REVIEW OF THE 1989 SIGMA XI ANNUAL MEETING
by Kenneth M. Klemow, Ph.D.
Wilkes College Club Delegate
12 January 1990

The 1989 annual meeting of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society was held at the Marriott Hotel in Denver, Colorado. It ran from Thursday, 26 October until Sunday, 29 October. I served as a delegate to the meeting, representing the Wilkes College Sigma Xi club. Overall, 350 delegates attended the meeting, representing 192 chapters and 123 clubs throughout North America. As at previous meetings, the Denver meeting consisted of a two-day symposium as well as national and regional assemblies of delegates. This year's symposium was entitled "Science as a Way of Knowing: the Undergraduate Experience".

The purpose of this report is to summarize the presentations made during the symposium, based on notes that I took. Business conducted during the assemblies of delegates was summarized in a report that was distributed by the National Headquarters in December. A copy of that summary report is available on request.

This was the second consecutive year that the symposium at the Sigma Xi meeting centered on the general topic of science education. The symposium at the 1988 meeting was entitled "Public Understanding of Science and Technology", and was co-sponsored with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The theme of the 1989 meeting developed from the report of a Sigma Xi advisory group that met at Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin to discuss the current status of undergraduate science education, and to make recommendations. The report, entitled "An Exploration of the Nature and Quality of Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics and Engineering", was mailed to delegates before the meeting. Copies were also sent to the CEO's of colleges and universities nationwide. In my estimation, the report is fascinating and deserves to be read by everyone interested in undergraduate science, math, or engineering education. I made multiple copies of the report, and those are also available upon request.

The symposium consisted of three sessions that included presentations by nationally-known authorities in science education. The first session, held on Friday morning, involved four presentations that provided an introduction to the needs and status of science education in the U.S. The second session, held on Friday afternoon, was entitled "Trends in Curricula", and included a general session with two speakers as well as three panel discussions (Undergraduate Field Courses, Mathematics Initiatives, and Innovative Research Experiences) that served as breakout sessions. The third session was entitled "Challenges for Action."

SESSION I: INTRODUCTION

Dr. Luther Williams (Senior Science Advisor, National Science Foundation) "Contemporary Science and Engineering Education: A National Imperative"

We must look at undergraduate science education from a global perspective and see interconnections with other efforts. Such interconnectedness does not occur, especially at the national level. For example, two awards were given in Washington in early October, one being a Presidential Medal of Science and the other being an award for outstanding teaching. Yet, the two were considered to be separate. That is a symptom of the lack of a national effort to relate science and education. Efforts at the undergraduate level must also be linked to high-school and post-graduate education.

Presently, the number of American science baccalaureates who go on to receive a Ph.D in science is decreasing, whereas the number of foreign-born students receiving Ph.D.'s is increasing, especially in math and engineering. Opportunities for those with B.S. and Ph.D. degrees are increasing. Usually there is a lag between the time that opportunities arise and the time that they are filled by qualified professionals, however.

A second important point is that graduate education is intimately linked to research. Support for research is increasing. That should lead to an increase in graduate enrollments, but still there is a decline. Despite these trends in enrollment, graduate education can be rated as being excellent and highly productive.

The situation is different for science education at the undergraduate level. Presently, we have a decrease in enrollment and retention, partly due to the decline in the number of 18-year-olds. Some effort is directed toward improving support for undergraduate science education. The National Science Foundation is now allocating money, and in 1986 developed an office of undergraduate science and engineering education. Some of the programs are directed toward underrepresented groups. More programs are needed though, especially in certain disciplines. A primary target is the freshman and sophomore level, similar to the project to upgrade the way that calculus is taught. We must also develop interconnections between disciplines in order to improve education for science and non-science majors alike. Consortia should be developed between 2-year colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, and to better couple teaching with research. However, no single agency can accomplish this, instead several must collaborate. Those efforts must be evaluated as well.

In summary, we have an excellent graduate education system, but the undergraduate system merits attention. One way to help accomplish that is to set aside some funds from NSF grants to improve undergraduate science education. We must provide more funding at the undergraduate level in a way that minimizes duplication of effort and interruptions. We should also make connections to pre-college education.


Dr. Kenneth C. Green (University of Southern California) "National Needs and Trends"
We are currently witnessing a deteriorating infrastructure in science. The irony is that Americans almost made a clean sweep of Nobel Prizes given out this year. However, those awards were generally based on work done 20-30 years ago.

