I am very excited to share that ongoing endeavors I have led over the past 3 years to build a transdisciplinary community focused on education and education research grounded in the FEW-Nexus will be supported for the upcoming 5 years through a Research Coordination Networks (RCN) grant from the National Science Foundation. The project – INFEWS/T3 RCN: Cultivating a National Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW; NSF-1856040) is co-funded through the Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) program and education core research program (ECR) through Education and Human Resources (EHR). NC-FEW involves faculty from across the U.S. and is led by an amazing NC-FEW team, members of which have been working together since the beginning through prior early-stage funding from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award #1006539 and #2017-06281, the Network of STEM Education Centers/APLU (NSEC), the Agricultural Research Division at the University of Nebraska, and Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region (NCR). Stay tuned for information about future conferences, webinars, newsletters, and other community activities. Want to find out more? Check out the brand-new NC-FEW website and join us to get involved!
This summer, the Forbes team attended and presented at the 2018 Earth Educators’ Rendezvous on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. As part of the conference, I had the unique opportunity to co-plan and co-facilitate a 3-day workshop – Advancing Transdisciplinary Dialogue in Geoscience Education Research – with my colleague Caitlin Callahan. The objective of the workshop was to advance research around grand challenges associated with teaching about the Earth in the context of societal issues. Attended by nearly 40 participants, the workshop was highly engaging for all involved. Many thanks to our participants and invited speakers: Laura Zangori, Anne Egger, Steve Semken, and Donna Charlevoix.
The Rendezvous also afforded the opportunity to present work from the WELL project and NC-FEW.
Forbes, C.T., Scherer, H., Li, C., Millenbah, K., Sintov, N., & Wang, H-H. (2018, July). Building a National Collaborative for Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW): Insights from a national conference. Poster presented at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.
Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., McNeal, K., & Soltis, N. (2018, July). National Survey of Geoscience Teaching Practices 2016: Current trends in geoscience instruction of scientific modeling and systems thinking. Presentation at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.
Petitt, D., Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., & Franz, T. (2018, July). Water in society: undergraduate learning and reasoning about socio-hydrological issues. Paper presented at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.
It was wonderful to engage with the geoscience education community and spend time on the KU campus. As always, Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!
Over the past two years, I have been working with an amazing group of colleagues to cultivate and establish a transdisciplinary community of educators and education researchers who focus on the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus. In May, we were fortunate enough to be able to take the next major step forward in this endeavor. Through funding through the USDA-NIFA Higher Education Challenge grant program, APLU’s Network of STEM Education Centers Research Action Cluster grant program, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Virginia Tech, we were able to hold an invited conference with nearly 50 participants from over 40 U.S. and international institutions. The conference – Innovating Teaching and Learning in the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus: Toward a National Collaborative for Food, Energy, & Water Systems Education (NC-FEW) – was held May 22-23 in the Washington, D.C. metro area at the Virginia Tech Executive Briefing Center. Conference participants had opportunities to share their research and engage with colleagues from a diverse array of disciplinary backgrounds (education, STEM disciplines, agriculture, natural resources) to articulate and shape discourse around a systemic approach to FEW-Nexus education and education research. We benefited tremendously from insights of invited speakers, including INFEWS program officers Rachel Melnick (USDA-NIFA) and Tom Torgersen (NSF), Kacy Redd (APLU/NSEC), and Jeff Weld (White House Office of Science and Technology Policy). A special thanks to Co-PIs and conference planning committee members Hannah Scherer, Hui-Hui Wang, Nicole Sintov, and Kelly Millenbah for helping plan and facilitate the conference, as well as staff from the UNL Center for Science, Math, and Computer Education (CSMCE). We look forward to next steps advancing the goals and priorities of this developing network.
For the second consecutive year, Sara Cooper, Science Education Director at the Nebraska Department of Education, and I had the distinct pleasure of welcoming science teachers, administrators, university faculty, and policymakers from around the state at the Nebraska K-12 Science Education Summit. This year’s event featured a workshop on the Next Generation Science Standards, invited talks by Dr. Phil Bell, Professor and Shauna C. Larson Chair in Learning Sciences at the University of Washington, and Dr. Christine Cutucache, Associate Professor and Haddix Community Chair of Science at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, as well as nearly 40 presentations of innovative science education curricula, resources, and other programs. Co-sponsored the Nebraska Department of Education, IANR Science Literacy, NebraskaSCIENCE, the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education, Nebraska 4-H, and the Nebraska Collaborative for Food, Energy, & Water Education, the 2017 Summit drew over 250 participants and showcased the recent adoption of Nebraska’s new state science standards. Be sure to check out media coverage from UNL and ABC Channel 8 KLKN-TV.
