John Pilger, Educational Council Chair
The Educational Council enjoyed a successful presence at the Atlanta meeting. Ten papers and posters dealing with science education topics were presented. The panel discussion on "The University of the 21st Century," co-sponsored with the Public Affairs Committee, was enthusiastically received and sparked lively discussion. An extra bonus opportunity made available by one member of the local committee was the presence of Georgia State University's Bio Bus. This self-contained instructional vehicle travels to Atlanta area elementary and middle schools bringing hands-on science education opportunities to children.
At the business meeting, the Educational Council discussed symposia for upcoming meetings. Two proposals have been received; both approved by the SICB program officers for Chicago. One is a symposium on restructuring science curricula and the other will focus on bringing cutting edge biology to the public and the teaching community. We are enthusiastic about these symposia and encourage you to sign up and attend.
The Council also addressed the items proposed in the Task Force Report and established a plan for implementation. The plan begins with prioritization of the initiatives, a task now underway. One of the grand items is revisiting the popular and successful "Science as a Way of Knowing" (SAAWOK) symposium sponsored by the society in the 1980s. In order to determine the mission, scope and form of a SAAWOK 2 program, we have begun to seek individuals who can serve on a steering committee.
You will notice on the spring SICB ballot that we have asked for permission to restructure the Educational Council to include more members so that five subcommittees can be established. We feel that this is necessary if we are to move forward effectively with the Task Force Report agenda items. Of course this also means that we are looking for individuals who are willing to become contributing members of the Council. If you are willing to participate, please send me your contact information and a short description of your present interest in life science education.
If you read President Feder's message in this newsletter, you know that the abstract fee has been abolished for the Chicago meeting. I hope that this will encourage you to send in abstracts for oral or poster presentations dealing with life science education issues. We have a growing group of members who are keenly interested in sharing ideas and learning techniques related to new and innovative teaching methods. Having a group of papers dealing with this common theme allows us to have a dedicated contributed paper session which brings us together for lively discussion. Start planning now to submit an abstract for the Chicago meeting.