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Paul Grobstein's picture

SENCER and social change, in science education and ....

As I have been in the past, I was impressed both by SENCER's commitment to finding ways to effectively engage more students with science, not only as a professional activity but as an essential component of becoming effective and empowered participants in society regardless of one's professional identity. SENCER's impact on a wide array of institutions, including two year colleges, is a valuable reminder that prestige institutions are not the only players in town and may in fact in important ways be behind in some significant innovations rather than leading them.

The meeting was also a valuable contribution to my own continuing thinking about the balance between advocacy and questioning in social change. While SENCER is clearly being successful in engaging significant numbers of both students and faculty in thinking about science education in new ways, it is probably having less impact (at least in the short run) on students and faculty who have been and are being "successful" in traditional science education modes. Ought one to challenge and seek alterations in the SENCER community to address this, or be content to congratulate and contribute to sustaining the community with the expectation that its successes will spread outward and contribute to valuable change elsewhere as well? What is the relation between this particular question and the more general tensions between disciplines and transdiscipinarity? between getting it less wrong in the near term and supporting continual innovation/emergence in the long run?

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