Event Archives

Summer 2015

National Academies Summer Institutes on Undergraduate Education

Spring 2015

Communicating Science Workshop

Mary Pat Wenderoth – End of Lecture: The Future of Evidence-based Teaching

Winter 2015
Carl Wieman –  Science Education Seminars

Spring 2014
Backward Design in Practice

Fall 2013
How People Learn: Implications for Communicating Science

Spring 2013
Building, Sustaining, and Selling Commitment to the Challenging Interdisciplinary Work of Undergraduate STEM Education Improvement

SLP Teaching Showcase – Physics of Sound and Music & People, Rocks, and Fire

Fall 2012
Curriculum and Pedagogy Workshop – iScience Model for Faculty Development

Spring 2012
Teaching to Increase Science Literacy

Science Literacy Program Spring Workshop Series: A 6-part series geared towards improving teaching methods in undergraduate science courses

Fall 2011

Summer 2015

National Academies Summer Institutes on Undergraduate Education

In their own words, “Attending the Summer Institute (SI) was a transformative experience for  me professionally. I am a new instructor and a postdoc, and the intensive training, motivation, and “re-education” on higher education provided at the SI gave me with new skills, confidence, and a boost to my CV while applying for jobs. The basic philosophies promoted and explored in the SI are nothing short of revolutionary. The workshops provided me with practical skills for transitioning these ideas into the classroom as well. Participating in this institute has made me feel like I am tuned into the most current and nationally accredited best practices for teaching in the college classroom, and has given me tools to excel as an instructor. It is an extremely worthwhile and inspirational experience that has literally inspired and transformed my teaching and my career.” -Ann Petersen, Institute of Ecology and Evolution and 2014-15 National Academies Education Fellow


The Science Literacy Program is excited to host both a 2015 Local National Academies Summer Institute on the UO campus and a West Coast Regional National Academies Summer Institute

The UO Local National Academies Summer Institute and the West Coast Regional National Academies Summer Institute will have the same content and opportunities for curriculum development.  The UO Local Summer Institute is for University of Oregon participants while the West Coast Regional Summer Institute is for participants from the West Coast, including participants from the University of Oregon.

The goal of the Summer Institutes for Undergraduate Education is to transform education at colleges and universities by improving classroom education and attracting more diverse students to research. We undertake to train faculty and instructional staff in a scientific approach to teaching that reflects the way we work as researchers. The target group is comprised of both new and experienced instructors who teach introductory or survey courses, but anyone with an interest in transforming their classroom is invited to attend.

The theme for the Summer Institutes is “scientific teaching.” Participants learn practical strategies for enhancing student learning. The institutes model the scientific teaching principles of active learning, assessment, and diversity, which are integrated into all aspects of the week’s schedule. Activities include reflective writing, planning, reading, researching, discussing teaching methods and philosophy, interactive presentations, and developing teaching materials. By the end of an institute, participants will have observed, evaluated, and collected a portfolio of innovative teaching approaches and instructional materials that are ready to be adopted and adapted to their own teaching environments.

In addition to developing teaching skills and materials, participants learn how to teach workshops and seminars about scientific teaching. Scientific teaching workshops can be used to foster dialog with faculty and instructional colleagues about teaching, to train TAs in teaching, and to enrich the graduate curriculum in teaching.

Additional information about the nationally held summer institutes is available through the National Academies Summer Institute site.

For an in-depth discussion on the use of Summer Institutes to stimulate change in the approach to undergraduate science education, see Pfund, C., et al. (2009)

Pfund, C., Miller, S., Brenner, K., Bruns, P., Chang, A., Ebert-May, D., … Handelsman, J. (2009). Professional development. Summer institute to improve university science teaching. Science (New York, N.Y.), 324(5926), 470–1. doi:10.1126/science.1170015

UO Local Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education
University of Oregon
June 22-25, 2015

The application period is now closed.


Local Summer Institute’s People that made this workshop happen!

