About SENCER Institute (Mar 18)

SENCER Hawaiʻi Spring 2017 Institute/SCI-West Regional Meeting
Saturday, March 18, 2017, 9 am to 4 pm
University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu

Theme: Assessment and Transformative Collaboration in Sustainability Education                  


SENCER Hawaiʻi and SCI-West, are jointly hosting the 3nd annual SENCER Hawaiʻi Spring Institute/SCI-West Regional Meeting focusing on innovative teaching and learning through high-impact practices (e.g. undergraduate research and community engagement) and compelling civic issues, particularly around sustainability.

Integration of SENCER theory and practice into a broader course base provides students with an engaging and relevant learning environment, which is proven to lead to improved learning outcomes and retention rates. We invite faculty, administrators, and students to consider how to thread sustainability issues and Indigenous sciences and ways of knowing through courses and research. We also welcome faculty across the disciplines to engage in discussion and collaborative projects throughout the Institute.

Come and share your experiences, network, create, and learn more about

  • how to use the SENCER assessment tools – and create your own SALG (Student Assessment of Learning Gains) survey instrument
  • how sustainability and climate change can be the cornerstones for active and project-based learning
  • how to utilize existing inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional programs and network as well as develop collaborative, civic-engagement initiatives as part of sustainability education

At this institute/regional meeting, we have a focus on documenting learning gains of the incorporation of indigenous knowledge as a central combining factor in our joint work. We will inspire and provide professional development and networking opportunities for faculty and other formal and informal science educators in Hawaiʻi and the SCI-West Region by promoting awareness of SENCER ideals and fostering a culture of academic transformation and support.

Our specific goals are to improve assessment, evaluation, and documentation as well as strengthen and expand the trans-disciplinary and trans-institutional civic and community engagement initiatives of the SENCER Hawaiʻi state network.

As we continue to build on the work many faculty in Hawaiʻi are doing with a strong emphasis on linking social and natural sciences with Indigenous knowledge through academic and community engagement, we develop courses and programs that connect the content of courses to critical local, national, and global challenges, including the central challenge of sustainability. By focusing on real world problems, the impact of learning is extended across the curriculum to the broader community and society.

To be able to continue this work in higher education, there is a strong need to improve assessment and evaluation for documentation reasons, inspire sustainability-focused and sencerized courses and projects, and create large collaborative assessment projects and pools of comparative data, including improving course articulation between two- and four-year institutions.


*For Sustainability Summit participants and early SENCER Institute participants there will be an opportunity to network Friday evening.


MORNING SESSION (9-12): Introductions to the work of the SENCER Hawaiʻi and its national partners followed by workshops with opportunities to develop curriculum collaboration, larger comparative projects, mentoring networks and evaluation tools for both new and already practicing program leaders and instructors. This includes introduction to the SALG (Student Assessment Learning Guide) assessment tool, exercises in sencerizing and assessing actual courses and programs, as well as information about ongoing pilot projects specifically assessing learning gains of courses that include sustainability and civic engagement instruction, and/or fulfill the General Education Hawaiʻi Asia Pacific focus requirement.


AFTERNOON SESSION (1-4): A series of workshops with presentations and discussions of examples of sencerized courses and programs followed by time to work on ideas, courses and collaborations. Closing remarks.


SENCER (sencer.net) applies the science of learning to the learning of science, all to expand civic capacity. SENCER courses and programs connect science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content to critical local, national, and global challenges. Students and faculty report that the SENCER approach makes science more real, accessible, “useful,” and civically impor­tant. SENCER is the longest continuously funded science education project in National Science Foundation history and serves as an informal think tank for NSF. It is the signature program of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement – NCSCE.

SENCER Hawaiʻi (sencerhawaii.com) is a community of faculty, administrators, and graduate students, who work together across institutions, campuses, disciplines, and communities to bring together Indigenous, social, and natural sciences through research, community-engagement programs, and classroom instruction based on compelling civic issues, applying the SENCER Ideals towards solving important issues of our time. SENCER Hawaiʻi was honored by receiving the “Inaugural Award for Exemplary Multi-Institutional and Regional Collaborations in the Service of Citizen Science” in August 2015, and was the following month recognized as the first SENCER Model State. We invite you to join us in this inspirational and important work.

SCI-West. SENCER Centers for Innovation offer expertise, local support for members of the SENCER community, and meetings and workshops to complement national SENCER Summer Institutes and Washington Symposia. SCI-West and its leaders have been instrumental in inspiring, developing, and solidifying SENCER Hawaiʻi.

Spring SENCER Hawaiʻi Institute and SENCER Center for Innovation West Regional Meeting