Message from the President, Jan 2015

Message from the President, Jan 2015

Valarie Akerson President
Valarie Akerson

Invitation to the 2015 NARST Conference

 This year’s NARST Conference promises to be an excellent chance to share research, network, and influence science education. NARST will be April 11-April 14, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency, Chicago, IL. The conference theme “Becoming Next Generation Science Educators in an Era of Global Science Education Reform” leads us to focused discussions on science education both domestically and globally. The two plenary sessions will be connected to this theme. The first plenary, STEM Vital Signs, will be presented by Linda Rosen, the CEO of Change the Equation. Change the Equation works at the intersection of business and education to ensure that all students are STEM literate by collaborating with schools, communities, and states to adopt and implement excellent STEM policies and programs. This session will be presented on Saturday, April 11, 4:30-5:50 in Grand Ballroom CD South, EF.

The second plenary session “Science Teacher Education in an Era of Science Education Reform: A Global Perspective” will be comprised of science educators from six continents around the world. Norman Lederman and Judith Lederman, the editors of Journal of Science Teacher Education, have put together a special issue of the journal that brings together scholars from Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South Africa, and South America to discuss how individuals are initially educated to become science teachers (i.e., preservice teacher education). These scholars will discuss the details of initial teacher preparation at the secondary and elementary levels in their continent. It is not assumed that all countries/states in these continents have the same approach to the preparation and licensing of teachers (just consider the diversity of countries across Asia, for example), nor is it assumed that a representative view of a total continent is possible. However, having authors from around the world will provide a more global perspective than most individuals in science teacher education possess. It is hoped that this discussion will elucidate the similarities, differences, and noted successes and challenges of science teacher education from a more global perspective. Our differences, similarities, successes, and challenges can serve to inform and enhance our efforts in our local contexts. The first author representing each continent will be the presenter. This session will be presented Monday, April 13 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM Grand Ballroom CD South, EF.


Meshach Ogunniyi, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Marissa Rollnick, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Liu Enshan, Beijing Normal University, China
Liu Chang, Beijing Normal University, China
Jian Wang, Beijing Normal University, China


David Treagust, Curtin University, Australia
Jacinta Petersen, Notre Dame University, Australia
Mihye Won, Curtin University, Australia
Georgie Wynne, Catholic Education Office of Western Australia, Australia


Justin Dillon, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Virginia Albe, Ecole Normale Superieure de Chachan, France
Maria Evagorou, University of Nicosia, Cyprus
Jouni Viiri, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland

North America

Joanne Olson, Iowa State University, USA
Todd Milford, University of Victoria, Canada
Chris Ohana, Western Washington University, USA
Christine Tippett, University of Ottawa, Canada

South America

Hernan Cofre, Pontificia Universidad Catolica deValparaiso, Valparaiso, Chile
German Ahumada, Pontificia Universidad Carolica de Valparaiso, Valparaiso, Chile
Johanna Camacho, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Melina Furman, Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Rómulo Gallego, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional de Bogotá, Colombia
Corina González-Weil, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile & Centro de Investigación Avanzada en Educación, CIAE, Chile
David Santibáñez, Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez, Santiago, Chile & Mathematics and Science Education Department, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA
Royman Pérez, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional de Bogotá, Colombia
María E. Podesta, Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Claudia Vergara, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Santiago, Chile

Also featured at NARST will be a special session co-sponsored by the Contemporary Methods for Science Education Research RIG entitled “Exploring Methodological Directions to Support a NGSS-Driven Research and Development Agenda.” This interactive panel session will provide opportunities for participants to discuss the contributions of contemporary research methods to a Research and Development Agenda for the NGSS. Panelists will focus on the core research questions from A Framework for K12 Science Education (NRC, 2012) and the implications of these questions for research methods. Confirmed panelists include Jonathan Osborne, Sharon Lynch, Eileen Carlton Parsons, Okhee Lee, and Jim Pellegrino. Discussants will be Joseph Taylor and Valarie Akerson.

Another featured session is titled “An Unconference on Engineering Education: Gearing Up for New Era of Global Science Education Reform” which is co-sponsored by the Engineering Education RIG. This session will use an unconference format to promote dialogue on engineering education at the center of a new era of educational reforms that are emerging globally. Through small groups facilitated by science and engineering educators, the session will address both visionary questions that will guide future research as well as pragmatic questions on urgent issues that need to be addressed in near future. Contributors to this session are Senay Purzer, Muhsin Menekse, Kristina M. Tank, and Valarie Akerson.

Updates About NARST

NARST welcomes the new Journal of Research in Science Teaching (JRST) editorial team led by Fouad Abd-El-Khalick and Dana Zeidler as they take the helm this coming year. NARST would also thank Angie Calabrese-Barton and Joe Krajcik and their editorial team for a highly successful 5 years. As we all know, JRST is a highly successful research journal, and one of the jewels that NARST can be proud of, and it is through the efforts of the editors that the journal continues to shine.

To move NARST forward in being better able to fulfill its mission we have contracted a Board Consultant from BoardSource to conduct a Board Retreat and an Association Audit, to provide us with feedback regarding best structures and practices for NARST and ensure we are in compliance with federal and state regulations. As such, the NARST Board members are working hard at reading and digesting reports, as well as working on subcommittees to determine which actions are appropriate for us to take at this time to improve NARST to be even better than ever. Results of our work, as well as opportunities for member feedback about future plans will be shared at the conference.

As a reminder, NARST’s mission is:

The National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) is a worldwide organization of professionals committed to the improvement of science teaching and learning through research. Since its inception in 1928, NARST has promoted research in science education and the communication of knowledge generated by the research. The ultimate goal of NARST is to help all learners achieve science literacy. NARST promotes this goal by: 1) encouraging and supporting the application of diverse research methods and theoretical perspectives from multiple disciplines to the investigation of teaching and learning in science; 2) communicating science education research findings to researchers, practitioners, and policy makers; and 3) cooperating with other educational and scientific societies to influence educational policies.

Looking forward to seeing you in Chicago!

Valarie Akerson

NARST President