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Annual Meeting Workshops  

1. Active and Inquiry-Based Learning Strategies for Field and Classroom Educators
In this workshop, participants will engage with concepts and strategies for active and
inquiry-based learning as additions to their educator toolboxes. Active and inquiry-based
education strategies have a growing body of evidence for strong learning outcomes for
audiences across ages and socioeconomic categories. Participants will work through example
activities dissected out to show how the activity was developed, including the use of knowledge
scaffolding and problem-based learning. Guided and independent breakout sessions will help
participants connect workshop content to their respective tasks and environments as educators.
In this environment, science education practitioners will have a chance to learn, develop,
network, and exchange ideas and experiences to their collective benefit. We will also be
providing a printed workbook to all participants, laying out systems of content development
under these principles, and how to apply them in different formal and informal education

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Venue: Duke Energy Convention Center, Room 263
Cost: $15 per person
Minimum number of participants: 12
Maximum number of participants: 40

Materials provided: Program workbook

David Levering
Sternberg Museum of Natural History
Hays, KS, USA

Catherine Sartin
FHSU Department of Biological Sciences
Hays, KS, USA

Marjean Cone
U. Illinois Department of Geology
Urbana, IL, USA

2. Filling the Expectation Gap: Paleontologists as Teaching Professors—Professional Development for Paleontologists Working Outside of Research-Intensive Universities.
Purpose and intended outcome: Many graduate students in vertebrate paleontology are primarily trained to be employed in museums or as tenure-track faculty at research-intensive universities. However, because these positions are very rare, paleontologists often work in teaching-intensive positions and the realities of those positions do not necessarily match expectations and formal training in graduate school. The goal of this workshop is to identify the variety of challenges encountered by paleontologists at institutions other than “R1s” and provide resources, strategies, and support for successfully navigating those challenges.

Workshop activities aim to:

  1. Identify a variety of professional positions that paleontologists are qualified for and hold, including faculty at community colleges and smaller, teaching-intensive colleges and universities. We will share strategies for participants to prepare themselves for teaching-intensive careers.
  2. Identify pertinent research on learning, available teaching resources and supports, and best practice teaching strategies that promote effective learning in biology and geology courses.
  3. Provide opportunities for participants to plan a new course or modify a previously-taught course in line with best practices, including hybrid and online teaching and teaching science literacy to non-science students.
  4. Discuss strategies for time management for pre-tenure faculty when maintaining a substantial teaching and service load—with the goal of maintaining work-life balance.
  5. Share strategies to maintain professional activities and a research agenda in settings that are very different from our graduate programs.
  6. Perpetuate a network of faculty in similar positions who can provide mentorship and peer support.

This workshop will be of interest to those (1) who have new or developing teaching duties; (2) who are getting ready to navigate the post-doctoral and early career landscape; and (3) to mentors seeking to support graduate students in preparation for these careers.

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 9:00AM - 4:00 PM
Venue: Duke Energy Convention Center, Room 233
Cost: $80
Minimum number of participants: 10
Maximum number of participants: 30

Materials provided: Lunch and workshop handouts

Andrea Bair
Assistant Professor of Geology
Delta College
1961 Delta Rd.
University Center, MI 48710

Allison Beck
Associate Professor of Biology
Black Hawk College
6600 34th Avenue
Moline, IL  61265
(309) 796-5240

Eric Dewar
Associate Professor of Biology
Suffolk University
8 Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 994-6465

3. Fundamentals of Federal Paleontology
This workshop will provide an opportunity for members of the vertebrate paleontology community to gain information on how to apply and interview for federal paleontology jobs available in the United States. At the conclusion of the workshop participants will have a better understanding of the kinds of jobs to apply for, what to expect, and how to be prepared. We hope that this workshop will assist qualified applicants to become more competitive when applying for federal employment. Additionally, workshop participants will have a better understanding of management of vertebrate fossils on federal lands; including how to successfully apply for paleontological research and collection permits, how to potentially become involved with federal initiated needs for conservation efforts pertaining to vertebrate paleontological resources, and through deeper understanding an increased ability to engage in nationally debated topics concerning paleontological resources on federal lands.

We envision a morning of information regarding law, policy and regulations, followed by hands on information regarding how to navigate the hiring process, understanding what each job series entails. The afternoon would include information on differences between agency missions and how this translates to different jobs, as well as time for mock interviews and round table discussion with agency representatives.

