Study ranks science education faculty at IU School of Education among most productive

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A recently published study ranks the science education faculty at the Indiana University School of Education as the second-most productive in research based on articles published in the first decade of the 21st century. The study, "U.S. Institutional Research Productivity in Major Science Education Research Journals: Top 30 for 2000's," is published in the Journal of Education and Learning.

The study analyzed the top four science education research journals for the years 2000 to 2009 to identify the leading U.S. science education programs. The journals all focus on research on science teaching and learning. The study's authors calculated productivity by first calculating a raw count of institutional authors, including faculty, graduate students and other researchers, combined with a weighted count, giving more credit for faculty who are senior authors on an article.

Out of 1,109 research publications examined, IU School of Education faculty ranked second for article authorship, with 66 articles published over the decade being studied. The University of Michigan topped the productivity list.

"This is a great tribute to the quality of our science education program," School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzalez said. "The research our faculty and graduate students publish in scientific journals translates into better preparation of teachers and scholars in the field nationally and in Indiana.

"Just last year, one of our program's teacher education graduates, Stacy McCormack, who teaches at Penn High School in Mishawaka, received the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. That's the highest recognition a K-12 mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States."

"Science education at IU has a long-standing tradition of strong research and outstanding faculty before us," said Valarie Akerson, professor and program coordinator for science education. "The list includes people such as Dorothy Gabel, who was a recipient of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching's Distinguished Contributions Through Research Award, Bill Boone and Hans Andersen. All of them were productive and respected in the field. The current faculty are equally as productive and are building on those established traditions."

The study marks another achievement for the IU School of Education's science faculty, noted around the country for their achievements and sought for science education leadership positions.

Akerson begins her duties as the president of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching next week during the organization's international conference in Puerto Rico. The Purdue University College of Science will honor Bob Sherwood, IU School of Education associate dean for research and professor of science education, with a Distinguished Science Alumni Award in a ceremony April 12. The work of associate professor Gayle Buck, which has focused on project-based learning and better science teaching for low socioeconomic groups, has led her to help establish new science teaching curriculum in a Gary, Ind., school as part of the IU School of Education Pathways Initiative.

Recent journal articles co-authored by assistant professor Adam Maltese have focused on what attracts students to science careers and gender differences in such interests. Associate professor Meredith Park Rogers co-edited a new book called "Perspectives: Research and Tips to Support Science Education K-6," focused on helping elementary teachers use an inquiry method.

Former students are equally productive in the field. Former doctoral student Alandeom Oliveira, now assistant professor at SUNY Albany, has earned this year's highly competitive Early Career Research Award from the National Association of Research in Science Teaching.

The Indiana University School of Education is consistently rated as one of the country's top higher education research and teacher preparation institutions. Last month, U.S. News & World Report once again ranked the IU School of Education highly for its graduate programs. The school ranked 19th overall and 10th among education schools in public universities. Seven programs within the school placed in the top 25 for specialty programs. The school's online Ed.D., master's and professional certification programs were 14th in rankings that U.S. News released in January.