Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

National study of scientist-educators reveals surprises in training, funding

Date:
April 15, 2013
Source:
San Francisco State University
Summary:
The first large-scale study of US science faculty with education specialties concludes that their training and funding vary considerably depending on their college or university.

The first large-scale study of U.S. science faculty with education specialties (SFES) concludes that their training and funding vary considerably depending on their college or university.

Related Articles


In a study published in the April 15 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers including SF State biology professor Kimberly Tanner conclude that researchers at master's degree-granting institutions are almost twice as likely to have formal training in science education than their colleagues at other institutions.

But surprisingly, these faculty at Ph.D.-granting institutions are much more likely to have received grant money for science education projects, Tanner and colleagues found.

SFES are a widespread and growing group, whose numbers have increased as science departments recognize the need to apply their own analytical skills to discover ways to improve their own teaching and learning, Tanner said.

Many SFES originally trained as scientists, but the focus of their studies has shifted to science education, including strengthening undergraduate and K-12 science education programs. "They're often doing research on trying to understand how people learn and comprehend the ideas in their science, whether it be biology or physics or another science discipline," said Tanner, who also serves as the director at the University's Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory (SEPAL).

The PNAS paper is a follow-up to a study published in the journal Science in 2008, which explored the characteristics and training of science faculty with education specialties in the California State University system.

The new study included 289 SFES faculty members from 45 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, with the overwhelming number of faculty -- 94 percent -- trained as basic science researchers. Only 43 percent of them had formal training in science education, such as a master's or Ph.D. degree or graduate fellowship in science education, or a K-12 teaching credential.

Tanner said there is a longer history of SFES in physics and chemistry departments, compared to biology departments, so the researcher team expected to see more pronounced differences in SFES between disciplines in their study.

But Tanner and colleagues instead found that the striking differences among these faculty members stemmed more from where they worked than from their basic science disciplines.

For instance, it was Ph.D.-granting universities and colleges that had the lowest proportion of tenure-track SFES, compared to Master's degree-granting institutions and those that offered primarily undergraduate degrees.

Despite this discrepancy, and the fact that fewer SFES at Ph.D.-granting institutions had formal science education training, more of these researchers were getting science education grant money.

Tanner called this an "intriguing disconnect" that isn't fully understood. "One of the main pieces of advice that SFES in this study would give to upcoming SFES would be to get training especially in science education...and yet what our study shows is that it's perhaps not yet providing an advantage in grant competitions."

It may be that SFES at Ph.D.-granting institutions are more likely to get science education grants on their personal or departmental reputation in the basic sciences, she suggested.

There is still a "tension point between trying to integrate issues of social science -- which is what science education and teaching and learning is -- into traditional science departments," Tanner noted. "I think this disconnect between training and funding may be an indicator of that tension point."

"I think it's concerning in any field if the people who are getting more training are not necessarily having greater success in funding," she added, "especially in a nascent field like this."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by San Francisco State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Seth D. Bush, Nancy J. Pelaez, James A. Rudd II, Michael T. Stevens, Kimberly D. Tanner, and Kathy S. Williams. Widespread distribution and unexpected variation among science faculty with education specialties (SFES) across the United States. PNAS, April 15, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1218821110

Cite This Page:

San Francisco State University. "National study of scientist-educators reveals surprises in training, funding." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415172304.htm>.
San Francisco State University. (2013, April 15). National study of scientist-educators reveals surprises in training, funding. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415172304.htm
San Francisco State University. "National study of scientist-educators reveals surprises in training, funding." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415172304.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Privacy regulators recommend Google expand its requested removals to apply to all its web domains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins