JANUARY 30, 2014
Dr. Rachel Salmon, assistant professor of biology at Freed-Hardeman University, has received an SSI 2014 Post-Institute Implementation award. Her proposal, which was selected for funding, describes her plans to expose biology students to the Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) ideals.
SENCER aims to improve undergraduate education by connecting learning to critical civic questions. The program, initiated by the National Science Foundation in 2001, has provided Salmon with ideas to create more engaging courses.
Salmon intends to instruct cell biology (BIO 205), a required course for biology majors, in the context of cancer and medical research. Students will embrace the SENCER ideals in four areas: course content, laboratory experience, exposure to research and service. The goal, according to Salmon, is “to design a course that transforms our students into informed advocates for cancer research.”
Salmon will collaborate on the project with Dr. Caleb Kersey, who also teaches cell biology at FHU. Salmon and Kersey plan to attend the 2014 and 2015 SENCER Summer Institute in California, where they will share their progress and present data from their assessments.
Salmon already uses the SENCER approach to teach an introductory freshman biology course for non-majors.