special Science survey on education

John S Travis jstravis at world.std.com
Tue Jan 4 09:21:29 EST 1994

This is a repost to catch those who were away for the holidays....

Dear university science professors--and students

The journal Science is gearing up for a special report on
science education at the university undergraduate and graduate levels and
would like your help. Our reporters are interviewing a rich mix of
professors at a variety of schools, but we thought the Internet might help
extend our survey. At the moment, we are merely prospecting for striking
ideas, worrisome trends, and novel approaches in education. We will then
use this survey to plan our special issue and follow up on select story
ideas that emerge. In this way our readers, not just the writers and
editors of the magazine, can determine the content of this important
issue.  Below are the general questions our reporters are asking each
professor they call. If you too are a university science professor--or a
science student--feel free to send in your thoughts on all or a few of the
queries to: jtravis at aaas.org (Due to what we expect to be a large
response, we will more than likely not be able to respond to each letter)

We do ask that you identify yourself and your university background, with
phone number, so that we can follow-up with an interview if necessary. 
However, feel free to ask that your remarks be kept confidential. Also, if
you do mention specific programs or individuals that we should
contact--please explain why and provide a phone number and affiliation. 

Thanks for your contribution.  John Travis (Northeast correspondent for
Science) jtravis at aaas.org

	1. (a) In your department, what is the most worrisome trend or
problem that, if uncorrected, could negatively affect the teaching of good
science over the next 5-10 years? 
      (b) Can you provide an example or anecdote illustrating this for
BOTH undergraduate and graduate education? 

	2. (a) In your department, is there any single trend or experiment
that you find especially promising for the future of the department's
ability to teach top-flight science? 
      (b) Can you illustrate this for BOTH undergraduate and graduate

	3. (a) When you think of other departments at your university, is
there a single endemic problem that threatens the teaching of science
      (b) Example for BOTH undergraduate and graduate education? 

	4. When you think of other departments at your university, is
there any ongoing experiment or example of a reform you find to be
promising in its potential to improve the teaching of science on BOTH
undergraduate and graduate levels? 

	5. If you were to step back and survey the state of the teaching
in your discipline generally -- irrespective of how your university
department is faring -- what problems most worry you in their potential to
negatively impact the next generation of scientists? 

	6. And how about truly exciting developments in the teaching of
your discipline outside your own university?  Are you aware of any we
should look into because you feel they may provide role models for how
things might change in the education system that now develops young
scientists in your discipline? 

	7. One last question: Are there entirely new models for teaching
science to undergraduates or graduates that excite you? These might
include multidisciplinary approaches, unusual collaborations, use of new
technologies for teaching, work-study programs, whatever. 

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