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2012 Science Education Newsletter

Science Education faculty

Welcome to another academic year! 2011-2012 was a busy and productive year for our faculty and students. It was our first year in the Hall of Science and we love our new home. Let us know if you are in the area and want a tour. As you will see from the various articles about programs and projects, we have been engaged in a variety of activities which support and research science teaching and learning at all levels. Our faculty continue to have close ties with fellow researchers and the preK-12 community. A quick look at the productivity report will show just how much we've accomplished this past year. Faculty have published, presented, mentored graduate students and won awards. Susan Gomez-Zwiep was selected as a Pretty Darn Good Professor by the College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics. Bill Straits & Bill Ritz have continued to expand their work with early learners in the Head Start on Science program. At the other end of the age spectrum, Jim Kisiel is working with the Physics Department to help study how on-line social homework is used in introductory college physics. Other projects we've been involved in have helped laid-off elementary teachers earn a middle school science credential, provide professional development to elementary teachers (Toyota ISSI project and CPEC grants), and help better prepare secondary teachers (Noyce and PhysTEC). A new project, funded by the S.D. Bechtel Foundation, in collaboration with the College of Education will develop a school-based elementary teacher preparation program with a STEM focus. This year we have our first ever visiting scholar, Yilmaz Kara, from Turkey. Lots going on for such a small department!

A true highlight of the year is always graduation. This year we had 15 master's students complete their program and "walk" at graduation. We are excited to have had so many of them remain active in the department with five of them working for the department on various projects. Our students and alumni continue to be active in California Science Teachers Association and other professional organizations. Three grad students presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Science Teacher Educators, and several presented at CSTA.

While the year ahead is filled with political and financial uncertainties, we continue to move forward, excited about the possibilities ahead. There are new science standards for California on the horizon, we have new colleagues joining us and we work with great colleagues and friends to continue the efforts to improve our understanding and practices related to science teaching and learning.

Laura Henriques, Chair