SLP Mission Statement

4th January 2015 at 3:07 pm

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 non-science majors, giving science students mentored teaching opportunities to implement active learning, and providing faculty with teaching professional development.

SLP offers General Education courses for non-science students that promote student-centered teaching and communication of science where non-science majors 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.


Mary Pat Wenderoth

27th April 2015 at 12:46 pm

End of Lecture: The Future of Evidence-based Teaching
May 5, 2015

Mary Pat Wenderoth

Biosketch: Mary Pat Wenderoth is a Principal Lecturer in the Biology Department at the University of Washington (UW) where she teaches animal physiology courses and conducts biology education research on how students learn biology. Her main research interests focus on assessing implementation of cognitive science principles in the classroom, particularly those associated with conceptual change, use of first principles in constructing conceptual frameworks and student metacognition. She received the UW Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001 and has served as the co-director of the UW Teaching Academy. She is a co-founder of the UW Biology Education Research Group (UW BERG) and the national Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER). She served as a facilitator at the HHMI Summer Institute for Undergraduate Biology Education from 2007 -2011.  Dr. Wenderoth earned her B.S. in Biology from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., a M.S. in Women’s Studies from George Washington University, a M.S. in Exercise Physiology from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in Physiology from Rush University in Chicago.

Date:  Tuesday, May 5, 2014
Event:  IMB Science Education Seminar
Seminar Title:  End of Lecture: The Future of Evidence-based Teaching
Speaker:  Mary Pat Wenderoth, University of Washington
Place:  110 Willamette Hall
Time:  4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Host:  Elly Vandegrift, Biology Department and Science Literacy Program
Seminar Abstract:
We recently published a meta-analysis of 225 papers that compared student performance under active learning versus lecturing in undergraduate courses across the STEM disciplines. The results indicate that on average, students are 1.5 times more likely to fail when being lectured to compared to taking the same course with an active learning component, and that active learning increases exam scores by almost half a standard deviation.  I will summarize the research results that provide robust data on teaching methods that increase student achievement and I will engage participants in discussion of the way even small changes can close the gap between our teaching and student learning. These teaching methods are based on results from cognitive  and learning sciences and rely heavily on the “Testing Effect” and “Desirable Difficulties”.  I will engage participants in discussion of the way even small changes can close the gap between our teaching and student learning because shrinking that gap has tremendous implications for all students, but especially those from underrepresented groups. Says Toby Bradshaw, Chair of Biology at UW: “By reducing the failure rates, capable students are able to go on, rather than being washed out of the system because they came in a bit underprepared and no one was willing to change the way they did things to help them out….The impact down the road is that we will have a larger, more diverse, more capable work force.” 

She is a co-author of:
Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,111(23), 8410–5.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111


Journal Club Spring 2015 – Week 5

27th April 2015 at 9:05 am

Read the following to get us thinking about Mary Pat Wenderoth’s research prior to her visit on May 5. Your homework for the week is to observe a class you are taking, teaching or visiting and notice how frequently women and men participate in class discussion.

Eddy, S. L., Brownell, S. E., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Gender Gaps in Achievement and Participation in Multiple Introductory Biology Classrooms. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 13(3), 478-492.
http://www.lifescied.org/content/13/3/478.full.pdf+html

Note the new location for our Friday Journal Club is 217 LISB. Our Thursday meeting remains in the original location, 317 LISB.

– Thursday 9:00am in LISB 317 facilitated by Julie Mueller, TEP and Elly Vandegrift, SLP
– Friday 12:00pm in LISB 217 facilitated by Kat Milligan-Myhre

We look forward to seeing you there!
Julie and Kat


Journal Club Spring 2015 – Week 4

20th April 2015 at 12:47 pm

Thursday this week we will be joined by Thomas Seager of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University who will talk with us about using social media in his courses. To prepare please look at his syllabus for a course on Engineering Business Practices and come with questions about using social media to engage students.

Friday we will explore a method for helping students engage with their readings. Before journal club create a concept map about all the factors that contribute to or affect obesity and their connections. Bring your concept map to journal club. (Read about concept maps.)

Hoskins, S.G. (2010). “But if It’s in the Newspaper, Doesn’t That Mean It’s True?” Developing Critical Reading & Analysis Skills by Evaluating Newspaper Science with CREATE. The American Biology Teacher, 72(7), 415-420. Available from:
http://www.bioone.org/doi/pdf/10.1525/abt.2010.72.7.5

Rundle, R.L. (2005, October 6). Study links produce prices to obesity. The Wall Street Journal.
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB112855170081961018
If you are unable to access the article, email the SLP for a PDF copy.

– Thursday 9:00am in LISB 317 facilitated by Julie Mueller, TEP and Elly Vandegrift, SLP
– Friday 12:00pm in LISB 317 facilitated by Elly Vandegrift, SLP

We look forward to seeing you there!
Julie and Elly


Journal Club Spring 2015 – Week 3

13th April 2015 at 1:22 pm

For this week’s journal club we will discuss using drawing to learn. Please bring with you to Journal Club a problem that involves generating a drawing, graph, or illustration of some sort. This could be either a problem you have assigned as a teacher or been assigned as a student. For Week 3, please read:

Quillin, K., & Thomas, S. (2015). Drawing-to-Learn: A Framework for Using Drawings to Promote Model-Based Reasoning in Biology. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 14(1), es2.
http://www.lifescied.org/content/14/1/es2.full

– Thursday 9:00am in LISB 317 facilitated by Julie Mueller, TEP and Elly Vandegrift, SLP
– Friday 12:00pm in LISB 317 facilitated by Elly Vandegrift, SLP

We look forward to seeing you there!
Julie and Elly