Message from the Past-President, Jan 2014

Message from the Past-President, Jan 2014

Sharon J. Lynch
Sharon J. Lynch

JRST Editor Search Committee

One of the more interesting jobs that a NARST Past-President can have is to help select a new team of editors for JRST, our highly respected journal. Along with Gillian Roehrig, I serve as co-chair of the search committee for the new JRSTeditorial team who will begin work in 2016. We have asked for letters of intent, received by December 1, 2013, and have received letters from two teams. We look forward to the search and hearing the ideas of potential editorial teams that will continue the innovative, good work done by the current JRST editors (Angela Calabrese Barton and Joe Krajcik) and will take the Journal in unique new directions.  The search committee team consists of Valarie Akerson, Devarati Bhattacharya, Malcolm Butler, Hsiao-Lin Tuan, and Jan Van Driel, plus the co-chairs. Our selection recommendation must be approved by the NARST Board, and we hope to announce the new JRST editors at the 2014 NARST Annual International Conference.

NARST Leadership Team Policy Effort on the Implementation of the NGSS

Lynn Bryan and I congratulate the eight NARST teams who wrote thoughtful and creative position papers on the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards.  The papers have been posted on the NARST website for review and commentary by the entire membership.  Although not many members chose to respond to the invitation to comment, we hope that this effort creates an increasingly important policy presence for NARST as it initiates the increasingly interactive NARST website into the NARST community.  The position papers have been noted at the U.S. national level, and are timely in their focus and thoughtful in their commentary.  The papers will be released to the public in March 2014. Look for a press release. The papers can be found at the NARST website –

Evaluation of the 2013 NARST Annual International Conference

The 2013 NARST Annual International Conference in Rio Del Mar, Puerto Rico will be long remembered because of the number of “firsts” it ushered in.  It was the first NARST conference at a bilingual Spanish/English venue; the first held in a U.S. territory, on an island in the Caribbean, at a venue at the foot of a tropical rain forest; the first conference to have sold out the main venue and to require overflow accommodations; and, according to one member, the first to suffer an electric ant attack at the windy outdoor Awards Luncheon. We hope that NARST members took the opportunity to create some positive firsts of their own at the 2013 event, and appreciate the forbearance of those who were inconvenienced in any way. A summary table of the conference evaluation, sent by email to all members who attended, can be found below.  It should be noted that while various NARST members may have had vastly different experiences at the conference site, that the NARST Board takes member concerns about cost and venue choice very seriously. To wit, at the 2013 Pre-Conference Board Meeting, the Board passed a motion to guide the selection of future conference venues, based upon the feedback voiced by the NARST membership in 2012. The evaluation results below were also considered by the 2014 Conference Co-Chairs, Lynn Bryan and Valarie Akerson, and the NARST staff.

Question 1: I attended a NARST pre-conference workshop. Overall, the session was…n = 71







Opportunities for interaction welcome.
Question 2: I attended at least one plenary address, and overall thought the session(s) was…n = 154







Bill Tate’s speech seen as top-notch but others saw too much focus on U.S. issues.
Question 3: The NARST proposal submission process…was…n = 259                 7           7         56       138        51       3.85 Overall very good, but website clunky. Reviews ranged from helpful to harsh.
Question 4: The NARST conference program book was…n = 274







Liked print and CD versions, but an app is needed.
Question 5: Overall the conference program was…n = 275







High quality research, but too much packed into short time.
Question 6: The Awards luncheon program and food …were…n = 216         11          17          74          84         30        3.49 Good, but long.Outdoor venue a problem in some ways.
Question 7: The NARST conference hotel and … and food at the NARST receptions were… n = 274







Problems with cost, isolation of hotel, & transport between 2 hotels.
Question 8: The NARST conference site and location (Rio Grande, Puerto Rico) were…n = 279







PR and hotel were beautiful, but too costly for transport. Not convenient.