First Seminar Series of the year!

SBE welcomed our first Seminar speaker of the year, Dr. Susan Rundell Singer, director of the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation, to speak on learning engineers and STEM education reform.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  Singer is also a Professor of Natural Sciences at Carleton College.

“Dr. Singer is a very busy person and we were thrilled that she took time out of her schedule to learn about the discipline-based education research projects that are occurring in multiple Umaine STEM departments,” says Dr. Michelle Smith, Assistant Professor of Biological Studies.  Dr. Smith’s lab focuses on biology education research.

Student talking with speakerDiscipline based education research or DBER is a growing field, which combines knowledge of teaching and learning with knowledge of discipline-specific topics in science.  DBER scholars study the specific difficulties learners face and the instructional resources necessary to promote student learning and improve the quality of instruction.

Dr. Singer’s talk focused on how to help students using a variety of different approaches.  She discussed socially mediated learning environments, open-ended problems, and interventions to promote metacognition as ways to stimulate student learning.

Umaine Biology department has directed a number of programs to help students learn including developing an inquiry-based lab program for the introductory biology course.  These laboratory exercises include hands-on experiments and analysis in order to make students to think for themselves, and are very different from the traditional set of laboratory instructions found at other institutions.

Dr. Singer noted that: “One of the most remarkable thing Umaine has done is to hire DBER faculty and situate them in the departments while developing very robust and rigorous programs.”

Dr. Singer started off the seminar series season; now don’t miss our next seminar today at 3!

To view the complete SBE Calendar page & Seminar Series schedule click here!