LANCASTER, Pa. — The POGIL Project, a national not-for-profit organization that disseminates its unique student-centered pedagogy at the secondary and college levels and provides professional development opportunities for instructors, has named two educators to three-year terms on its Steering Committee. The seven-member POGIL Project Steering Committee provides definition and direction to the goals of The Project. The two educators are Elizabeth (Beff ) Mancini, Cherry Hill HS East (ret.) and Laura Parmentier, Ph.D., Beloit College. They will officially begin their terms at the
2022 POGIL National Meeting in June.
“We are lucky to have two talented and enthusiastic practitioners join our Steering Committee this year,” said Project Executive Director Rick Moog. “They bring a wealth and diversity of experience to this leadership team and will be key in helping us to move forward in achieving the goals of our strategic plan.”
Mancini grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh and graduated from Slippery Rock State College with a B.S. in Health Education. She then received certification in Biology from Glassboro University (now Rowan University) as well as a M.S. in Environmental Studies. She taught Biology and Environmental Studies at Cherry Hill High School East
for her entire teaching career. She has also supervised student teachers through Rowan University. Beff was introduced to POGIL in 2004 and began writing Biology POGIL activities that she used in her classroom until her retirement. She was involved with The Project’s High School POGIL Initiative project, writing and editing biology activities. She has facilitated several workshops over the last 15 years and has continued her involvement with the POGIL community by attending the yearly PNM yearly, as well as working with a team of teachers to rewrite, update and develop new biology activities for the high school collection. She is also a part of The Project’s National Conference to Advance POGIL Practice planning. Beff previously served on the Steering Committee between 2013-15. “It is my honor and privilege to serve the POGIL community on the Steering Committee 2022-2025,” said Mancini. “I am particularly excited about helping to craft the next Project strategic plan as member of this team.”
Parmentier received her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Northland College in 1984 and her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin in 1990. Highly motivating professors at Northland set her on an early path of chemical education. She joined the Chemistry faculty at Beloit College in 1991 where she is currently Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In addition to teaching introductory, organic, and medicinal chemistry, Parmentier has taught a variety of courses on food and health, and she has served as Chair of Beloit’s Health and Society Program. She has taught chemistry and environmental studies at the University of Glasgow as a Visiting Lecturer, and she studied glacial lake sediments for evidence of climate change at Sogn og Fjordane University College in western Norway, where she also had the adventure of traveling to and from work across the fjord by kayak! For the past 30 years, Parmentier has developed, tested, and implemented curricular materials and classroom strategies that focus on student-driven construction of knowledge and inclusive pedagogies. She was active in the NSF- sponsored systemic change initiatives that led to the ChemLinks coalition in the 1990s, and she began using POGIL materials in organic chemistry in 2001. Her extensive workshop leading and presentations in feminist pedagogies in the sciences, which ask the questions “whose voice is not heard here?” and “who is oppressed?” led naturally to a more direct focus on the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and ability identities in the classroom. She worked with The Project’s Addressing Equity Strategic Plan Working Group to launch a book discussion group (Ibram Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, fall of 2020; Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, fall 2021). She is committed to promoting antiracism, equity, inclusivity, and justice. “It is an honor and a privilege to be able to serve The POGIL Project as a member of the Steering Committee,” said Parmentier. “The POGIL community has played a huge role in shaping who I am as an educator, and I have learned so much from my POGIL colleagues’ dedication to and passion for student-centered learning. I am excited to contribute to The POGIL Project in this way! “