serckit'. Our site has has since grown to approximately 31,000 pages and supports more than 100 educational projects, organizations and networks.
SERC's modus operandi in the early years set the stage for the work that continues today. SERC works in collaborative partnership with geoscience education leaders across the country to establish grant-funded programs to move forward the common agenda of the community. Through these grants and partnerships SERC has developed a repertoire of strategies for enabling educational change, supported by a core infrastructure (Serckit) and informed by fundamental research on learning.
Early work included SERC's initial what/why/how guides to engaged pedagogy: the Starting Point: Teaching Introductory Geoscience website that went public in the summer of 2003. Enduring partnerships were formed, such as SERC's support for the web infrastructure of the TERC-led Earth Exploration Toolbook project: the first project to use the CMS, which went public in the summer of 2003. We value these relationships and the important, collaborative nature of our work.
STEM and Beyond
Since its inception in 2001, SERC has grown to a team of 13 people, based in Northfield, MN with offices in northern and southern California, and Madison, Wisconsin. While maintaining the core vision of working collaboratively to improve the undergraduate learning experience, SERC has grown in its scope to include partners across STEM disciplines and connections with social sciences and humanities. We have greatly increased the capacity and sophistication of Serckit, and developed organization-wide expertise in web design and authoring, evaluation and assessment, workshop facilitation, and project management. These skills are all highlighted in InTeGrate, a 5-year, NSF-funded STEP Center grant, running from 2012 through 2016. The STEP (STEM Talent Expansion Program) Center program enables "a group of faculty representing a cross section of institutions of higher education to identify a national challenge or opportunity in undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and to propose a comprehensive and coordinated set of activities that will be carried out to address that challenge or opportunity within a national context." Today, educators and administrators from more than 1,000 institutions of higher learning have participated in SERC activities. We are proud of this legacy and look to expand the depth and breadth of the SERC community through new and ongoing partnerships and innovative initiatives.