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Venue: Duke Energy Convention Center, Room 232
Cost: Free
Minimum number of participants: 5
Maximum number of participants: 90 (not including leaders)

ReBecca Hunt-Foster, Dinosaur National Monument,, 435- 781-7703
Vince Santucci, National Park Service,, 202-513- 7186
Scott Foss, Bureau of Land Management,, 202-912-7253
Bruce Schumacher, Forest Service,, 303-275- 5381

4. Using Evidence-Based Practices to Enhance Your Skills at Engaging the Public in Informal Learning Environments
This three hour workshop will include several short activities designed to increase your abilities to effectively engage public audiences in informal learning environments. The activities will focus on identifying the relevance of your research and potential misconceptions public audiences might have about it, avoiding the use of jargon words, using analogies for difficult concepts, and role-playing visitor interaction scenarios to identify the elements of successful visitor interactions. You will also receive several documents as handouts at the end of the workshop with evidence-based strategies for effective public engagement. Many of these strategies and approaches are also useful for scholarly and non-scholarly writing, including grant proposals, and communicating with other audiences such as policy makers.

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Venue: Duke Energy Convention Center, Room 264
Cost: FREE
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Maximum Number of Participants: 50

Materials provided: Public engagement best practices handouts

Recommended Items to Bring:
Something to write with and something to write on (to take notes for yourself) - preferably analog, but digital (like a laptop) also permitted.

Dr. Briana Pobiner
Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, MRC 112
Washington DC 20013
(202) 7633-1985

5. Movement and Paleontology: Integrating Movement Arts to Explore and Communicate Paleontology
Movement is a fundamental part of the biological world and at the core of many art forms. Movement arts (e.g. dance, improvisation, circus, etc.) are especially well-suited for science outreach and education in diverse communities, due to their kinesthetic and deeply communicative nature. Movement arts can help facilitate a deeper connection to scientific ideas and concepts, while building one’s physical empowerment. In this workshop participants will explore how movement arts can benefit professional science preparation and science communication at all levels (K-12, undergraduate, graduate), and develop strategies for integrating movement exercises into course modules and outreach activities. We will draw from dance-biology courses and projects previously developed by the organizers and others, including Prehistoric Body Theater, Choreographing Genomics, and a Circus-Science show exploring the evolution of avian flight. Ultimately these integrative techniques have the power to span disciplines and cultures, and can help alleviate many of the social challenges related to gender, race, and mental health currently facing STEM fields.

In this interactive workshop, participants will engage in various forms of movement arts focused on using the human form to tell science- and research-based stories, culminating in a showcase of what groups have created throughout the workshop. After a brief interactive discussion and overview, we will explore a series of movement exercises and techniques. We will then work in groups to create original material using these techniques with specific paleontology foci, which will be video recorded and published online. Participants will gain specific tools valuable for use in classrooms and outreach venues and will be better prepared to pursue the integration of art and science at many levels. Additionally, participants will gain some fresh new moves to try out at the SVP afterparty.

This workshop is produced in partnership with the SVP Education and Outreach Committee.

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Venue: Duke Energy Convention Center, Room 262
Cost: $15
Minimum Number of Participants: 7
Maximum Number of Participants: 35
What to Bring: Participants will need to wear comfortable clothing they can move in. No previous dance or movement experience is required. Come with a creative and open mind!

Hila Tzipora Chase
PhD Candidate, Tobalske Lab
University Of Montana
32 Campus Drive, Missoula MT 59812

6. Screening of the New Documentary, We Believe in Dinosaurs
Following an introduction by the film’s director, participants will view the recent award-winning documentary, We Believe in Dinosaurs, followed by a panel discussion with the director, a featured geologist, and scientists knowledgeable about Kentucky’s Creation Museum.

Most paleontologists are aware of attacks on the science and teaching of evolutionary biology. "Young Earth" creationists have constructed a museum and a “replica” of Noah’s Ark in the Cincinnati region.  Both of these venues are at odds with science, science education, and the values of SVP. The film documents the local controversy in which the Ark was constructed with the aid of tax monies and other support from state, county, and local governments. A showing at SVP will be of interest to and educational for the membership. Many members may not be aware of the level of public support for creationism or of the level of financial and government support the creationist movement has. As some members might wish independently to visit these creationist venues while in the region, the film may serve as either an introduction or an alternative, as scientists work to counter their anti-evolution, anti-science agendas.

Here is a description of the film by the filmmakers:       
Built to demonstrate that the Bible is scientifically and historically accurate, an enormous “life-size” wooden ark takes shape in rural Williamstown, Kentucky. Lead designer Doug Henderson and his team of talented sculptors labor for months crafting lifelike animals for the project. Among their creations are dinosaurs, which they believe sailed with Noah and his family. “They probably took juveniles,” he says, explaining how the enormous animals would have fit on the boat. To Doug it doesn’t matter that mainstream science puts the age of the Earth at 4.5 billion years. Ph.D. “creation scientists” at the Ark’s parent organization, Answers In Genesis, maintain that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and that evolution is the work of atheists. Doug believes them.