I am pleased and honored to have been named a a SENCER Leadership Fellow by the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE). The SENCER network represents a commitment by STEM faculty and administrators, both locally and nationally, who are deeply aware of the critical role science plays in cultivating and maintaining a healthy society and functioning democracy. It was a pleasure to host former Executive Director Wm. David Burns as a visiting speaker at UNL and to engage with the SENCER community in recent years. I look forward to continuing to contribute to SENCER and NCSCE in the years to come.
On Monday, December 12th, over 175 science educators from across the state of Nebraska had the opportunity to come together at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln for the Nebraska K-12 Science Education Summit. Organized and led by Sara Cooper, Science Education Director at the Nebraska Department of Education, and I, the event provided a forum for science education administrators, science teachers, STEM faculty, and stakeholders to engage in statewide discussions about K-12 science education efforts. This included a workshop on the Next Generation Science Standards and Nebraska state science standards, as well as concurrent sessions in which UNL faculty and others shared innovative science education resources and strategies with practitioners. We were fortunate to have Chancellor Ronnie Green stop by in the afternoon to welcome attendees and provide some critical insights into the importance of collaboration between K-12 schools and the NU system. The event was co-sponsored the Nebraska Department of Education, IANR Science Literacy, NebraskaSCIENCE, the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education, Nebraska 4-H, and the Nebraska Collaborative for Food, Energy, & Water Education. This was a wonderfully productive experience for all involved and we look forward to holding the event again in future years to enhance and synergize the teaching and learning of science in Nebraska.
Thanks to Troy Sadler, Laura Zangori, and the rest of the team with the ReSTEM Institute in the University of Missouri College of Education for a engaging and productive couple of days of collaboration with Jenny Dauer and myself. It was a great conversation around socio-scientific issues, science-informed decision-making, and science literacy in a range of K-16 contexts and across an array of unique projects. I look forward to working with ReSTEM as the external evaluation team on the Fostering Undergraduate Students’ Disciplinary Learning and Water Literacy (WELL) project, funded by an NSF IUSE grant (DUE-1609598), and the SCIL/AECN/NRES 109: Water in Society course over the next 3 years.
A new article co-authored by Jenny Dauer and I has been published in the Summer, 2016 issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. The paper, entitled Making Decisions about Complex Socioscientific Issues: A Multidisciplinary Science Course, reports on the initial iteration of a revised version of SCIL 101, a large-enrollment, interdisciplinary, introductory undergraduate course required of all students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR). The course represents a core element of programmatic efforts associated with the IANR Science Literacy Initiative to cultivate science literacy among undergraduate students at UNL.
Dauer, J. & Forbes, C. T. (2016). Making decisions about complex socioscientific issues: A multidisciplinary science course. Science Education & Civic Engagement: An International Journal, 8(2), 5-12.
At the end of June, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Academic Leadership Academy (ALA) at Penn State University. The ALA provides a multi-day professional development program for higher education administrators through Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and Higher Education Program. The experience was a wonderful way to learn new skills and engage with other academic leaders from all types of institutions from across the U.S. Thanks to CASNR and Extension for co-investing in my ongoing professional growth!
I am very excited to lead a newly-funded, 3-year NSF IUSE Engaged Student Learning: Exploration project (DUE-1609598) focused on the iterative design, implementation, and study of a new, interdisciplinary course for non-majors – SCIL/AECN/NRES 109: Water in Society – at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). The Fostering Undergraduate Students’ Disciplinary Learning and Water Literacy (WELL) project presents an outstanding opportunity to iteratively develop and study an innovative undergraduate STEM learning experience through design- and discipline-based education research. We are lucky to have an amazing, interdisciplinary team on board for this project, including faculty associated with UNL’s Water for Food Global Institute and two graduate students. The new course will be an integral part of a newly-established undergraduate minor – Food, Energy, & Water in Society – in CASNR, as well as a key component of a growing suite of undergraduate experiences associated with the IANR Science Literacy Initiative.