A recent study done by UCLA on the aspirations of students found that the number majoring in science declined by 50% in the past 20 years. A big problem is that many good students are discouraged early in their career and switch majors. Indeed, if undergraduate science departments were run as a business, many would become bankrupt due to their inclination to alienate their clients. The result is that we are losing the very people who need to know about science.

Of all of the sciences, biology appears to have the most healthy undergraduate enrollment, but much of that is due to the large number of pre-meds. Ironically, an large proportion of biology majors change majors due to their inability to succeed in organic chemistry courses that are poorly taught and unnecessarily difficult.

We need to increase the number of women selecting science careers. However, like men, fewer women are choosing to major in science. Math is suffering a particularly large dropoff of females, especially at the freshman level. One reason appears due to paucity of females wanting to become high school math teachers, due to the development of other career options over the past twenty years. Engineering and computer science have also lost as much as 25% female enrollment. Although "4.0" students are largely staying with science majors, many of the "3.0" students are switching to business because of opportunities there.

Another problem is at the high-school level where teachers have not been taught in a scientific discipline, but instead were liberal arts majors. Considering all majors, students majoring in education and business have the lowest SAT scores and high-school rank.

Science attracts the best students, but for some reason retention is low. The most severe loss occurs during the freshman year. Pre-meds are among the most capable, yet if they do not achieve very high G.P.A.'s in their first two years they generally switch completely out of science.

The picture is brighter for minorities as enrollment has been increasing over the past 2-3 years.

We complain that our students are docile, apathetic and interested only in careers that make money. One reason for this, however, is that today's students witnessed an economic upheaval when they were younger. The historical symbols of middle-class affluence, including a home, a car, and going to college are now less affordable than a generation ago. Indeed, this may be the first generation in which the children will be economically less well-off than their parents.

The challenges for science education are four-fold. First, we must do a better job of developing the talent of students who enter our classes. Second, we must provide better opportunities for non-science majors, and even find ways to bring them into our upper-level courses. Third, we must improve student and faculty interaction. Fourth, we must foster a renewed concern for educating teachers.

A current area of concern is assessment and value added. One indication that there is a problem is that students frequently score lower in their G.R.E. exams than in their S.A.T.'s.

The loss of the NSF programs for undergrads in the early '80's dealt a terrible blow to the science-education pipeline, causing us to lose a generation of potential students.

We also need to change the patterns of interaction between different levels of the educational system. Essentially, there needs to be a two-way flow of ideas between the pre-college level, the undergraduate level, the graduate level and the actual science profession.


Dr. Thomas Daniel (University of Washington) "The Process of Science in the Under- graduate Experience."

Thus far, solutions to problems in science education have been band-aids, not true long-term remedies.

Faculty and administrators at the University of Washington are faced with a dilemma. Most of their students come from the state of Washington, which ranks 46th in per capita spending for education of the 50 states. UW is highly research-oriented, and faculty are rewarded for getting grants. Thus, there is a disincentive to devote much effort towards undergraduate education.

The undergraduate science experience at UW includes freshman-level, upper-level and interdisciplinary courses. The biggest challenge is the freshman-level course where there are 200-400 students in a class, and where the students are too often disinterested, and poorly literate due to television. Courses must be interesting to engage those students. They use a conceptual approach.

For non-majors, a conceptual approach is not successful. Instead, the inter-relationship between science and society is emphasized. Faculty teaching non-majors courses should realize that theirs may be the only science course that their students take at the collegiate level. They try to raise moral issues to involve the students and perhaps even gain a few "converts". Their non-majors course has a traditional lecture/lab format. The general concepts are the same from year to year, but the examples change. Last year they emphasized AIDS, while this year the focus is on substance abuse. One difficulty with the course is that the labs are shabby and the equipment can be improved. Students work closely with faculty, and students like that arrangement, according to comments on their evaluations. Students often use the time to ask questions concerning lecture material. Faculty and teaching assistants often resent the time though, because it conflicts with activities that are rewarded. Although student evaluations are good, only 1% of the students switch to science majors.

In their upper-level majors courses, the faculty have more time to devote to teaching critical-thinking and writing skills. This is done by having faculty review students' papers, that are then returned for revision. Faculty are concerned by a loss of analytic skills (evidenced by their inability to do algebra) and by poor writing skills. To combat this, students are now required to write more than one paper per course, and to investigate the primary literature. Courses that include a heavy writing component have a writing-intensive designation. Other courses force students to do an independent research project. Students coming into these courses fear for their ability to survive. They must grapple with concepts from different areas, and this teaches them interdisciplinarity.

