The Center for Learning, Education, and Research in the Sciences


CLEAR Newsletter Fall 2015          CLEAR Newsletter Fall 2014

Quantitative Skills Drop-In Tutoring

Oberlin Workshop and Learning Sessions

Akin to the Writing Center, the QS Center offers evening drop-in evening hours where peer tutors lend fellow students a hand with a variety of quantitative skills including math and software help across the curriculum. Located in Mudd, first floor, and in the Science Library.  Experienced and trained peer-leaders lead fun, hands-on evening workshops, OWLS sessions, to strengthen student understanding of lecture content in a number of courses in math and the natural sciences.

Resources for Faculty and Staff


CLEAR offers resources for faculty and staff in strengthening quantitative and interdisciplinary teaching for all students, including workshops and literature. We also facilitate partnerships between departments, programs and offices across campus. CLEAR programs events throughout the year, such as the Lab Crawl and the Roots and STEM series, as well as co-sponsors and promotes events orgainized by every part of the campus community.

Oberlin College is a recognized leader in educating undergraduate scientists. Since 1920, more Oberlin graduates have earned PhDs in the sciences and engineering than have graduates of any other liberal arts college in America. The Center for Learning, Education and Research in the Sciences (CLEAR) is an interdepartmental resource for faculty and students dedicated to expanding on this tradition of leadership in science education at Oberlin College.

Science center


Oberlin College was awarded a grant of $800,000 in 2012 by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to support the natural sciences and strengthen student learning of math and quantitative skills to meet the demands of interdisciplinary research. With the grant, Oberlin established the Center for Learning, Education, and Research in the Sciences (CLEAR). The Center, akin to the Writing Center, aims to help natural science students strengthen their understanding of quantitative and formal reasoning skills by providing peer support for basics such as math and graphs, and advanced skills, such as modeling, which are common in different disciplines.

The center has played a critical role in meeting the college's strategic goal of integrating quantitative analysis and data-informed reasoning into all majors and program at Oberlin. The Center serves this goal by providing an ongoing source of support for faculty development, curriculum development, and quantitative and formal reasoning programming essential to sustaining a current and vital curriculum for students to acquire the ability to use tools, algorithms, or strategies to solve problems, make decisions, or evaluate evidence. Such skills are required in virtually all academic fields, are used in almost every profession, and are necessary for decision-making in everyday life.

More recently, Oberlin College became one of 24 colleges and universities nationwide awarded a $1 million grant through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)'s Inclusive Excellence initiative. The goal of Oberlin's project is to promote persistence and success of all students in STEM fields by changing the ways the science community is built and science curriculum is delivered. Building on a series of listening sessions that brought together 120 individuals from 42 offices and departments to visualize an enhanced model for inclusion, faculty and staff from across the campus will form learning communities to advance inclusive excellence. Departmental teams will extend these efforts, implementing revised curricula focusing on introductory courses, and a new post-baccalaureate STEM fellow will enhance the STEM climate and link curricular and co-curricular activities. 

Vision Statement

To advance Oberlin's historic role in inclusion by enhancing the climate for and success of a diverse student population in STEM


The Center for Learning, Education, and Research in the Sciences aims to further strengthen the college's contribution to educating future leaders in STEM (science technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. The college recognizes the growing importance of STEM fields in every aspect of contemporary life and remains strong in its belief that a liberal arts education is critical to the success of STEM leaders. To this aim, the center is dedicated to working with existing campus offices and departments–particularly the Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence, the Office of Undergraduate Research, Student Academic Services, the Office of Communications, all of the natural sciences departments and programs, the Bonner Center for Service and Learning, and the Offices of the Deans and the President–in order to:

  • Enhance the quantitative and scientific problem-solving skills of undergraduate STEM majors through faculty curricular development, workshops, and student peer-led activities;
  • Foster interdisciplinary connections and transformative learning approaches in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, and psychology, at all levels of the curriculum;
  • Facilitate recruitment and training of students as peer-mentors, tutors, and workshop leaders;
  • Provide resources for students and faculty who are learning, teaching, or studying in the STEM fields;
  • Strengthen and expand on Oberlin's tradition of leadership in science education;
  • Catalyze greater interactions between the science departments and all the departments and programs across the campus of Oberlin College;
  • Support enhanced summer programming for all science research students;
  • Raise the profile and provide recognition for research conducted by Oberlin students and faculty in the sciences.


  • Student and faculty workshops;
  • Drop-in tutoring and OWLS peer mentoring;
  • Resource center for students and faculty interested in teaching, learning, or studying topics in the natural sciences or with Quantitative and Formal Reasoning (QFR) components;
  • Assessment of first-year students' quantitative literacy;
  • Support for faculty curricular development and programming;
  • Co-sponsored programming/distribution of programming funds;
  • Distribution of curriculum development funds.

Inclusive Excellence Learning Communities

Please join one of our Inclusive Excellence Learning Communities!

Our 2017 Inclusive Excellence grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) will support our aim to advance Oberlin's historic role in inclusion by enhancing the climate for and success of a diverse student population in STEM. Though the focus is on STEM fields, the advances we make will benefit all students. All employees of Oberlin College and Conservatory are therefore encouraged to join.

Below are the 7 learning communities that emerged from initial meetings in September 2017:

  1. Building student community and sense of belonging
  2. Collaborations and connections within Oberlin
  3. Connecting to alumni and town/community
  4. Help and incentives towards inclusive practices
  5. Advising and capturing student interest
  6. Teaching and classroom practices
  7. Listening to students

For access to the lists or to be added to them, please contact

Administrative Structure

2017 Grant

HHMI Program Director, Marta Laskowski
Departments: Biology, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Computer Science, Environmental StudiesGeology, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology

Questions or comments about this website? Send us a message.