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.
31st May 2017 at 10:21 am
In our last meetings of the year, Dr. Bryan Rebar, Associate Director of UO’s STEM CORE, will join us to continue our discussion of the 5E Model. Bryan and the students he works with use the 5E’s when they design activities for their outreach work. There is no new reading to do for this week, but if you haven’t had a chance to read the 5E Model paper we read for last week, now would be a good time to do it:
Tanner, K. D. (2010). Order matters: using the 5E model to align teaching with how people learn. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 9(3), 159-164. http://www.lifescied.org/content/9/3/159.short
We will meet in 217 LISB (Lewis Integrative Sciences Building) at 9:00 am on Thursday and 1:00 pm on Friday.
This has been another wonderful year in the Science Teaching Journal Club. Every week, people at all stages of their careers have made interesting and thoughtful contributions to our conversations and enriched the experience for everyone. Thank you! Have a great summer, and we look forward to seeing you again in the fall.
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 8 Science Literacy courses Spring 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.
Spring 2017 Courses:
ASTR 122 Birth and Death of Stars
BI 140 Science, Policy, and Biology
BI 199 Sp St Brain Intel Mach (From Brains to Intelligent Machines)
BI 212 Organisms
CH 222 General Chemistry II
CH 223 General Chemistry III
PHYS 155 Physics Behind the Internet
PHYS 163 Nanoscience and Society
More information about these courses can be found in 2016-2017 Courses.
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.