UO Mobile Summer Institute

1st April 2016 at 1:40 pm

The Science Literacy Program invites you to attend a Mobile Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching August 8-11, 2016 at the University of Oregon. The Summer Institute will expand and sharpen participants teaching skills through workshops facilitated by national science education experts.  Participants will develop original, innovative classroom materials ready for immediate implementation. A post-workshop UO STEM strategic planning session with administrators will be held on August 12, 2016.

Application due date: June 3, 2016

In the words of a previous participant, “I’m pretty confident in my abilities to give a good lecture and run a well-organized course, and I get good ratings from students. But I could tell that many students weren’t really learning the material in any depth. I’d heard the compelling evidence that swapping out lecture time for in-class problem-solving was the way to go, but of course I was worried about how much extra work that would be for me, and I wasn’t really sure what class time would look like. The Summer Institute was exactly what I needed – practical advice on how to make this change, including what works and what doesn’t. The good news is that even the best students have been shown to do better with this style of teaching. I switched out about a third of my lecture time in each of my courses this year, and I was very pleased with how engaged students seemed to be and by how stimulating and fun it was for me too. I plan to make a full switch next year. I highly recommend the Summer Institute – it’s an easy way to jumpstart the process of improving your teaching.”
–Tory Herman, Associate Professor Biology, 2015-16 National Academies Education Fellow

Journal Club Spring 2016 Week 5

28th April 2016 at 12:25 pm

We will spend the next four weeks in journal club focusing on communicating science- how to do it better ourselves and how to teach students to do it better.  This week we will talk about the “core skills” for effective science communication.  To prepare, please read:

Lucy Mercer-Mapstone & Louise Kuchel (2015): Core Skills for Effective Science Communication: A Teaching Resource for Undergraduate Science Education, International Journal of Science Education, Part B, DOI:

For your convenience, we will continue to offer two weekly meetings in 317 LISB (Lewis Integrated Sciences Building):

Thursdays at 9:00 am
Fridays at 12:00 pm

Hope to see you there.

SLP Mission Statement

11th May 2015 at 7:07 pm

Our mission is to support student success through development of excellent science teachers. 

The University of Oregon Science Literacy Program (SLP) makes a real-world difference in the lives of UO students by building science literacy among undergraduate students, giving science students mentored teaching opportunities to implement active learning, and providing faculty with teaching professional development.

SLP supports General Education courses that promote student-centered teaching and communication of science where students are empowered to consider scientific approaches to societal issues and have the opportunity to learn how to process and critique scientific information. Graduate students and undergraduate students in the sciences have mentored teaching opportunities where they learn the theory and practice of scientific teaching and effectively communicating ideas to audiences of non-scientists.  The program enables and assists faculty in improving teaching techniques using evidence-based pedagogy focusing on science literacy.

SLP Featured in the Oregon Daily Emerald

5th November 2015 at 10:48 am

Science for the rest of us: UO fights for science literacy

Dr. Scott Fisher has looked into other galaxies and worked for NASA, but he’s teaching a 100-level astronomy course at University of Oregon.

He describes himself as an absolute stereotype of a scientist: Bald with glasses, with facial hair reminiscent of Walter White. But his attitude about the way science courses should be taught is anything but stereotypical: He starts most classes with “What’s up, my fine peoples?”

But Fisher is serious about science. He’s a “planet hunter,” monitoring infant solar systems from a remote-controlled telescope in Bend, on UO’s Pine Mountain Observatory. He’s also looking for supernovas: If he spots one, he’ll alert the Gemini telescope at Mauna Kea, where he used to work.

“A major problem is not that people hate science, but that people had such a bad experience with science, that it turned them against it,” Fisher said. “And that’s what I’m trying to fight. Let’s have a positive experience that you can carry forward in life.”

Read full article here.

A list of SLP Winter Term courses is available on our website.

SLP Joins Alan Alda Center Affiliates

11th September 2015 at 11:29 am

Following a successful two-day workshop on Science Communication (May 2015), the University of Oregon has been invited to become an Affiliated University with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.  The Science Literacy Program will serve as the campus resource center to provide opportunities for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty to build science communication skills in collaboration with the Alda Center.  The UO is one of ten institutions affiliated with the Center and the first West of the Mississippi River.

The goal of the Alda Center at Stony Brook University, New York is to enhance understanding of science by helping train the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively with the public, public officials, the media, and others outside their own discipline.  Trainings include learning improvisation techniques and how to distill a scientific message for a general audience.

Accepting Winter 2016 Scholar and Fellow applications

18th August 2015 at 12:07 pm

The Science Literacy Program is now accepting applications for Graduate SLP Fellows and Undergraduate SLP Scholars positions for Winter 2016.