One successful approach involves a combination of biology and math into a new major. Students progress with the two disciplines from the freshman to the senior year. They learn how to relate the two, especially how to evaluate biological phenomena quantitatively. The faculty hope that their students will do a better job of applying concepts learned in one course to others, and that the dual major will make the students more marketable. To be successful in the program, students must have an aptitude for biology, math and computers. The program enhances breadth at the expense of depth. Since it is difficult to acquire sufficient math expertise in four years, some students do the program in five years. It is still too early to evaluate the program's success.

The reward system must be changed to ensure good undergraduate science education. Funds must be allocated at the national level. Most faculty at research institutions do see teaching as important, though.

Dr. Shirley Malcolm (American Association for the Advancement of Science) "Cultivation, Not Weeding: Nurturing a New Generation."

We need to enhance the throughput of minority, female and disabled students. To do so, it is important to recognize the practices that encourage those students. Dr. Malcolm (a black female) left Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. With the aid of many people who encouraged her, she graduated from the University of Washington.

She mentioned that she is poor at growing plants. Those that start to die get plucked out, while those that remain look pretty good. Her mother does a better job of growing plants, and even prides herself on growing hard to cultivate species. She is successful because of the attention that she devotes to them. As long as plants are numerous, weeding is acceptable. However when the plants are few, weeding leads to extinction.

She recalled an overly difficult chemistry teacher who practiced reverse education triage. Those in need of help did not get it and left. Those not in need received all the attention. She admitted to having difficulty with chemistry at first, but personalized guidance from another faculty member helped her through. When she had second thoughts about a career in medicine, that same faculty member advised her to look into academic science. The moral is that successful intervention by a single person can have an important impact.

Unfortunately, some faculty view a high drop-out rate as being desirable. We must change that attitude, and stop giving discouraging advice to students. Some faculty maintain that students are "born" to be scientists. Others do not allow for "late bloomers" to develop. Those practices and philosophies must be ended. Instead, we must realize that a diverse array of people can become scientists. We must look to the entire talent pool as a resource. Secondary institutions seeking to increase the number of minority faculty should grow their own.

Womens' colleges are very effective at producing young scientists. The reason is that the students there receive more encouragement. Minority students with high SAT scores are also successful at completing science programs, when they receive encouragement.

In essence, students thrive when provided with appropriate encouragement, and die without it.

SESSION II: TRENDS IN CURRICULA

Dr. Joseph B. Platt (Harvey Mudd College) "The Introductory Design Clinic at Harvey Mudd College"

Harvey Mudd College of Claremont, California is a science and engineering college in which 1/3 of the courses are in the humanities. It is well respected, and students enjoy a very high placement rate.

Students at the College work in teams. Engineering students work with clients who propose projects for them to design. That clinic is mandatory for all students: those pursuing a B.S. must have three credits of clinic, while M.S. students need six credits.

The clinic is organized as follows. Students meet with a prospective client who indicates the problem and provides funds to help implement the design. The solution comes from the students, with faculty serving as a resource. It was difficult to find real clients at first. Many faculty were skeptical. Now it is successful, though very time-consuming for the faculty.

The clinic does lose many students through the year. A study of the clinic found that some students were good at generating ideas, while others liked to tinker.

To improve retention in engineering programs, students must be given a chance to do engineering.

The projects seemed to provide a good way for students to get hands-on experience. Outside reviewers pointed to the success of the program. Graduates are also very enthusiastic about it. The down side is that students might not receive some of the more general theoretical knowledge of their discipline. However, they do develop good problem-solving techniques.


Dr. Michael LaBarbera (University of Chicago) "Science for All: New Approaches"

Faculty at the University of Chicago have developed an integrated sequence of six courses for non-majors. The program is described fully in a brochure that was made available to all in attendance. (I picked up copy, and duplicated them, they are therefore available on request.)

There are several good reasons for non-science majors to have a good exposure to science. Possibly the best reason is that non-science majors need to understand the nature of the answers to public policy questions. They need to be able to evaluate evidence, especially when it is based on quantitative information. They also must develop the ability to separate science from non-science.

Courses for non-scientists must emphasize six aspects: (1) how scientists address questions; (2) paradigms and concepts must be stressed, rather than facts; (3) different subdisciplines of science are interrelated; (4) science has important implications to the life of the student; (5) hands-on exposure to scientific investigation; (6) science can be fun.