Questions: ellyvan@uoregon.edu

West Coast Regional Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education
University of Oregon
July 13-18, 2015

The West Coast institute serves Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The West Coast institute is co-directed by Dr. Clarissa Dirks, Associate Professor of Biology at Evergreen State College, Dr. Bradley Hyman, Professor and chair of biology at University of California-Riverside, and Elly Vandegrift, Associate Director of the Science Literacy Program at the University of Oregon.

Invitation to Attend the Institute
Flyer about the Institute
Invitation letter from Sean Carroll, HHMI Vice President for Science Education

The application period is now closed.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULEWest_Coast_Regional_SI_Schedule

Questions: ellyvan@uoregon.edu

Back to Top

Spring 2015

MAY 14-15, 2015

Alan Alda Center For Communicating Science

The Science Literacy Program and STEM Core are excited to offer a two-day workshop facilitated by faculty from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University on improvisation, distilling a science message, and communicating with the media. The center and their workshop have recently been featured in the New York Times, Attention, All Scientists: Do Improv, With Alan Alda’s Help.

Public support for scientists and everyday applications of science would benefit from a more scientifically literate society. As scientists, you have an opportunity–an obligation, some might argue–to contribute to the public dialogue and understanding of science. This workshop will provide you with training and communication tools to engage public audiences.

For a description of the types of workshops run by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, click here.

A Sample of Improvisation for Scientists:

The goal of teaching improvisation is to provide scientists with the skills to talk freely, directly, and spontaneously about their work using communication strategies that are effective and respond to the dynamic attention of listeners. Ultimately, this will help you as a scientist connect personally with your audience while conveying your message.

Faculty, postdocs, and graduate students interested in acquiring or improving skills for effectively communicating science concepts and research to non-science-major students and to the public.

Upon completion of this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • speak clearly and vividly about your work and why it matters, in terms that non-scientists can understand
  • use communication techniques, cultural competency, and science literacy concepts to reach and mobilize the community and key stakeholders on science issues related to your research, outreach, or education objectives
  • gain a better understanding of your audience and ability to adapt your material for a variety of audiences
  • prepare for a media interview, including shaping clear, crisp answers, fielding difficult questions, and reinforcing your fundamental message

May 14 – 08:00-17:30
08:00-08:30 Registration and Welcome Breakfast
08:30-10:00 What is the meaning of this?
A group exercise in conveying the meaning of complex information so non-scientists can understand
10:00-13:00 Morning Sessions
– Groups A and B: Improvisation for Scientists

Improvisational theater exercises require you to pay close, dynamic attention to others, to read body language and nonverbal cues, and to respond freely. This is not about acting or making things up. It is about shifting your focus from what you are saying to what the other person is receiving. This can help you make a more direct and personal connection with your audience.

– Groups C and D: Distilling Your Message

10:00-11:00: Introduction to Distilling Your Message
Speaking clearly and conversationally about science, without jargon or “dumbing it down,” is a challenge. This interactive presentation suggests tools and examples to help scientists communicate in ways that resonate with non-scientists.

11:00-13:00: Distilling Your Message breakout sessions
Meeting in groups of 6 or 7, each with an instructor, we will work on engaging listeners, using different approaches and using the power of storytelling to communicate in memorable ways.

13:00-14:00 Lunch (provided)
14:00-17:00 Afternoon Sessions
– Groups A and B: Distilling Your Message (see morning session for description)
– Groups C and D: Improvisation for Scientists (see morning session for description
17:00-17:30 Wrap-up and prep for Day 2

May 15 – 08:30-17:30
On Day 1, we worked on connecting with audiences and distilling messages. On Day 2, we’ll apply the lessons of Improvisation and Distilling in more challenging settings. After a warm-up, half the group will take Media Interview Skills, while the other half will take Improv II. After lunch, the groups will switch, so each participant will take both workshop sessions. The day will end with an evaluation session.

