Breakout session C:
Foundations of Scientific Inquiry: General Education in Math and Science...

Breakout session C
Foundations of Scientific Inquiry: General Education in Mathematics and Science at New York University

Saturday, November 8, 2003
3:30 - 4:45 pm

Terry Harrison, Professor of Anthropology; Associate Chair, Department of Anthropology- New York University
Neville R. Kallenbach, Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry- New York University
Eileen Rodriguez, Academic Coordinator, Quantitative Reasoning- New York University

Trace Jordan, Assistant Director, Morse Academic Plan, College of Arts and Sciences- New York University

One of the challenges of higher education is to equip all undergraduate students with the insight to make important personal and societal decisions that involve an assessment of mathematical or scientific information. New York University has confronted this challenge by establishing a sequence of three courses called the Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (FSI). This sequence was established in 1995 as a central component of the Morse Academic Plan, the new general education curriculum of NYU's College of Arts and Science. In the subsequent eight years the FSI sequence has evolved and expanded to become a nationally prominent general educational program that promotes quantitative and scientific literacy for students who are not majoring in these subjects.

This workshop session will be an interactive panel discussion with three NYU faculty members who have extensive teaching and administrative experience within the FSI sequence. In addition to highlighting our successes, we will also address several pedagogical and administrative challenges that remain to be overcome. Some of the key issues to be discussed include:

  • How do faculty successfully stimulate student interest in mathematics and science?
  • How do we define and assess quantitative and scientific literacy?
  • What is the role of a laboratory experience in science learning?
  • How can undergraduate general education be synergistically connected to the mission of the research university?
  • What are the incentives and support structures required to recruit and retain our most outstanding faculty for general education courses?