PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century

Gregory J. Brust

F21 Class of 2004 Statement

Gregory Brust is Assistant Professor of Math, Science and Technology at Mount Saint Mary College.

Science is a process. For students to learn science and understand scientific work, they must participate in the processes of science. Science courses, therefore, should be structured around this model. Rather than simply presenting the material to the students in the form of a lecture, concepts should be introduced as questions, thus allowing students to discover the answers to these questions themselves. By being actively involved in the process of science, students develop a better understanding of the scientific pursuit and retain the knowledge more efficiently.

Modern science is also inherently interdisciplinary, Traditional fields of science are not individually as relevant because much of the current research is happening at the interface between these traditional fields. This change in the way scientists study our surroundings is a reflection of the complex processes that govern our world. Scientists and students alike should have an appreciation of how all of the traditional fields of science are interrelated in order to develop a more accurate understanding of the world around us.

In order to achieve this vision of science education, some changes must occur. Instructors must learn to teach in a way they may never have experienced themselves. Students must retrain themselves to learn in a new way. School administrators must understand that while the amount of content students will learn may decrease, their ability to “do science” will be greatly improved.

The general public tends to be apprehensive about science. Many find the subject boring, difficult, or too abstract for their world view. In reality, the opposite is true. Science is exciting, fun, and important in all aspects of our lives. With the implementation of the changes discussed above, more students will come to understand and enjoy science, and with better understanding, comes better citizens, and better scientists.