On Saturday, March 8th, Sustainability Studies professors Mike Bryson and Michele Hoffman-Trotter participated in the SENCER SCI-Midwest Regional Symposium, “Teaching College Science and Math through Food, Health, and Sustainability Themes,” hosted by Roosevelt University at its Schaumburg Campus. This annual event brings together educators from the Midwestern region of the US for lectures, workshops, and hands-on discussion of the National Science Foundation’s SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) oriented pedagogy.
Hoffman-Trotter’s afternoon talk during Session III of the conference was entitled “Retooling the Way Students Think: Why Case Studies Should Be in Every Teacher’s Toolbox,” and focused on the example of the “Makah people, a tribe of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest . . . [who] sought to revive their right to hunt grey whales in the Olympic Peninsula. To assess this issue students must consider the cultural value of the tradition against the conservation status of a species.”
As the last item on the day’s agenda, Bryson’s closing plenary talk was entitled “Science, Sustainability, Service Learning, and Social Justice: Experiments and Opportunities in Field- and Community-Based Education” (click here for pdf). In it he explored how “the tableau of urban nature offers myriad opportunities for integrating STEM education, sustainability, and social justice. This is a hybrid sort of nature that encompasses concrete and chlorophyll, city and suburb, freeways and farms, skyscrapers and song sparrows. The urban landscape here in the Chicago metro region includes hundreds of human communities — politically-defined city neighborhoods and suburbs — that co-exist with a variety of ecological communities that ignore political boundaries. Sustainability provides a lens through which to view the interactions and co-dependency of these built and natural environments, as well as a means of linking scientific study with the furtherance of community development and environmental justice.”
This symposium was organized by Dr. Bob Seiser, Associate Professor of Biology in Roosevelt’s Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences and Co-Director of SENCER Midwest.