About the Science Literacy Program

The University of Oregon Science Literacy Program (UO SLP) offers General Education courses for non-science majors designed to improve scientific awareness and general science literacy of the educated public by enhancing competence in and appreciation of science. The SLP will empower undergraduates to consider scientific approaches to societal issues, enable graduate students in the sciences to effectively communicate ideas to audiences of non-scientists, and assist faculty in improving teaching techniques using evidence-based pedagogy.

The SLP offers courses that employ active, inquiry-based teaching methods to improve creative and critical reasoning. These approaches will equip students with the necessary tools to face the complex issues facing our society by providing them with the analytical skills required to assess information about science, health and technology. In addition, the program hopes to foster a greater appreciation for the role science plays in our society. Finally, the SLP will help students experience the personal appeal of science.

The SLP is funded through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) with significant internal support from the University of Oregon. It was begun through a broad initiative of the UO research faculty across Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Science departments. The program infrastructure supports new modes of interdisciplinary collaboration, involving UO faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. Undergraduate science majors can earn a stipend award to participate in experiential learning as an SLP Scholar. Graduate students can participate as SLP Fellows and co-teach under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Faculty and students collaborate to study, develop, and apply modern pedagogical approaches and techniques to meet the goals of the Program.

Each week we send out our Journal Club reading announcement in our newsletter. We also include information about other related events, job opportunities, upcoming conferences, and articles of interest. If you would like to receive our emailed newsletter, complete this online form. You can also send us and email and we will make sure to add you to our list.

Publications about the Program

Beghetto, R.B., J. Eisen, P. O’Day, and M. Raymer and E.V.H. Vandegrift (In review). SCIENCE Literacy in Undergraduate Non-Science Majors: An Initial Exploration of Conceptions and Correlates.

Chadhury, S.R., L Mandeltort, A.B. Mulnix, E.V.H. Vandegrift, and J.B. Yates. (2015). Using Scientific Visualization to Enhance the Teaching and Learning of Core Concepts. In Eds D.M. Baylen, A. D’Alba. Essentials of Using and Integrating Visual and Media Literacy — Visualizing Learning. Springer.

Parthasarathy, R. (2012). Cars and Kinetic Energy — Some Simple Physics with Real-World Relevance. The Physics Teacher, 50, 395-397.

Parthasarathy, R. (2015). The Physics of Life: an undergraduate general education biophysics course, Physics Educucation, 50:358-366 (2015). DOI:10.1088/0031-9120/50/3/358 http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0031-9120/50/3/358/meta;jsessionid=3F43C67B3A7FCB1164A4A8B0980242AA.c1.iopscience.cld.iop.org