One day symposium to be held Feb. 16 on science and civic engagement

On Thursday, Feb. 16, the College of Liberal Arts will host a one-day symposium on STEM and humanities research that will be led by Dr. Eliza Jane Reilly, executive director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement at Stony Brook University, and Susan Reiser, associate dean of natural sciences at the University of North Carolina Asheville.

The symposium will be held in 310 Tichenor Hall and is open to all faculty and/or graduate students who register, as seating is limited. Topics to be addressed at the symposium include SENCER in the classroom, undergraduate research, and a workshop on design thinking. To register for this free event, please contact Patricia James

Here is the complete agenda:


February 16, 2017

310 Tichenor Hall


9:30 -10:30 SENCER Overview

Eliza Reilly, “SENCER as a Community of Transformation” SENCER's Executive Director, will provide a short history of the SENCER project, its founding principles, its evolution into the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, and its current expansion beyond undergraduate STEM education into public programs, the humanities and social science disciplines, and graduate  education.  


10:45 -11:45 SENCER in the Classroom

Learning research and assessment data suggests that the SENCER approach helps students improve learning outcomes, develop positive dispositions towards science, and increase their inclination and capacity to be more civically engaged. How can you adopt SENCER strategies in your courses and programs? Susan Reiser and Eliza Reilly will describe several models of successful SENCER implementation, ranging from discrete modules, to entire courses, to multi-course programs, such as majors and minors. 


1:00 – 3:30 Workshop: Design Thinking + SENCER

Are you interested in designing a SENCER course? Eliza Reilly and Susan Reiser will lead an interactive workshop in which participant teams use the principles of design-thinking to develop syllabi and assessment strategies for potential SENCER courses.


3:45 – 4:15 Undergraduate Research: One Campus' Story

At UNC Asheville, North Carolina's public liberal arts college, more than 60 percent of students complete original research in their field of study. The university's nationally recognized Undergraduate Research Program hosted the first National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in 1987, as well as the tenth, twentieth, and most recently the thirtieth annual event in 2016. Thirty years later the conference regularly draws roughly 4000 student researchers. Susan Reiser (or Mark Harvey) will describe UNC Asheville's Undergraduate Research Program.

More information

Reilly and Reiser are part of an organization named SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities), which connects learning to important, unsolved civic issues. SENCER is funded by, among others, the National Science Foundation (NSF). Its mission is to transform STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. SENCER promotes a teaching model that is experientially based and integrates the sciences with everyday problems and real-life experiences to engage students with science in the classroom and in the community.

The College of Liberal Arts received funding from SENCER and its parent program the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) to study the science of music through an innovative and interdisciplinary learning, teaching, and research experience provided through a Music and Science class. Undergraduate students enrolled in the class have learned about and researched the psychological and physiological effects of music on people. After conducting experiments on these effects, students applied their findings to different healthcare industry settings. They studied how music could improve high-stress environments in healthcare, such as hospital waiting rooms and operating rooms, resulting in better health outcomes; how music could be used in children’s physical therapy to help decrease recovery time.

The college recently received a new SENCER award to study the relationship between musical training and auditory function. The research will see collaboration among several units across campus, as well as venture into the Auburn community.

Last Updated: January 31, 2017