University hosts second symposium on university-level science teaching

Building on the success of last year's inaugural event, Johns Hopkins University will again host the Symposium on Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the Sciences. The daylong Gateway Sciences Initiative (GSI) symposium will be held Thursday, Jan. 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Hodson Hall on the university's Homewood campus in Baltimore.

The goal of the GSI, which was initiated by the university's Office of the Provost, is to enrich the quality of teaching and learning in courses that serve as entry points ("gateways") or provide critical introductory material for undergraduate or graduate study in the natural, behavioral, and medical sciences, in engineering, and quantitative areas of study. Last year's event drew more than 400 faculty, staff, and students for presentations, discussions and workshops on improving teaching and learning in the STEM disciplines. Information and recordings from the 2012 program can be found [here].(

This year's keynote presenters include Daphne Koller, cofounder of Coursera and professor of Computer Science at Stanford University; Robin Wright, associate dean and professor of biology at the University of Minnesota; and William Durden, president of Dickinson College. In addition to the featured presenters, faculty and staff from Johns Hopkins University will report on the results of their initial gateway science innovation projects, touching on a range of topics that include online education's impact on face-to-face instruction, active learning as applied to the gateway sciences, and assessing student learning outcomes.

"Student excitement for and mastery of gateway science is key to our intellectual and economic future," said Jonathan Bagger, interim provost and Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Physics and Astronomy in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. "True to our roots as a research university, Johns Hopkins faculty are developing and testing new methods for enhancing student success."

Johns Hopkins, the first U.S. research university and a pioneer in science and medical education since 1876, is implementing the Gateway Sciences Initiative to enhance and transform the foundation courses that science, engineering and health professions students must take to prepare for advanced, specialized study.

For more information on the Gateway Sciences Initiative, visit the initiative's webpage.

For additional information on the January 17 symposium program, including a listing of presenters and a schedule for the day, see the website.