The creationist vision disturbs Dan Phelps, a Kentucky state geologist. For years, Dan has fought against Answers In Genesis’s “non-science” through op-eds and letters to the editor. When he discovers that the Ark will receive tax incentives despite discriminatory hiring practices, he ramps up his fight. A local Baptist minister also protests the incentives, intensifying the struggle over the American principle of the separation of church and state.

David MacMillan, a 26-year-old former creationist, has a different perspective on the Ark. A charter member of Answers In Genesis’s Creation Museum in his youth, he now writes articles and blog posts that examine the creationist mindset. He hopes his writings help creationists hear a different message: that evolution is not the work of the devil, and creationism is not the only way to understand the world.

In tiny Williamstown, home to the Ark, residents hold their breath hoping the attraction will revive their economically depressed town. Showing off Elmer’s, her newly opened store and café, Megan McKamey dreams that maybe the Ark could help Williamstown become the next Branson, Missouri or Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

As the giant wooden structure rises atop Kentucky’s rolling hills, Dan, David and Doug join a growing number of protestors, creationist supporters and Williamstown hopefuls in preparation for the Ark’s dramatic opening day.

Shot over the course of four years, We Believe In Dinosaurs follows the Ark from blueprints to opening to aftermath, and tells the story of the troubling relationship between science and religion in the United States.

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM (introduction 10 minutes, film 98 minutes, panel Q&A discussion 30 minutes+).
Venue: Duke Energy Convention Center, Room 264
Cost: $30 per person
Minimum number of participants: 30
Maximum number of participants: 75
Materials provided: DVD of the documentary, one page informational flyer

Leaders and Panel:
Daniel Phelps
Kentucky Paleontological Society
Lexington Kentucky

Clayton Brown, Director 137 Films
Professor of Film
Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois

Dr. William Trollinger, Professor of History
History Dept./Religious Studies Dept.
University of Dayton
Dayton, Ohio

Dr. Susan Trollinger, Professor of English
English Dept.
University of Dayton
Dayton, Ohio

Dr. Philp Senter
Department of Biological and Forensic Sciences
Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville, North Carolina

7. Disseminating Fossil Data: An Introduction to the Digitization of Paleontology Collections
In this workshop participants will be educated on the importance of digitizing paleontology collections, and obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to introduce or enhance a digitization program at their home institution.
Specimens and their associated data allow us to reconstruct the history of life on Earth, but there is a “digitization bottleneck” that drastically limits public and professional access to scientific information contained in the paleontological collections in various institutions around the world.  The data associated with paleontological collections – geographic location, stratigraphic position and range, lithologic descriptions, environment/habitat indicators, collector information, field notes, etc. – is a valuable resource for all studies concerning paleontology and Earth history.  This data, often sequestered in paleontological collections, is of little use unless made readily available for the scientific community.  Of the over one billion cataloged specimens in U.S. collections alone, it is estimated that only 10% of them are available online.  As a consequence, the information accompanying the physical paleontological collections is underutilized, the usefulness of collections data in paleontological research remains limited, and the overall importance of the collections is under-appreciated.

Through this workshop, participants will be educated on the skills and knowledge necessary to introduce or enhance a digitization program at their home institution.  Workshop topics will include:

  1. a discussion of the Cincinnati Museum Center’s digitization procedure
  2. an overview of iDigBio and other large-scale digitization efforts
  3. strategies for organizing and launching a digitization program
  4. an examination of digitization modules and tasks
  5. strategies for developing effective workflows and protocols for paleo digitization
  6. strategies for evaluating hardware and software, including database management systems
  7. procedures for image and data capture tailored to paleontology specimens
  8. a paleo-focused introduction to georeferencing techniques
  9. strategies for moving digitized data to the internet via iDigBio and other data aggregators. 

As much as practicable, workshop sessions will focus on practical application and demonstration.
Curators and collections managers are especially encouraged, but all are welcome.

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Venue:  Cincinnati Museum Center Paleontology Collections at the Geier Collections & Research Center, 760 W. 5th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45203.
Transportation:  No transportation will be provided.  The Geier Collections & Research Center is located a short driving distance (1 mile) from both the Duke Energy Convention Center and the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Cost:  $ 25.00 (includes workshop handbook)
Minimum number of participants:  5
Maximum number of participants:  20
Recommended clothing and items to bring:  Notebook and pen/pencil.  Laptop (if desired).

Brenda Hunda, Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology
Cincinnati Museum Center
Geier Collections and Research Center
760 W. 5th Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203
Office: +1-513-455-7160