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Academic Review Committee

Janice Fritz, Professor of Biology

In Biology:

  • Quantitative reasoning- calculation of percentages and differences in labs, drawing graphs from lab data, interpreting graphs of population data, evaluating claims based on data
  • Information literacy- evaluating claims of medical benefits, fact checking media stories about the environment, looking up functions of drugs or hormones
  • Communication- participating in discussions, writing forum posts online, answering critical thinking questions in labs, answering essay questions on exams. A favorite to assess both comprehension and communication: a) How would you explain topic X (cell division, for example) to your five-year-old cousin? b) How would you explain topic X to a classmate who missed that lecture?
  • Civic responsibility- The effects of humans on the environment, use of natural resources, use of medical resources, vaccines, funding of research, regulation of food industry, health legislation, antibiotic resistance, sex and gender, basis of race


Becky Lubbers, Professor of Political Science

  • Political Science obviously meets the Civic Responsibility, but as for the others:
  • Quantitative Reasoning – we look at polling data, statistics on gun violence and evaluate and discuss, sometimes have to use it in assignments.
  • Informational Literacy – we evaluate news, meme, political statements for factual accuracy, discuss how to fact check
  • Communication – we have numerous written assignments, each student has to orally present a current event.

How to utilize civic questions to drive engagement in STEM webinar, September 12, 2018

SENCER - Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities - Eliza Jane Reilly


  • Ethics & STEM learning - decision making
  • Equity in education - helping students become more data literate
  • Science of sleep as a public health issue
  • Impact of nuclear waste dumped on Native American land
  • Equity in education
  • Fracking - Does science support the economic aspects?
  • Gentrification - Math, statistics, race, ethnicity
  • Basic stats course called Gentrification
  • Water quality
  • Underrepresentation of people of color in farming & agriculture
  • Infectious disease statistics - demographics, how does poverty affect spread?
  • How poverty affects the immune response of HIV

High impact teaching

  • Research project
  • Field experiences
  • Fictional & non fictional narratives - film, books, etc.
  • Outside experts & speakers
  • What assignments to measure learning?

Model Courses from SENSOR

National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE)