The Center for Science & Mathematics Education (CSME) continues to support and promote a variety of curriculum and course development projects to enhance undergraduate math and science education at the University of Utah. A summary of recent projects appears below.
- CSME is participating in the development of a new integrated curriculum for the Crocker Science Center that will incorporate science practices with content from all College of Science disciplines. As part of the process, CSME created a new course designation (“SCI”) for inter-cross-disciplinary courses. A new Nature of Scientific Inquiry course (SCI 2010) and a Science, Technology, and Society course (SCI 2020) were developed to fulfill several general education requirements while engaging students in the processes, practices, and implications of the scientific endeavor. Additionally, CSME created SCI 5050 (Science of Learning) to provide students with basic tools and skills to be effective as classroom teaching assistants and help them integrate educational theory, pedagogy, content, and practice. SCI 5050 is associated with the new Learning Assistant program. Other curriculum collaborations include the co-development of a new integrated lab course for freshmen STEM majors.
- In 2017, CSME launched a new science-focused BlockU program, the “da Vinci” block, that introduces students to the practices and processes of science while exploring the intersection of science, philosophy, art, and society. The da Vinci block provides a two-semester experience where participants are able to complete most of their General Education requirements while engaging with a peer learning community.
- In 2016, the Biology Department invited CSME to participate in their initial efforts to reform the biology curriculum. CSME staff facilitated nine town hall meetings to discuss learning outcomes, curriculum mapping, and possible curriculum models. CSME also participated on a curriculum revision team to develop a new model core curriculum for Geology & Geophysics that will help students get a broader view of the geosciences while deepening their understanding of core disciplinary and cross-cutting concepts.
- In 2015, CSME developed “Science Communication and Mentoring for the Next Generation”, an upper division undergraduate science course that enhances students’ science communication and mentoring skills. Students worked in interdisciplinary teams to develop and teach science concepts in elementary school classrooms associated with the STEM Mentors program.