The courses in their sequence all revolve around the central theme of evolution. There are six courses, each with a different faculty member. The sequence is highly interdisciplinary, and students are treated to an approach that shows the diversity of science, that a particular topic can be approached in different ways by different kinds of scientists, and that concepts from the different disciplines interrelate and indeed build upon one another.

Each course is taught in a lecture/lab format. The labs are designed to illustrate points made in lecture. They are not "cookbook" in nature, but instead force students to design experiments, collect data, evaluate the data and relate data to the theory.

Although the sequence is rather new, it appears to be overwhelmingly successful. Retention is high and student evaluations are generally very positive. Moreover, enrollment is increasing greatly each year.

From the administrative standpoint, the six faculty members involved must be able to communicate with each other. Faculty should be selected who are interested in working with non-majors. The program should not depend on the participation of specific individuals. Instead, courses should be developed in a sufficiently broad manner so that if one faculty member leaves, another can take his/her place, with minimal disruption in continuity. The UC program has experienced some turnover, with little effect on the overall sequence.

McGOVERN SCIENCE AND SOCIETY LECTURE

Honorable Douglas Walgren (U.S. Representative, Pennsylvania) "The Warrant for a Civil Science"

As a member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, he focuses on science from a national perspective. He is concerned with civil, as opposed to military, science. The warrant (defined as an authorization or duty to act) for civil science must be continually renewed in order to keep funding. To enhance the prospects for continued funding, scientists must be responsible. At the same time, the public should listen to scientists. Certainly, science must be important because the government spends $75 billion on it.

Eight years ago, NSF's support of undergraduate education declined sharply. Support is increasing once again, but the level is still very low compared to that allocated in the 1960's. The government's commitment to preeminence in science is questionable.

Society's support for science also ebbs and flows over time. If we fail to develop our science, we jeopardize our future. Even momentary lapses can have severe repercussions.

The importance of a civil science was recognized as far back as the 1780's-1880's. At that time, the government supported explorations of America and the Pacific. During that time, national laboratories were also established, including the National Bureau of Standards, whose mission was to determine the properties of materials. Conversely, the development of a national university, first proposed in the 1780's, never came to pass. Generally, though, the government's support of civilian science has been recognized as being important.

Over the past century, science has been transformed from its practical roots to being more theoretical. We now may be too theoretical, and our ability to do applied science is second-rate. We must better support applied civilian research. For example, great changes are occurring in manufacturing due to the advent of CADD (Computer-Aided Design and Drafting). CADD has led to tremendous increases in productivity and can be viewed as a second industrial revolution. Despite its importance, the U.S. government has allocated only $11 million towards programmable automation.

The U.S. retains three areas of worldwide preeminence: aerospace science, agriculture, and biomedicine. That preeminence is due to heavy governmental investment in those areas. The benefits are great, making the money allocated very cost-effective. We should bring the same level of expenditure to other areas of science.

To attract funds scientists must be able to deal with the public. Since taxpayers fund 50% to 75% of all research, scientists have a real obligation to be involved in science education. This includes teaching students, teaching teachers and serving as mentors. As citizens, scientists should help shape public opinion.

Sigma Xi is active in providing advisory groups at the state level. Individual chapters and clubs should provide expertise to local politicians. On a larger level, scientists in the U.S. must do a better job of interacting with those in other countries, and Sigma Xi can facilitate such international communication.

Scientists should also become involved in the development of congressional awards for undergraduate science students (two per congressional district). Scientists can help set selection criteria, as well as help in the selection process itself.

SESSION III: CHALLENGES FOR ACTION

Dr. Anna Harrison (Chair, Sigma Xi's Committee on Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education) "The National Advisory Group"

The Committee sought to convene a group to chart policy concerning science education. To underwrite expenses they submitted grant proposals to the National Science Foundation and the Johnson Foundation. The goal was to develop a series of recommendations that would be valuable to the nation, to individual institutions and even to individual departments.

The evolution of the 35-member group was interesting. First, she wanted to make sure that it was multidisciplinary. Second, the group also needed representation from all kinds of undergraduate institutions. Third, the group had to include representatives of various minorities. On that basis, she identified individuals based on her own knowledge of people and on the recommendations of others. In general, the group consisted of senior-level people, with younger scientists and educators not present. To provide some balance, four undergraduate science majors were invited to participate.

