Cornell Science Inquiry Partnerships
The Cornell Science Inquiry Partnerships (CSIP) engages secondary students in authentic research and inquiry-based learning related to each fellow’s expertise. From year-long collaborations to short-term assistance with particular topics, the partnerships are tailored to fit fellows’ interests and teachers’ needs. Fellows design activities relate to the nature of science, experimental design, and interpretation and application of research results. After Hurricane Katrina, fellows from sociology and civil engineering led students in debating the extent of rebuilding that should occur in flood-prone coastal cities. Others have led projects involving analysis and interpretation of data, e.g., learning astronomy using NASA data or investigating verbal and nonverbal communication among African elephants using video footage from a fellow’s dissertation research. Fellows report that working in multidisciplinary groups expands their thinking about their research and helps them to re-explore the basics of their fields in a way that allows them to communicate more effectively. Responding to a question about the greatest impact of their work in CSIP, 45% of the fellows reported improved skill in teaching and 36% cited greater awareness of the challenges of teaching. Perhaps more surprisingly, 21% claimed broadened knowledge or perspectives in science, and 15% said that CSIP had made them better scientists. An article, "Integrating teaching and research: A new model for graduate education?" has been accepted by BioScience.