Mission & Purpose
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THE ACS REFORM OF INTRODUCTORY SCIENCE
In this country, a major issue confronting science education is not one of an inadequate supply of well-trained scientists and engineers, but rather of scientific literacy, or illiteracy, of non-scientists. It has been documented that the general American populace, including college graduates, has a very poor understanding of science, which impedes discernment of the role science plays in national and international policy, as well as in personal and business pursuits. Given the impact of science on everyday life, it is imperative to address the issue of science literacy for non-science majors.
The ACS member institutions are committed to providing a broad based core curriculum that will equip students for their optimal professional and personal development. A solid science background is an integral part of this preparation, and a liberal arts education would be short-changed and undermined without it.
Since the targeted students in the ACS Science Reform program are not majoring in science, we are not looking for specialized science expertise to be one of the outcomes. The students in our lens are not likely to enter graduate school and seek masters and doctoral degrees in any of the sciences. Nor are they likely to seek scientific jobs immediately after college. Rather, the students on whom we are focusing may proceed to graduate or professional schools in other disciplines or will follow a broad range of career paths. While none of these paths may primarily emphasize scientific understanding, science is likely to come into play in a myriad of ways.
Science may enable a business person to better understand his/her product, the scientific underpinnings of that product and the environment in which the product may be grown, manufactured, and/or used. A basic understanding of science could help an attorney deal with a case that has scientific implications, equipping the attorney to fully comprehend what happened in the circumstance at hand and evaluate the nature and impact of scientific evidence and testimony. The perspectives of any K-12 teacher can be widened by an acquaintance with science. For instance, a social studies teacher or a political scientist could derive significant benefit by applying basic scientific understanding to issues of national security that involve nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare. In these areas, as in others, being literate and fluent in science strengthens one’s professional capabilities and enables our graduates to serve as empowered citizens as they are called upon to evaluate a vast array of complicated issues facing society at large. The college/university graduate who is literate and fluent in science will be able to articulate basic key scientific principles, identify major sources of scientific information, access useful information and be able to distinguish between authentic and bogus notions about science.
It is important that our students are able to:
While this ACS initiative focuses primarily on faculty, students and courses in the natural sciences, collaboration with faculty in other departments is encouraged.
Browse the links, resources, and opportunities contained within these web pages. We trust you will find something of interest and of value for your work. For more information on this program or any of its related activities, contact email@example.com.
This ACS program is supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles
|This page updated on 6/26/07|
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