11 March 2011

There is Life Outside Your Lab

Earlier this week I wrote a question-laden post about the inherent need and responsibility to train STEM students to engage with ideas and populations from outside their immediate laboratory. And, shock of shocks, I'm not the only one who wonders if we really prepare students to become responsive and responsible scientists.

W-a-a-a-it a minute... You mean there are other people who think we could maybe do a better job preparing students for, ya know, life?

I know. Crazy, right?

Shortly after posting on Monday, I came upon a 2009 essay by Jennifer Frederick, Associate Director of the Graduate Teaching Center at Yale University. In it she raises similar questions; offers an insightful, passionate proposal for innovation; and concludes,

As we push for transformations of increasing scale, we should bear in mind that the potential payout is tremendous: meaningfully educated scientists capable of understanding assumptions of their work and thus more able to converse with nonscientists. The next generation of scientists will seek solutions to global warming, environmental sustainability, and the humane use of science and technology. Let us train them well.

Well said, Dr. Frederick. Well said indeed.

* * * * *

The entire essay, Non-Science for Majors: Reforming Courses, Programs, and Pedagogy, can be accessed (for free!) care of the Essays on Teaching Excellence series published by the Professional & Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education.

No comments:

Post a Comment