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Dominican hosted neuroscience conference

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dominican hosted the 2017 Faculty for Undergraduate Workshop (FUN) last week for university faculty teaching neuroscience at the undergraduate level. This three-day workshop, which winded up on Sunday, July 30, brought to campus 125 scientists from across the country. The conference theme was inclusiveness—in pedagogy and in undergraduate research mentorship.​ Bob and Irina Calin-Jageman co-chaired the conference organizing committee and have been working on it for more than three years. 

Bob led pre-conference workshops designed to teach faculty how to incorporate a lab exercise, using a software program he developed, in classrooms at their home institutions. The program shows teachers--and their students--how to design a "brain" for a little robot. By manipulating neural pathways, the brain can direct the robot to do things like seek liight or run when touched. Through the exercise, teachers and their students learned a lot about how the human brain works. The exercise can be tailored to many levels, as evidenced by the demo Bob did for third-graders at Irving School in Oak Park. 

Conference topics included diversity and inclusiveness at the university level, getting students to do the reading, cutting costs in the teaching lab, science advocacy, faculty members as agents of changing, and fostering diversity and inclusivity.

​The conference was covered by the local Wednesday Journal, making the front page of the paper. The paper also included a video of the conference and interview with Bob Calin-Jageman. You can read the article here.

In a separate opinion piece, the publisher of the paper, in referring to the conference, applauded Dominican for its entrepreneurial spirit.

"Sometimes we take Dominican for granted. It has been here a long time...and its campus always appears lovely and gracious. But this school has an entrpreneurial bent and a spirit of social justice that are invigorating and soul-stirring," wrote Dan Haley. You can read his piece here.

Congratulations to Bob and Irina Calin-Jageman for organizing a great conference, which has won accolades from participants--as well as the press!