08:30-09:00 Breakfast and check-in
09:00-09:30 Interview Preparation (all groups)
09:30-10:00 Warm-up, using improvisation skills (all groups)
10:00-13:00 Morning Workshop Session
– Groups A and B: Media Interview Skills

Participants will practice doing a television interview, answering questions clearly and briefly. This is a challenging form of Distilling Your Message. The interviews will be recorded on video for immediate playback, and participants should get their interviews to take home.

– Groups C and D: Improv II

Participants will work on applying the skills of Improvisation and Distilling Your Message in different settings. This includes building physical confidence and using role-playing to help participants deliver their message to their favorite — and least favorite — audiences.

13:00-14:00 Lunch (provided)
14:00-17:00 Afternoon Workshop Session
– Groups A and B: Improv II (see morning session for description)
– Groups C and D: Media Interview Skills (see morning session for description)
17:00-17:30 Evaluation and Next Steps

The Communicating Science Workshop is co-sponsored by the Science Literacy Program, STEM Core and the UO College of Arts and Sciences.

Back to Top

Mary Pat Wenderoth
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

Back to Top

Winter 2015

Carl Wieman
Science Education Seminars
February 5-6, 2015

Carl WiemanThe Science Literacy Program (SLP) has the great privilege of hosting Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman on February 5th and 6th, 2015. Dr. Wieman is a Professor of Physics and of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University and founded the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia. He also served as Associate Director of Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is a leader in the study of science teaching and has written extensively about the national direction of STEM education reform.

While at the University of Oregon, Carl Wieman will give two seminars and will be our guest at a reception in his honor.

Date:  Thursday, February 5, 2015
Even: Physics Department Colloquium
Title:  Expertise in Physics and How it is Best Learned and Taught
Speaker:  Carl Wieman, Stanford University
Place:  100 Willamette Hall
Time:  4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – preceded by coffee, tea, and cookies at 3:40 in the Willamette Atrium.
Host:  Michael Raymer, Physics Department and Co-PI Science Literacy Program
I will discuss how research has illuminated what it means to “think like an expert” (i.e. have expertise), and how those abilities are developed.  I will move from cognitive psychology studies of expertise in general to the specific elements of physics expertise and research on both measuring and teaching physics expertise at a variety of levels.  This will elucidate the essential roles in the learning process of both content expertise of the teacher and specific cognitive activities of the students; providing guiding principles for effective ways to teach physics for all levels and contexts.

Click here to view a PDF of the  Carl Wieman’s UO Physics Colloquium slides.

Video courtesy of CMET. The video is also available on the UO Channel.

Date: Friday, February 6, 2015
Event: Science Teaching Journal Club – meeting with Carl Wieman
Place: 240D WIL – OCO Conference Room
Time: 12:00 – 1:00pm
Lunch will be provided –
This meeting is full. Contact the Science Literacy Program if you want to be added to the wait list.

Date: Friday, February 6, 2015
Event: Science Literacy Program Lecture
Title: Taking a Scientific Approach to Science Education
Speaker:  Carl Wieman, Stanford University
Place: 182 Lillis
Time: 3:00-4:00pm
Host: Science Literacy Program
Guided by experimental tests of theory and practice, science and engineering has advanced rapidly in the past 500 years.  Guided primarily by tradition and dogma, science education meanwhile has remained largely medieval.  Research on how people learn is now revealing much more effective ways to teach and evaluate learning than what is in use in the traditional science class.  The combination of this research with information technology is setting the stage for a new approach to teaching and learning that can provide the relevant and effective science education for all students that is needed for the 21st century.  I will also cover more meaningful and effective ways to measure the quality of teaching. Although the focus of the talk is on undergraduate science teaching, where the data is the most compelling, the underlying principles come from studies of the general development of expertise and apply widely.

Click here to view a PDF of Carl Wieman’s UO Science Education slides.

Video courtesy of CMET. The video is also available on the UO Channel.

