Published: March 7, 2006

Nobel laureate and Distinguished Professor Carl Wieman of the University of Colorado at Boulder will testify March 15 before the U.S. House Science Committee in Washington, D.C., on the importance of undergraduate science education and how to improve it.

Also testifying at the 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. hearing will be Elaine Seymour, the recently retired director of Ethnography and Evaluation Research at CU-Boulder and co-author of "Talking About Leaving: Why Undergraduates Leave the Sciences" and "Partners in Innovation: Teaching Assistants in College Science Courses." The hearing will be held in room 2318 of the Rayburn Building.

Other invited members of the five-member panel will include Daniel Goroff, vice president and dean of faculty at Harvey Mudd College in California, and John Burris, president of Beloit College in Wisconsin. The fifth panelist had not yet been selected.

Wieman is intensively involved in efforts to improve U.S. science education through his position as chair of the National Board on Science Education and founder of the Center for Science Education at CU-Boulder. Wieman received the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics, is a President's Teaching Scholar and was named 2004 U.S. Professor of the Year by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Seymour's influential 1997 book examines why 40 percent to 60 percent of undergraduate students who initially choose to study science, mathematics or engineering switch into nonscience majors before graduation. The seven-campus study identified poor teaching as the biggest single factor in students' decisions to switch fields.

She also will address her research group's work on factors that determine quality and access in undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.