PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century

Heidi Fencl

F21 Class of 1994 Statements Revisited

Heidi Fencl is Associate Professor of Physics at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Question: What are the current challenges you are facing in your professional life?

Answer: The most fun challenge is very similar to what I wrote in 1994: making all of my courses interesting and engaging to students. I hope that my classes are always in a state of change as I find new and exciting ways to keep them vital. Unique, I hope, to this point in time is the challenge of dealing with the effects of state budget cuts to the UW System. The cuts have been particularly hard on the upper level physical science courses as enrollment numbers are one criteria for eliminating courses from the schedule.

Question: What do you view as your most promising options and opportunities for the future?

Answer: I spent five years as director of a system-wide faculty development program in the sciences, and continue to be heavily involved with faculty development, now at the campus level. I am very excited about seeing results of the scholarship of teaching and learning disseminated and integrated into courses across disciplines. .

Question: What will undergraduate STEM be like in 2016, given the urgency of new challenges and opportunities facing our nation?

Answer: I don't know what it *will* be like, but feel that it *should* involve more active and inquiry-based laboratory and research experience in all sciences at every level. So much work has come out of education research in the sciences showing that students learn better (content AND scientific reasoning skills) when classes involve student-active pedagogies including collaborative work and inquiry.