CASE STUDIES are stories with an educational message. They have been used as parables and cautionary tales for centuries, yet their formal use in the science classroom is recent. So recent, in fact, that until the early 1990s the case study literature in science was virtually non-existent. This has begun to change as more and more faculty are realizing the inadequacies of the lecture method and are seeking novel methods of instruction. Enter the case study, a method imported from business, law, and medical schools.
Here we have listed articles, books, and bibliographies to the case study literature to give you a sample of recent attempts to introduce the case method into the science classroom and a glimpse of its potential as seen through the eyes of some of its most ardent advocates.
One of our goals is to build a community of case study teachers in science and engineering. Our directory lists all our case authors as well as case method practitioners (many of them trained by us) teaching in high school, community college, and university settings.
What happens in classes that use case study teaching? Do students learn more in case-based science courses? Are they able to make more connections among concepts? Can they apply these concepts to real-life situations? These are some of the questions we are exploring as we try to assess the case method and its impact.
Clyde F. Herreid
Trained as a biologist and physiological ecologist with postdoctoral experience in marine biology, Kipp Herreid has been using case teaching methods for over 20 years. To date, he has received over $2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Pew Charitable Trusts, and the National Science Foundation to further the development and dissemination of case-based teaching in science in the U.S. and abroad. Herreid received his PhD in Zoology and Entomology from the Pennsylvania State University.
Nancy A. Schiller
Nancy Schiller oversees the development and maintenance of the Center’s website and is Head of the Editorial Board for the Center’s case collection. She has published cases in evolutionary biology and, with colleague Kipp Herreid, guest-edited an annual special case studies issue of the Journal of College Science Teaching from 2000-2007. She has served as Co-PI on a number of science education grants funded by the National Science Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Her MS in Library Studies is from Columbia University.
Business Manager / Workshop Coordinator
In addition to being the central point of contact for the Center and managing its day-to-day and financial operations, Carolyn Wright coordinates the annual summer workshop and fall conference, serves as our grants administrator, and works with case authors and other Center staff to track case manuscripts as they move through review, revision, and publication on our website. Wright received her MBA from the University at Buffalo.
Web Manager / Permissions Agent
Ky Herreid is responsible for preparing the case studies we accept for publication on our website. In addition, he acts as our permissions agent, reviewing and processing requests to reuse and reprint our copyright cases. Ky received his BA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College and completed doctoral coursework in Philosophy at the University at Buffalo.