Plenary Speaker Profile (1999-0)
Elaine Seymour
Director of Ethnography and Evaluation Research, Bureau of Sociological Research
University of Colorado
We Know Science Majors are Lost because of Poor Teaching, but Why do they Resist our Efforts to Improve their Learning Experienc

From her studies of science, mathematics, and engineering (SME) persistence and attrition, the speaker outlines the role of "poor teaching" in the loss of actual and potential SME undergraduates, and the dis-satisfactions of seniors remaining in these majors. From data gathered in her current role as formative evaluator of two NSF-funded consortia for improvement of undergraduate chemistry, she considers the causes of undergraduate resistance to active learning methods that are intended to increase comprehension, retention and transfer of learning, and appreciation for the discipline and its applications.

Elaine Seymour is the Director of Ethnography and Evaluation Research, Bureau of Sociological Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, a position she has held since 1989. She received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Colorado, an M.A. in Education from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and a B.A. with Honors in Economics and Political Science from Keele University, England. Her academic honors include Doctoral Fellowships from the National Institute of Mental Health and the University of Colorado, Teaching Excellence Awards, and a Fulbright Teaching Scholarship. Seymour's recent work in assessment includes the development of a prototype Field-Tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG)--a web-site of classroom assessment tools for science, mathematics and engineering faculty engaged in pedagogical innovation, and the development of a Student Assessment of their Learning Gains classroom evaluation instrument.