We are pleased to announce the Summer 2017 issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal.
Barbara M. Anthony and Kathryn M. Reagan (both at Southwestern University) describe an operations research course in which students partner with local nonprofit organizations. While working with these organizations to optimize their operations, students learn about the issues faced by nonprofits in a real-world context. This article demonstrates that community partnerships can be incorporated into technical filed such as operations research.
Although 22% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, there is a paucity of research on STEM education issues in these environments. Sara L. Hartman, Jennifer Hines-Bergmeier, and Robert Klein (all at Ohio University) provide a review of the research literature on informal STEM education in rural communities, with a focus on early childhood education. Based on their analysis, the authors propose that science educators should create and sustain relationships between rural schools and informal STEM partners.
Kim Trask Brown (University of North Carolina Asheville) reports on a science methods course for trainee K-6 teachers, which enabled them to develop event activities and serve as leaders for the regional Science Olympiad Competition. Based on written reflections and survey data, the author concludes that the trainee teachers gained scientific content, pedagogical skills, and desirable professional dispositions related to civic engagement.
Kevin Finn (Merrimack College) provides an account of an undergraduate health sciences course that taught research methods through a partnership with an outdoor education program for 3rd and 4th grade students. The undergraduates provided STEM activities for the elementary school students, and developed their understanding of research methodology by conducting their own research investigation.
Jill Nugent and Kelly Thrippleton-Hunter (both at Southern New Hampshire University) examine the challenge of providing experiential learning opportunities for students who are taking online courses. Focusing on an online course for Environmental Science and Geoscience Majors, the authors describe various opportunities for students to gain experience in service learning and civic engagement. Some examples take advantage of technology-enhanced education, such as using the iNaturalist app to organize a collective venture to census local species.
Rae Ostman (Arizona State University) describes a multi-institutional collaborative entitled Nano and Society, which fosters conversations among community members, educators, scientists, and others about nanotechnologies. The author demonstrates how the project supports participant learning within an informal education environment.
The project report by Davida S. Smyth (Mercy College) shows how a faculty member’s research interests can be used as the foundation for providing students with an authentic research experience in an undergraduate course. During an elective microbiology course, students examine the problem of antibiotic resistance using bacteria that are collected on their own college campus. As part of this investigation, they learn various techniques for preparing and characterizing bacteria, including modern methods of microbial genomics. In this manner, students acquire foundational techniques in microbial analysis while learning about an important global health concerns in the 21st century.
In conclusion, we wish to thank all the authors for sharing their educational initiatives with the readers of this journal.
Trace Jordan and Eliza Reilly, Co-Editors-in-Chief
Access individual articles here:
Read and download the full issue:
The following photographs were used under the Creative Commons license: Horses (Andrei Niemiaki), individuals canoeing (US Fish and Wildlife), and Rural Ohio (Mark Spearman).
The photograph of students studying and the image of DNA are from iStockphoto.
Photographs for articles by Rae Ostman and Jill Nugent were provided by the authors.