Reception for Carl Wieman
Date: Friday, February 6, 2015
Place: Gerlinger Hall Alumni Lounge
Time: 4:00-5:30pm
Host: Science Literacy Program

Back to Top

Spring 2014

Backward Design in Practice   – or –
How We Developed a Classroom Activity About Science and Society

Elly Vandegrift, Science Literacy Program
Sierra Dawson, Human Physiology

What is backward design? How can you use backward design in your teaching? How can backward design help you incorporate learning outcomes aligned with assessment and activities?

As National Academies Education Fellows, we used the process of backward design to create a classroom activity aligning goals, learning objectives, assessments, and activities. During a one-hour interactive workshop, we will share this activity, our “teachable tidbit” with participants. While sharing the activity, we will annotate with descriptions of our experience with the process of backward design. Then participants will have an opportunity to explore how they can align goals and objectives with assessments and activities in their own classrooms.

When: Friday, April 18 10-11am
Where: Willamette 240D
Oregon Center for Optics conference room Willamette Hall second floor

For more information contact Elly Vandegrift or Sierra Dawson.
Refreshments will be provided.

Back to Top

Fall 2013

SLP Communicating Science Workshop 2013

Back to Top


 Spring 2013



Spring 2013 Teaching Showcase

Back to Top

Fall 2012 Workshops:

Curriculum and pedagogy workshops presented by:

Mark Stewart – iScience: Promoting science literacy for all students one lab at a time

Stas Stavrianeas – Curriculum design and pedagogy for your courses

Workshop Activity: The audience participated in the workshop by writing answers to a series of questions. Follow this link to view the complied answers to this activity. As you read the responses keep the folowin in mind: Are we all on the same page? What are the common trends?


Back to Top

Spring 2012

Teaching to Increase Science Literacy:

A Panel Discussion with Professors from UO’s Science Literacy Program

Monday, May 14 (Week 7)
4:00-5:00pm, 22 Science Library

To register, email jmueller@uoregon.edu

Facilitator: Julie Mueller, Teaching Effectiveness Program; Judith Eisen, Biology; Michael Raymer and Raghuveer Parthasarathy, Physics; and Samantha Hopkins, Geosciences.

Science literacy is becoming increasingly important for citizens as more science and technology-related issues face society. What can you do to foster science literacy in your students? Professors associated with the UO Science Literacy Program teach 100-level courses for non-science majors. These courses are designed to improve scientific awareness and general science literacy by enhancing competence in and appreciation of science. Join our faculty panel for a discussion of the methods they have used in designing and modifying courses to enhance science literacy.

Science Literacy Program Spring Workshop Series:
A 6-part series geared towards improving teaching methods in undergraduate science courses.



Back to Top

Fall 2011

Presentation by Robert Voelker-Morris

Tuesday Nov 1st 3-4:30pm 230T HEDCO:
Clickers: Student Engagement in Large Lecture Courses

Presentations by Dr. Stephanie Chasteen

Recommended “prework” to help you get the most out of Stephanie’s Presentations:

  • Required:  Watch “Clickers, Students and Teachers Speak” at http://STEMclickers.colorado.edu
  • Optional:  Watch “Using Clickers Effectively” at above website. Read/discuss some ideas in the “Instructor’s Guide to Clickers” at the above website.
  • Brainstorm and create a list of “What are the benefits of using questioning in class?”
  • Bring Clicker questions that you’ve used/learning goals you’ve written for your courses.

Friday November 11th 4:00-5:30pm, B90 Science Library

Writing Great Clicker Questions

Question-writing strategies to promote student learning using clickers

Handouts for this lecture:

Monday November 14th, 12:00-1:00pm 240D Willamette Hall

Making Clickers Work for You

Handouts for this lecture:

Monday November 14, 4:00-5:30pm, B90 Science Library

What Do You Want Them to Learn Today?

Handouts for this lecture:

Back to Top