Faculty Member Participates in National Science Initiative

8-23-04

Students in Laura Blinderman’s biology class will be learning science in an exciting new way this fall. Blinderman, assistant professor of Biology at Mercer County Community College (MCCC), will be engaging students through issues such as HIV and AIDS, organ transplantation, stem-cell research and cancer. She will be applying concepts learned this summer through her participation in a residential institute with the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement.

Blinderman joined representatives from 87 other institutions at Santa Clara University in California as part of a national initiative called Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER), which promotes reform through faculty development.

Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the project is designed to achieve three pressing goals: to improve science education especially for students who may never major in a scientific field; to connect science education reform to more robust and relevant general education programs; and to stimulate informed civic engagement with scientific questions on the part of today's students.

According to Blinderman, “MCCC is contributing to a national reform effort in science education that connects undergraduate science education with civic engagement. Engaging students through topics they are interested in leads to active participation in class and improved learning. Scientifically literate citizens foster our democratic process.”

Blinderman will be collaborating with other colleges and will form an interdisciplinary team at MCCC to further the aims of the project. The team will present the results of their work at the 2005 institute.

Dr. Robert Rose, president of Mercer County Community College, is pleased that the college is participating. “Because community colleges are such a vital part of our nation’s higher education system, we take seriously our role in preparing citizens for their civic responsibilities. I compliment Laura and the many other Mercer faculty members who are consistently striving to provide the best possible education for our students.”

Other area colleges represented at the institute were The College of New Jersey, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Rutgers University, Middlesex and Raritan Valley Community Colleges, Bloomfield College, and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mercer was one of only six community colleges invited to participate.

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