Williams Fellowship Award

27th May 2016 at 3:32 pm

EllybassWe are delighted to announce that Science Literacy Program Associate Director Elly Vandegrift has been selected by the University as one of two Williams Fellows for 2016-17. Nominated by their peers, Williams Fellows are selected for their commitment to undergraduate education and their devotion to creating engaging and  academically challenging learning experiences.

The fund was endowed by Tom and Carol Williams in 1995, and has awarded more than 80 grants to faculty in various disciplines since 1996. All Williams Fellows receive a $5,000 award and a $5,000 award to their home department to acknowledge and support their efforts.

We join the university in celebrating Elly’s transformative impact on undergraduate science teaching at UO, and on integrating local science communication efforts with national efforts. We look forward to many more years of her SLP stewardship!

Read more in the Around the O.

Journal Club Fall 2016 Week 4

17th October 2016 at 4:15 pm

For this week, please read:

Russell, J. E., Van Horne, S., Ward, A. S., III, E. A. B., Sipola, M., Colombo, M., & Rocheford, M. K. (2016). Large Lecture Transformation: Adopting Evidence-Based Practices to Increase Student Engagement and Performance in an Introductory Science Course. Journal of Geoscience Education, 64(1), 37-51. http://www.nagt-jge.org/doi/abs/10.5408/15-084.1

For your convenience, we will continue to offer two weekly meetings in 217 LISB. Feel free to attend either.

Thursdays at 9:00 am
Fridays at 1:00 pm

Hope to see you there.

Elly and Julie

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.

Fall 2016 SLP Courses, Scholars, and Fellows

16th May 2016 at 12:50 pm

We are pleased to offer 11 Science Literacy courses Fall 2016 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.

Practicum Goals:

Undergraduate SLP scholars will

  1. Have the opportunity to explore science courses behind-the-scenes as a teacher.
  2. Receive mentored teaching support from a faculty co-instructor.
  3. 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 2016 Courses:

ASTR 122 Birth and Death of Stars
BI 132 Introduction to Animal Behavior
CH 111 Introduction to Chemistry Principles
CH 221 General Chemistry I
GEOL 110 People, Rocks, and Fire
HC 207 How Marine Organisms Work
HPHY 199 (soon to be HPHY 112) The Truth about Health
PHYS 152 Physics Behind Music and Sound
PHYS 171 Physics of Life
PHYS 181 Quantum Mechanics for Everyone
PSY 407 NeuroEducation

More information about these courses can be found in the Fall 2016 Recruiting Flier.

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 13, 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

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.