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Networking Topics

One of the goals of the Life Discovery – Doing Science Education Conference is to facilitate networking during and beyond the conference. The Life Discovery partner societies are interested in building live and virtual learning communities! Learn more about the Networking discussions at the 2021 conference.

Saturday, October 2nd, 10:45 am.

Participants will be able to join one of the groups below. Each group will be led by a facilitator.  The goal of the networking session is to prioritize key issues related to the topic and to generate some recommendations on action steps. In other words, what does the group see as important for the education community to pay attention to? If time permits, all participants will be able to hear and respond to the ideas generated on the other topics.

We hope this will lead to a more well-rounded set of recommendations and ideas.

After the conference

We will summarize the discussion and post the report online. We hope to take these reflections to online forums following the conference to build collegial support and exchange of ideas and information if there is sufficient interest.

Networking Topics 

Pushing Past Barriers: Ecological Science for All. 

In recent years, we have seen a significant change in public attitudes in support of climate science and sustainability. At the same time, whether it is about food safety, endangered species or protection of waterways, we continue to see the latest science being pushed aside in public discourse. As a society, we are working towards achieving greater inclusivity and equality in the success of students pursuing science degrees, especially those with an emphasis in ecology. In the face of pressing environmental challenges, ecological science is a dynamic discipline that can offer solutions that touch every aspect of life.  As we embark on a new decade, ensuring that ecology is relevant to all students is vital so that we can prepare all students to be ecologically literate.  

This year’s Networking Session will focus on the four thematic tracks of the conference:  

N1) Engaging Non-Science Majors 

  • How do we encourage nonscience majors to take away important messages that will inform their personal and professional decisions? 
  • What is one thing you can implement when you return to your classroom? 
  • What recommendations do you have for educators to engage a student population that is not interested in science? 

N2) Connecting Current Events to Curriculum 

  • What is the most successful strategy you have adopted to connect with current events in your biology/environmental courses? 
  • What are the challenges you faced in its implementation and how did you overcome them? 
  • What recommendations do you have to support educators to current events to the curriculum? 

N3) Incorporating culturally relevant and inclusive teaching 

  • What do we understand today about faculty and student mindsets, classroom environments and learning conditions that contribute to students who feel they don’t belong in STEM?  
  • What immediate steps can you take to build a more inclusive classroom? 
  • What recommendations do you have to retain students from culturally diverse backgrounds to become scientists and science professionals? 

 N4) Addressing systemic barriers to effective teaching and learning in environmental biology 

  • What have we learned from prior education reform efforts such as NGSS, Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education, and the newly minted 4DEE framework?  
  • How can workforce expectations drive change? 
  • How can we foster greater partnerships between high schools, community colleges and four-year institutions? 
  • What recommendations do you have for educators to activate these levers of change?