The group brought experts together, most of whom did not know each other prior to the meeting. They met at Wingspread, exchanged ideas, held breakout sessions and plenary sessions, and produced a report. The report was circulated to all of the participants and it went through several revisions before being printed and distributed. The report, thus represents a good consensus of ideas.

The report contains seven sections: 1. Quality of Instruction; 2. Quality of Curricula; 3. Quality of the Human Environment; 4. Quality of the Physical Environment; 5. Accessibility and Flexibility of Curricula Essential for Student Mobility; 6. Attitudes and Perceptions of Students, Faculty, Administrators and the Public; 7. Promises and Special Needs of Traditionally Underrepresented Groups

Since the group was so diverse, the topics raised were necessarily generic, and they had to take a broad view of science education. Still, the recommendations are applicable to all, particularly at the institutional and departmental level. The synergism of science, math and engineering provided a unifying aspect.

One interesting aspect was the perceptions of students. Students have a strong interest in the interrelation between science and society. They want to help resolve society's problems. This led to a discussion about technology and the need to incorporate the effect of technology into the curriculum. Many scientists are poor at relating science to society in a manner that is meaningful to undergraduates.


Responses to the Report of the National Advisory Group:

Dr. John W. Prados, Chair (University of Tennessee)

When developing curricula, institutions and departments are faced with financial and time limitations. If we add something, we must take something else away.

The value system in academia is organized in such a way that most of the support is given to upper-level majors' courses. The least is given to non-majors courses. This should be changed. Delegates to the meeting should take that message back to their chapters and clubs.


Dr. Karel F. Liem (Harvard University)

In the U.S., the educational system is very dynamic. We are always assessing its effectiveness and making changes when problems are perceived. In other countries, education is less dynamic.

When he meets with faculty teaching introductory biology he finds that they feel little incentive to develop excellent courses. There is little financial reward either from the institution or from granting agencies. Thus, faculty who must teach those courses are often demoralized.

How do we combat this? One way is to have NSF visit institutions and determine which are doing a good job of teaching undergraduates, particularly freshmen and sophomores. Those institutions that are not carrying out their responsibility will then suffer diminished funding.

Rewards that can be given to faculty to improve their teaching include teaching-assistants, materials, support to attend conferences on education, and sabbaticals.

Textbooks are another source of concern. They are written by scientists, but then marketing departments make revisions, often to the point of making the material out of tune with what was initially written. To overcome this, perhaps several universities could form a consortium and produce their own texts.

Laboratories are also of great concern. At one time, laboratory instruction was excellent. Now courses either have poorly designed labs run with outdated equipment, or lack labs altogether. This aspect of science education must be improved greatly. Indeed, our teaching labs have fallen behind those of Europe.

We must also enhance the level of student/faculty interaction. That is difficult to do when there are several hundred students in a course. One approach is to invite colleagues to give a seminar on their research, but at a level simple enough for students to understand and profit from it. A side benefit is that faculty can understand what their colleagues are doing.

Faculty should also be persistent when seeking resources from their administrators and should not take "no" for an answer. If administrators continue to deny support, faculty should tell students that they are being "stiffed" by the administrators, and have students call administrators at home. (This proposal generated some lively discussion during the question-and-answer period afterwards).


Dr. Kathleen Smith (Duke University)

Labs having a cookbook format often turn students off. Much can be done to make the lab experience more rewarding. Labs help students learn that science is a process, and helps students master techniques.

We need to better identify the ways that students learn. For example, some students learn well by lecture. Some do not. Another approach is to give students a research experience.

Recruitment of underrepresented groups is another area of concern. The high amount of effort toward this end must continue. Recruitment of students into science must start early. Local Sigma Xi chapters and clubs should find ways to attract students into science. We must overcome the intimidation factor. Scientists can act as mentors. To attract minorities, it is not necessary for the mentor to be the same gender or race as the student; he or she must merely be sensitive to the needs and interests of the individual student.


Dr. William V. D'Antonio (American Sociological Association)

It is important to prepare graduate students to be good teachers. One way to accomplish that goal would be to mandate education courses for graduate students. Some administrators resist that, though.

Secondly, good teaching must be rewarded. The best model is the small liberal arts college.

We should lobby state legislators for more support. They think that we only work twelve hours per week. We also need a national spokesperson to lobby for more support for science education.


Dr. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri (National Science Foundation) "Developing a Will to Enhance the Quality of Undergraduate Science and Math Education"

In education, we often have a tendency to take a retrospective look and be nostalgic as to where we've been. Instead we should develop a vision as to where we would like to be during the next fifty years.

