“Even teachers need to go back to school, especially when it comes to learning how to teach science better. That’s an idea the University of Oregon has embraced with such gusto it has become a leader in efforts to make science classes more effective and engaging. And interest is spreading, from veteran professors to young doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows. Funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and directed by UO Science Literacy Program director Elly Vandegrift, the summer institute brought 55 faculty and postdoctoral researchers from across the country, including 23 from the UO, to campus for a week of evidence-based science teaching workshops.
“We are trained to be experts in our disciplinary fields, but that does not mean we have practiced how to communicate the science to nonexperts or have learned about approaches that support learning for all students,” Vandegrift said. Andy Karduna has been teaching human physiology for more than two decades. Karduna has tenure and serves as director of graduate studies for the UO’s Department of Human Physiology. Come this fall, he will develop a new a science class for students who aren’t majoring in science. “I’m at a point in my career where I wanted a challenge, but I was never trained to teach,” Karduna said. One of the approaches is called active learning. That’s where students are being engaged, participating and being assessed throughout an entire class rather than sitting passively through a lecture.” To read the rest of this story by Molly Blancett, please visit the website.
31st May 2017 at 10:45 am
Elly Vandegrift, senior instructor of biology and associate director of the Science Literacy Program, is recognized for her constant and astonishing dedication to education in the Department of Biology and the science literacy program. In the words of department head Bruce Bowerman, “Eleanor is bringing us together to explicitly and deliberately focus on how we can systematically improve both our curriculum and our approaches to teaching.”
Vandegrift has been the driving force behind the implementation of the Science Literacy Program since the beginning, focusing her contribution in assisting participating faculty members in developing innovative teaching strategies. Her multifaceted executive and teaching activities have been essential in proving the effectiveness of learner-centered teaching methods, such as backward designed courses, or “flipped” classes. These innovative approaches challenge traditional methods of curriculum planning. While in traditional curriculum planning the teacher focuses on a list of content that will be taught, in backward course design, the educator starts with goals, creates assessments, and, finally, makes lesson plans. Flipped learning is the result of a collaborative effort by which information assimilation takes place in the classroom, rather than through lectures, by students’ participation in consequential activities.
Introducing these new pedagogical approaches in which the teacher is involved in creating and curating relevant content for students and with students, Vandegrift had an immense impact on science education at the University of Oregon, first within the Science Literacy Program and then in transforming the teaching culture within the Department of Biology where core courses are now taught as flipped courses.
Vandegrift has attained national prominence through her participation in conferences and institutions that focus on promoting more effective science education at the college level. Notably, she was elected to be both a National Academies Fellow and a mentor in the life sciences, a PULSE (Partnership in Undergraduate Life Sciences Education) ambassador.
In recognition of her achievement and expertise in the area of science literacy, Elly Vandegrift is a recipient of a 2017 Thomas F. Herman Award for Specialized Pedagogy.
9th October 2017 at 8:41 am
Fall term journal club will be held on Thursdays at 9 am in 217 LISB. The theme for fall will be exploring science teaching practices that are inclusive, engaged, and research-led. We invite anyone across all ranks and disciplines to join the whole series or stop by for a specific conversation. For Week 3, please read:
Cooper, K. M., Haney, B., Krieg, A., & Brownell, S. E. (2017). What’s in a Name? The Importance of Students Perceiving That an Instructor Knows Their Names in a High-Enrollment Biology Classroom. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 16(1), ar8. http://www.lifescied.org/content/16/1/ar8.abstract
We hope to see you there!
-Julie, Elly, and Austin
2nd October 2017 at 9:36 am
We hope you’ve had a wonderful summer, and welcome back to campus! Fall term journal club will be held on Thursdays at 9 am in 217 LISB. The theme for fall will be exploring science teaching practices that are inclusive, engaged, and research-led. We invite anyone across all ranks and disciplines to join the whole series or stop by for a specific conversation. For Week 2, please read: Butler, A. C., Marsh, E. J., Slavinsky, J. P., & Baraniuk, R. G. (2014). Integrating cognitive science and technology improves learning in a STEM classroom. Educational Psychology Review, 26(2), 331-340. http://marshlab.psych.duke.edu/publications/ButlerMarshSlavinskyBaraniuk2014.pdf
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.
13th March 2017 at 1:58 pm
Friday, April 21, 2017, EMU Swindells Room
Faculty, graduate students, and post-docs are invited to drop-in for one session or attend the entire day. RSVP required for lunch and recommended for workshop sessions to help us plan.
