Creativity: a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
-Arthur Koestler, author, 1905-1983
To transform the teaching of science at Southwestern University to incorporate the process of discovery at all levels and to generate a creative, accomplished, and diverse pool of future scientists.
We intend to achieve our mission through the following means:
- Incorporating an inquiry-based approach to teaching science and math at all curricular levels
- Significantly expanding undergraduate research opportunities for all science students
- Creating an inclusive and diverse scientific community of students and faculty.
- Transform all introductory science and math courses using inquiry-based learning.
- Implement an inquiry-based laboratory format within Organic Chemistry to address student retention and success within one of the most important “gateway courses” in the sciences.
- Develop and integrate inquiry-based components and more advanced project-based experiments into upper-level science and math courses.
- Build a student-faculty collaborative research program, SCOPE, involving all NSD departments and programs.
- Incorporate inquiry-based community outreach efforts across all NSD disciplines.
- Create an inclusive and diverse science community through peer mentoring, active-learning strategies in the classroom and laboratory, and ongoing programming for students and faculty.
Who We Are
The Departments participating in the Inquiry Initiative are:
- Animal Behavior
- Chemistry & Biochemistry
- Mathematics & Computer Science
The HHMI-Southwestern Inquiry Initiative Steering Committee includes:
- Emily Niemeyer, Program Co-Director, Professor of Chemistry
- Maha Zewail-Foote, Program Co-Director, Associate Professor of Chemistry
- Fay Guarraci, Associate Professor of Psychology
- Ben Pierce, Professor of Biology
- Scott McLean, Professor of Kinesiology
- Kendall Richards, Professor of Mathematics
- Mark Bottorff, Associate Professor of Physics
- Larkin Tom, Director of University Relations-Foundation Relations
- John McCann, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Academic Assessment
- Alexis Kropf, Program Coordinator
How It All Began
In 2008, Southwestern’s Natural Science Division – consisting of biology, chemistry and biochemistry, physics, math and computer science, kinesiology, and the animal behavior program – began a series of discussions to envision how science education will be transformed at our institution in the coming decades. These discussions provided the conceptual framework for the design of Southwestern’s new science facility, which is currently well into the fundraising stage. The project will result in a complete renovation and expansion of our existing building to bring all NSD faculty and students together in a projected 103,000 square feet of classrooms, offices, seminar rooms, and laboratories.
Faculty have produced plans that promote scientific community, emphasizing the integration of teaching and research while fostering collaboration and cooperation among NSD departments. Our planning for the new science center helped us articulate our strengths as teachers and scholars and define how we can best prepare science graduates who can meet the challenges of the future.
We aspire to prepare curious and creative science graduates who can practice science effectively in multicultural environments, communicate effectively about science with diverse audiences, and take their places as responsible and engaged members of society.