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JHU Rethinks University-Level Science Teaching

January 13, 2012
To: Reporters, editors, producers, daybooks
From: Dennis O’Shea | 443-287-9960 | dro@jhu.edu

Jan. 20 symposium is key part of search for alternatives to large lecture classes 

What: The Johns Hopkins University is holding a daylong meeting of nearly 300 faculty members, academic leaders, staff members and outside experts to consider innovative, more effective alternatives to traditional large lecture/lab introductory science classes for undergraduates, graduate students and professional students.

When/Where: The Symposium on Teaching Excellence in the Sciences will be held Friday, Jan. 20, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Hodson Hall on the university’s Homewood campus in Baltimore.

Background: Johns Hopkins, the first U.S. research university and a pioneer in science and medical education since 1876, is devoting this academic year to the Gateway Sciences Initiative. The program aims to enhance and even reinvent the foundation courses that science, engineering and health professions students must take to prepare for advanced, specialized study. “The Gateway Sciences Initiative will promote wider adoption of successful teaching techniques already in use — at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere — and encourage development of innovative new approaches,” said Lloyd B. Minor, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, the program’s sponsor. “We will identify and promote best practices and adopt a strategic approach to continuous improvement in gateway science courses in all our schools.” Overcoming the challenges to effective science, math and engineering teaching, he said, is critical when U.S. competitiveness is increasingly dependent on STEM graduates.

Details: The symposium will include talks by outside experts, a “view from the trenches” panel with current students, a poster session featuring the winners of recently funded experimental teaching grants, and faculty brainstorming sessions. Here is a schedule.

Your coverage is invited: The symposium is an opportunity to meet and talk with experts giving serious thought to the future of science and engineering education at the university level. Please contact Dennis O’Shea  if you are interested in attending or in interviewing GSI leaders.

More information is available at the following pages:

Gateway Sciences Initiative website 

GSI kickoff coverage in the JHU Gazette

GSI innovation grant winners announced

Directions to the Homewood campus

Campus map (Hodson Hall is at coordinates D2)


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