9am-12pm Thinking Skills for the 21st Century: Teaching for Transfer
A key factor in meeting global challenges is producing college graduates who can use their scientific knowledge and skills to synthesize and evaluate, problem solve, and create. Participants will learn six features of instructional design that promote higher-order thinking among students and generate plans to apply their new knowledge in their own science classrooms.
12-1pm Lunch (RSVP required by April 7, 2017)
1-2pm Scientific Storytelling: Humanities Meets Science Facilitated by Jennifer Yates
Learn how student understanding of science is improved through efforts to re-state, visualize, simplify, and make into stories more complex scientific concepts.
2:15-3:15pm Encouraging Your Students to Make More Mistakes Facilitated by Amy Mulnix
This session will explore pedagogical practices that plan for and encourage mistakes and then capitalize on them as opportunities to deepen learning.
3:30-4:30pm TIESERs – Tasks Inspired & Enhanced by Science Education Research Facilitated by S. Raj Chaudhury
Research on learning has inspired “en[gauge]ments” (Handelsman et. al. 2007) – tasks to “engage” and “gauge” students understanding. Practice with tasks from Physics and design your own in this hands-on workshop.
Workshops presented by:
Amy Mulnix, Director of the Faculty Center, Franklin and Marshall College
Jennifer Yates, Associate Professor of Psychology & Director of the Neuroscience Program, Ohio Wesleyan University
S. Raj Chaudhury, Executive Director, Innovation in Learning Center, University of South Alabama
Elly Vandegrift, Associate Director of the UO Science Literacy Program
16th May 2016 at 12:50 pm
We are pleased to offer 10 Science Literacy courses Fall 2017 and support SLP scholars and fellows in each course. The Science Literacy Program seeks talented, motivated, and hard-working Undergraduate SLP Scholars and Graduate SLP Fellows to help co-teach general education courses in Biology, Chemistry, Geological Sciences, Human Physiology or Physics. Read below for more information about SLP courses and the application process.
For interested undergraduates:
Scholars will register for CAS 409 SLP Scholar Practicum (2-Credits). In this practicum, students will be paired with a faculty mentor and Graduate SLP Fellow in a teaching team. Students will attend a weekly science education journal club and their assigned course to explore theories of science education and help develop and implement classroom activities and assessments to support student learning.
Undergraduate SLP scholars will
- Have the opportunity to explore science courses behind-the-scenes as a teacher.
- Receive mentored teaching support from a faculty co-instructor.
- Learn about scientific teaching and active learning and how to apply it to science courses.
To apply please complete an online application http://scilit.uoregon.edu/scholars/. Application will involve a statement of experience, a statement of purpose and career goals, a list of courses and grades, and two letters of reference. Applications are being accepted on a rolling deadline.
For interested graduate students:
Graduate students will be paired with a faculty mentor from the participating departments (Biology, Chemistry, Geological Sciences, Human Physiology or Physics) and will half of their FTE paid by the Science Literacy Program. The other half of the FTE MUST be from a research appointment or GTF in the SAME course.
Benefits and Opportunities
- Participate in designing and/or delivering science courses
- Learn about teaching from a faculty mentor
- Develop and present class activities and assessments
- Experience university instruction from the other side
- Develop educational and communication skills
- Participate in the weekly Science Literacy Teaching Journal Club to learn more about scientific teaching and evidence-based pedagog
Graduate SLP Fellows Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications
- We seek talented, motivated, and hard-working graduate students who would benefit from what our program has to offer, and who perhaps would not otherwise have such opportunities.
- We are very interested in enhancing the creativity, diversity, and talent of the next generation of science educators, and students from diverse backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply.
- Permission from research advisor
- Good academic standing
- One faculty recommendation from the subject area(s) for the course you wish to assist
- Subject to approval and GTF appointment from your department
- You must attend each class session (unless excused by mentor), meet weekly with your mentor, and attend Journal Club weekly
To apply, submit the online Graduate SLP Fellow application http://scilit.uoregon.edu/fellows/, request a letter of recommendation, approval from your research advisor, and approval from your department head. Applications are being accepted on a rolling deadline.
Fall 2017 Courses:
ASTR 122 Birth and Death of Stars
BI 132 Introduction to Animal Behavior
BI 150 Ocean Planet
CH 111 Introduction to Chemical Principles
CH 114 Green Product Design
CH 221 General Chemistry I
GEOL 101 Earth’s Dynamic Interior
PHYS 152 Physics of Sound and Music
PHYS 161 Physics of Energy and Environment
PHYS 181 Quantum Mechanics for Everyone
More information about these courses can be found in 2017-2018 Courses.