The situation is presently worse that it was during the post-Sputnik era for three reasons. First, the population has increased by fifty million over the past thirty years and therefore we need more teachers at all levels. Second, for the U.S. to maintain preeminence, we need more scientists and engineers. We did it following Sputnik, but now we need even more. Third, and most important, we have a much more advanced society. We need education for non-specialist. The public must deal with complex issues dealing with animal rights, pollution, and deforestation. Our fellow citizens must be scientifically literate.

NSF has a twin mission: to increase the flow of talent into science, and to increase the technological literacy of the public.

A good analogy is sports; there are players and fans. We need scientists and science fans. Both groups need to be rational, not like soccer fanatics in Europe. Another analogy would be that the relationship between scientists and the public should be like an orchestra and its appreciative audience.

There is a great drop-off in the number of people interested in science between high school and the Ph.D. level. We need more Ph.D.'s to participate in big projects like "Star Wars", human genome mapping, and AIDS.

Scientists should demonstrate a higher level of concern for science literacy. Unfortunately, many scientists do a poor job of communicating their science to the public. To compound problems, the high degree of subspecialization forces many scientists to be illiterate in other areas.

A scientifically-literate public is important because the public pays for science. Since students become disinterested in the junior-high level, scientists must find a way to deal with students at that age group. We must also attend to the needs of the non-major, and to do so will involve an examination of curricular offerings to non-majors. Another problem is that we focus on only the best and brightest. Instead, we should also address the bottom half of the population.

In science education, we should aim to: (1) provide students with the best possible preparation for their careers, (2) increase representation among all groups in our society, and (3) support an experimental approach to teaching science. In essence, we need to generate change, both incrementally and comprehensively. Change has several components, including curricular content, staffing, conditions for learning (especially an effective lab experience), governance, and resources. Participants should include all types of colleges and universities, the private sector, states and school systems, parents, granting agencies, human service agencies, and professional societies. Individuals that should be involved include governors, education commissioners of states, and urban school superintendents.

We need national strategies, consisting of clearly defined goals and standards. Such standards should not be set by bureaucrats, but instead by intellectual leaders. Individual standards would focus on student achievement, teacher qualifications, the environment for learning, and the quality and effectiveness of the curriculum. Those standards should be set at each grade level.

There are three major areas of concern: math, health, and the environment. In terms of the first, math cuts across all disciplines and all levels of educations. The book "Everybody Counts" provides a good basis for improving science education. In terms of health education, students should learn about human biology, nutrition, drugs, and even controversial topics like AIDS. Environmental education will provide a good context to teach physical science, biology, earth science and engineering. We must develop excellent curricular offerings for non-scientists, and this will require a substantial change in philosophy by many science faculty.

How does this relate to the National Science Foundation? In terms of funding, education once commanded 40% of the overall budget. Now only 10% is devoted to education. Funds for undergraduate education suffered a particularly severe cut in the early 1980's due to Reagan's policies.

Why should NSF provide funds for education? At one level the reason is the same as for providing funds for research. At a second level, funding for science education enhances national security, economic security, an effective democracy, and it serves to satisfy the curiosity of U.S. citizens.

(At this point he showed a videotape in which several people participating in a commencement at Harvard University were asked why is the earth warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. The respondents included faculty, administrators and students, all in full academic regalia. Each person interviewed responded that the earth is warmer in summer because it is closer to the sun than in the winter. One of the respondents indicated that he had taken several science courses, including one in astronomy.)

When he speaks at meetings like this, he is often accused of preaching to the choir. Instead, he wants the choir to sing in harmony and out loud. We must develop a national will to deal with these problems. We must address and correct the notion of teaching loads and research opportunities.


Dr. Patricia Morse (President Sigma Xi) "Summary Comments"

Science education really depends to a large extent on a one-on-one interaction between scientists and others. We should focus on what we can do to help the situation, and not be hung up on where we are from. We need to relieve teachers of being overloaded and find a way to thank them for their outstanding effort. We must also communicate to our colleagues in humanities that innumeracy and science-phobia are as unacceptable as is general illiteracy.

Respectfully submitted,



Kenneth M. Klemow, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
and Earth & Environmental Science
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
717-824-4651 ext. 4758

12 January 1990


This page posted and maintained by Kenneth M. Klemow, Ph.D., Biology Department, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766. (570) 408-4758, kklemow@wilkes.edu.